What is solar power?
Before understanding it, let us first understand the meaning of solar energy.
Solar energy is radiant light and heat which we obtain from the Sun. Solar energy is indirectly responsible for all the other forms of renewable energies like wind or water energy.
Now we can move onto our main topic i.e. solar power.
Solar power is the conversion of solar energy into the electricity. This electricity can further be used for any purpose.
How solar energy converted into solar power?
The solar energy can be converted into power mainly by two ways.
- With the help of photovoltaic
- With the help of concentrated solar power
Now let us discuss each method of solar energy conversion into power, one by one.
A photovoltaic or solar cell is used to convert solar energy directly into electrical energy. A photovoltaic cell uses photovoltaic effect to convert solar energy into electricity.
Maybe you have seen solar power panels many times in your life. These panels consist of many photovoltaic cells, which convert solar energy into electricity.
Generally, the power generated by solar power panel in day time is stored in a battery and used in night.
Concentrated solar power
In this method solar concentrated solar energy is used to heat water. When the water gets heated sufficiently, its heat energy is used in a conventional power plant to generate electricity.
Solar energy can be concentrated by many means (to heat water), some of them are.
- Parabolic trough
- Compact linear Fresnel reflector
- Stirling dish
- Solar power tower
Applications of solar power
It has several applications (or uses), some of them are.
- Lighting home
- Charging batteries
- Solar powered calculators
- Solar cars
- Air conditioning etc.
Advantages of solar power
It has several advantages, some of them are.
- It is environment friendly
- It is renewable energy source
- Reduces electricity bills
- Low maintenance cost
- No noise generation
- Easy installation
- Can be used in remote locations
- Long lasting
- Can help in achieving energy independence to the country
Disadvantages of solar power
It has some disadvantages (or limitations), they are.
- Initial cost is high
- Dependent on weather
- Its storage is Expensive
- Space requirement is more
- Efficiency of energy conversion is low
- Geographical dependence
Parabolic trough: Attribution: By No machine-readable author provided. Kjkolb assumed (based on copyright claims). – No machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=375493
Stirling dish: Attribution: By Björn Appel – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=362869
Solar power tower: Attribution: By afloresm – SOLUCAR PS10 (2), CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2821738