ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Technology»
  • Renewable & Alternative Energy

Solar Power - Ways of Producing Electricty from Sun

Updated on February 19, 2008
 

The solar radiation reaching earth from sun can be converted to electricity which provides a clean, renewable and free source of energy to us. The solar power systems are in developing stage (there are some commercial usages but most methods are in prototype stage due to high costs avoiding commercial use). Ways of producing electricity from sun energy can be gathered under two major headlines. Photovoltaic (converting the solar power directly to electricity) and Concentrated Solar Power (CSP - which is roughly concentrating the sun beams thus creating a high temperature and converting heat energy to electricity by known methods).

Photovoltaics

Photovoltaics is the technology used for directly converting the sun energy to DC electricity. You are already familiar with photovoltaics if you've ever used a calculator. Usage of photovoltaic cells in calculators is a good idea to get rid of batteries but you can't extend the usage to higher power needs because of high costs of photovoltaic cells. The power efficiency of photovoltaic cells are between 12-24% which is considered low compared to the other energy sources. The high cost of photovoltaics prevent them from wide usage but they have many usage areas like satellites which need continuous power without batteries or small devices (calculators, watches).

Concentrated Solar Power (CSP)

Concentrated Solar Power systems concentrate the sun beams to produce heat and then convert the heat energy to electricity by conventional ways. There are several designs for concentrating the sun beams but the method is the same in all designs. There is a reflector which concentrates the beams in a heat collector (also called absorber or receiver). There is a fluid (molten salt for example) flowing in the receiver and stores heat. The hot fluid flows to a heat engine and the heat energy is converted to electricty. There are several designs which differ in the way of concentrating sun beams and storing heat.

Parabolic Through Design

In Parabolic design there are parabolic mirrors collecting the heat on the receiver which is placed on the mirrors focus. The energy production is as explained above. The hot fluid is flown through pipes and transferred to the heat engine. This is the most known and practiced method of solar power plants and there are several power plants full operational. Parabolic Through power plants have an efficiency of %20 but less area usage and cheaper design is an advantage compared to other systems.

Power Tower Design

The Power Tower Design is similar to the parabolic design but there are many number of flat, mobile mirrors (also called heliostats) which focus the beams on a single receiver (tower) and all energy focused on a single point is creating higher temperatures and thus creating energy with higher efficiencies. There are several number of power tower plants in production. Although parabolic through design is proven, the higher efficiencies and lower energy cost predictions are creating more investments for Power Tower Plants.

Dish Design

Dish Design uses the same principle with the satellite receivers. The dish collects and focuses the energy at a receiver facing the dish. There are several advantages of dish design, the efficiency is high (the efficiency up to 40%) like in tower design and each unit has it's own stand alone structure which is making it fit for smaller applications (unlike tower design which has a high central tower cost.) The dish design has a high cost when compared to other system because of its complex design and requires more maintenance. However high efficiency is promising a future for dish designs also.

Fresnel Reflectors Design

Fresnel Reflectors is a new concept similar to parabolic through design. The fresnel reflector design uses a set of flat mirrors which share a common receiver. (Unlike parabolic design which each mirror has its own mirror.) The advantage of fresnel reflectors is the usage of flat mirrors, less number of receivers and lower area/energy ratio are decreasing the costs dramatically. Although efficiency is lower than parabolic through design low cost per energy can make fresnel reflectors used widely in the future. The fresnel reflectors are in developing stage yet.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Akliliu 7 years ago

      THANK YOU FOR GIVING ME GREAT KNOWLEDGE ON SOLAR ENERGY.

      How can I practice this?

      Would you help me to practice Parabolic Through Design

      Aklilu from Ethiopia

    • profile image

      adair_francesca 7 years ago

      Nice hub! I learned from all the information you stated. Solar power is very promising and a great alternative especially these days conventional electric supplies costs higher.

    • profile image

      bharathi 8 years ago

      it would be bettet having a brief aboutparabola and its applications

    • profile image

      Kahng Ho Choi 9 years ago

      I wish to introduce your Parablic dish or trough solar generating system

      into Korean market.

      Please linform your mail address, to which I will send the detailed inquiry.

    • profile image

      F!~~WaVeZ~~F! 9 years ago

      Wow i n3v3r kne thIs stuff b4...but its r3al h3lpfu1...thnkxx 4 makin this w3bsite.

    • profile image

      vansh 9 years ago

      great idea

    • profile image

      chi4505 9 years ago

      Solar Power and wind power are definately the way of the future.

      http://howmakeelectricity.blinkweb.com/index.html

    • profile image

      mike 10 years ago

      Look i am reading about all these great ideas!And i live in Arkansas!The thing is we have places here an al over the world that could harnes the power from like geo thermal guizers that already exsists for very little cost why doesnt the goverment do these things?

    • profile image

      Jensen Boire 10 years ago

      For those interested in investing in solar energy companies although somewhat different from the ones mentioned above, feel free to post on my website.

    • bloggerdollar profile image
      Author

      bloggerdollar 10 years ago

      Hey Ghost Thanks for the comment.

      All the methods listed under the CSP - Parabolic, dish system are producing energy from heat. The system concentrates the solar heat and the heated fluid is run through a pipe to a heat-energy converter.

    • profile image

      Ghost32 10 years ago

      I've learned a good bit from this Hub. On the other hand, I read (about a year ago) about a method termed "conductive solar". This involved sort of halfpipe-looking collector "troughs" set close to the ground. Instead of collecting the LIGHT from the sun, this method purported to collect HEAT directly (from the sun). But I haven't been able to locate a single additional bit of info on this technology since, or even remember where I saw the original article (though I THINK it might have been in a Mother Earth issue).

      Anyone else know about this?

    • RetroReviewer profile image

      RetroReviewer 10 years ago from Metro Philly

      You've ignored Solar Power Satellites, the REAL long-term solution to our energy situation. Read up on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_satellite

    • greathub profile image

      greathub 10 years ago from Earth

      Hi

      Its a nice article. I have presented a simple method to design and fabricate a dish reflector (solar concentrator) in my hub:

      https://hubpages.com/education/solar-reflector

      Would you like to visit and give comments?

    • bloggerdollar profile image
      Author

      bloggerdollar 10 years ago

      The serious entrance of solar power systems will be when they are commercially advantegous. The reports are predicting that those systems will produce cheaper energy then fossil fuels in 8 years or so.

    • chabrenas profile image

      chabrenas 10 years ago from middle of France

      Several countries (France & Germany, for a start) will buy excess power from private wind & solar generators, and there are significant grants available, too.

      Although only 0.04% of the world's energy is currently supplied by solar systems, there are applications where it would be stupid not to use them. e.g. at remote sites in sunny climates, and for water desalination plants. Things can only get better.

    • bloggerdollar profile image
      Author

      bloggerdollar 10 years ago

      Thank you for your comments. I hope goverments encourage industries to invest more in green energy.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      This has to be whats in our future. Between Solar power and Wind power, clean fuel a-plenty.

      Great HUB regards Zsuzsy

    • raymondphilippe profile image

      Raymond Philippe 10 years ago from The Netherlands

      That would take care of CO2 too.

      Can't wait to see a few of them over here. Plus some additional sunshine. :-)

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)