Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 12


Solar energy, radiant light and heat from the sun, is harnessed using a range of ever-evolving
technologies such as solar heating, solar photovoltaics, solar thermal electricity, solar
architecture and artificial photosynthesis.[1][2]
Solar technologies are broadly characterized as either passive solar or active solar depending on the way
they capture, convert and distribute solar energy. Active solar techniques include the use of photovoltaic
panels and solar thermalcollectors to harness the energy. Passive solar techniques include orienting a
building to the Sun, selecting materials with favorable thermal mass or light dispersing properties, and
designing spaces that naturally circulate air.
In 2011, the International Energy Agency said that "the development of affordable, inexhaustible and
clean solar energy technologies will have huge longer-term benefits. It will increase countries energy
security through reliance on an indigenous, inexhaustible and mostly import-independent resource,
enhance sustainability, reduce pollution, lower the costs of mitigating climate change, and keep fossil
fuel prices lower than otherwise. These advantages are global. Hence the additional costs of the
incentives for early deployment should be considered learning investments; they must be wisely spent
and need to be widely shared".


A solar thermal collector collects heat by absorbing sunlight. A collector is a device for capturing solar
radiation. Solar radiation is energy in the form of electromagnetic radiation from the infrared (long) to
the ultraviolet (short) wavelengths. The quantity of solar energy striking the Earth's surface averages
about 1,000 watts per square meter under clear skies, depending upon weather conditions, location and
The term "solar collector" commonly refers to solar hot water panels, but may refer to installations such
as solar parabolic troughs andsolar towers; or basic installations such as solar air heaters. Solar
power plants usually use the more complex collectors to generateelectricity by heating a fluid to drive
a turbine connected to an electrical generator. Simple collectors are typically used in residential and
commercial buildings for space heating.



Photovoltaics is the direct conversion of light into electricity at the atomic level. Some materials exhibit a
property known as the photoelectric effect that causes them to absorb photons of light and release
electrons. When these free electrons are captured, an electric current results that can be used as
The photoelectric effect was first noted by a French physicist, Edmund Bequerel, in 1839, who found that
certain materials would produce small amounts of electric current when exposed to light. In 1905, Albert
Einstein described the nature of light and the photoelectric effect on which photovoltaic technology is
based, for which he later won a Nobel prize in physics. The first photovoltaic module was built by Bell
Laboratories in 1954. It was billed as a solar battery and was mostly just a curiosity as it was too
expensive to gain widespread use. In the 1960s, the space industry began to make the first serious use
of the technology to provide power aboard spacecraft. Through the space programs, the technology
advanced, its reliability was established, and the cost began to decline. During the energy crisis in the
1970s, photovoltaic technology gained recognition as a source of power for non-space applications.

Solar cells convert sunlight directly into electricity. Solar cells are often used to power calculators and
watches. They are made of semiconducting materials similar to those used in computer chips. When
sunlight is absorbed by these materials, the solar energy knocks electrons loose from their atoms,
allowing the electrons to flow through the material to produce electricity. This process of converting
light (photons) to electricity (voltage) is called the photovoltaic (PV) effect.
Solar cells are typically combined into modules that hold about 40 cells; a number of these modules
are mounted in PV arrays that can measure up to several meters on a side. These flat-plate PV
arrays can be mounted at a fixed angle facing south, or they can be mounted on a tracking device
that follows the sun, allowing them to capture the most sunlight over the course of a day. Several
connected PV arrays can provide enough power for a household; for large electric utility or industrial
applications, hundreds of arrays can be interconnected to form a single, large PV system.
Thin film solar cells use layers of semiconductor materials only a few micrometers thick. Thin film
technology has made it possible for solar cells to now double as rooftop shingles, roof tiles, building

facades, or the glazing for skylights or atria. The solar cell version of items such as shingles offer the
same protection and durability as ordinary asphalt shingles.



Many power plants today use fossil fuels as a heat source to boil water. The steam from the boiling
water rotates a large turbine, which activates a generator that produces electricity. However, a new
generation of power plants, with concentrating solar power systems, uses the sun as a heat source.
There are three main types of concentrating solar power systems: parabolic-trough, dish/engine,
and power tower.
Parabolic-trough systems concentrate the sun's energy through long rectangular, curved (U-shaped)
mirrors. The mirrors are tilted toward the sun, focusing sunlight on a pipe that runs down the center
of the trough. This heats the oil flowing through the pipe. The hot oil then is used to boil water in a
conventional steam generator to produce electricity.
A dish/engine system uses a mirrored dish (similar to a very large satellite dish). The dish-shaped
surface collects and concentrates the sun's heat onto a receiver, which absorbs the heat and
transfers it to fluid within the engine. The heat causes the fluid to expand against a piston or turbine
to produce mechanical power. The mechanical power is then used to run a generator or alternator to
produce electricity.


Solar architecture is the integration of solar panel technology with modern building techniques. The use
of flexible thin film photovoltaic modules provides fluid integration with steelroofing profiles that enhances
the building's design. Orienting a building to the Sun, selecting materials with favorable thermal mass or
light dispersing properties, and designing spaces that naturally circulate air also constitute as solar
Initial development of solar architecture has been limited by the rigidity and weight of standard solar
power panels. The continued development of photovoltaic (PV) thin film solar has provided a lightweight
yet robust vehicle to harness solar energy to reduce a building's impact on the environment.


Artificial photosynthesis is a chemical process that replicates the natural process of photosynthesis, a
process that converts sunlight,water, and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates and oxygen. The term is
commonly used to refer to any scheme for capturing and storing the energy from sunlight in the chemical
bonds of a fuel (a solar fuel). Photocatalytic water splitting converts water into protons (and
eventually hydrogen) and oxygen, and is a main research area in artificial photosynthesis. Light-driven
carbon dioxide reduction is another studied process, replicating natural carbon fixation.

Research developed in this field encompasses design and assembly of devices (and their components)
for the direct production of solar fuels, photoelectrochemistry and its application in fuel cells, and
engineering of enzymes and photoautotrophic microorganisms for
microbial biofuel and biohydrogen production from sunlight. Many, if not most, of the artificial approaches
are bio-inspired, i.e., they rely on biomimetics.



Companies can choose between two types of concentrated solar technology. Concentrated
photovoltaics, or CPV, uses mirrors or lenses to focus sunlight onto a small area of solar cells,
creating electricity. Concentrated solar power, or CSP, on the other hand, uses mirrors to direct
sunlight, or solar thermal energy, onto a small receiver.
CPV uses parabolic concentrators, reflectors or lenses to focus large amounts of light onto a small
photocell. An influx of more photons lets cells generate more power. Reflective or mirrored surfaces
can be expensive, so design efforts have focused on finding inexpensive reflective surfaces that can
withstand environmental conditions such as rain.
CSP is positioned to become a major source of renewable electricity generation in the United States,
according to NREL. The largest CSP project in the world is under construction in Arizona. Once
completed, the 280-MW Solana facility will use parabolic trough technology and thermal storage
using molten salts. Solana will use solar trackers with high-precision parabolic mirrors that follow the
suns path and concentrate its energy, heating a fluid to more than 700F and using that heat to turn
steam turbines.
There are four types of CSP technology, according to NREL:
Parabolic Trough Systems: Line- focus systems that use curved mirrors to focus sunlight on a
Linear Fresnel Reflector Systems: Line-focus systems that use relaxed and flat mirrors arranged
to focus sunlight on a receiver.
Power Tower Systems: Point-focus systems that use heliostats to focus sunlight on a towermounted receiver.
Dish/Engine Systems: Point-focus systems that use curved mirrors to focus sunlight on a
The most popular of these, parabolic trough solar technology, offers the lowest cost solar electric
option for large power plant applications. A parabolic trough is a type of solar-thermal energy
collector. Sunlight is reflected by the mirror and concentrated on the Dewar tube. One of the principle

advantages of concentrated solar thermal is that storage can be provided efficiently so 24-hour
output can be provided, and output can be scheduled to meet demand requirements.

With recent approval of Solar Reserves 200-MW, two-tower Saguache Solar Energy Project comes
a sense of excitement for not only Solar Reserve, but the industry as a whole. As Solana, Ivanpah,
Cresecent Dunes and Rice projects continue to be constructed; this is the first announcement of a
new CSP project, showing that installed CSP capacity is increasing at steady rate in 2012.
This is set to continue as more research has looked into a CSP-PV mix to boost total output and
smooth integration on the grid. Under ideal conditions the delivery curve from PV does not really
match the demand curve for electricity: peak output tends to happen around midday, whereas high
demand in western countries can extend well into the afternoon or even evening.
This has become a concern in places such as California, where the hope is that cheap PV can
significantly assist in meeting renewable energy and carbon reduction targets.
Currently, according to modelling done by Paul Denholm and Mark Mehos of the US National
Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), at low levels of penetration (up to 10% of total energy a
year), PV displaces the highest-cost generation sources and cuts the need for peaking capacity.
However, they state: As the amount of PV on the system increases, the need for operating reserves
also increases due to the uncertainty of the solar resource, as well as its variability over multiple time
This further emphasises CSPs value and importance of being able provide dispatcahable power. As
storage becomes more valued it is good news for developers like Solar Reserve who develop plants
that comprise of storage technology making capacity more flexible and more valuable.



Solar thermal systems are a way to satisfy heating needs by capturing the thermal energy of the sun
for heating applications such as buildings, hot water or swimming pools. Tremendous amounts of

energy currently go in to traditional heating applications that could be satisfied by solar thermal
power. In domestic situations, for example, heating water accounts for approximately one-third of
total energy use. Using solar energy for domestic hot water could save significant amounts of energy
annually, meaning lower bills for homeowners and fewer emissions from traditional hydrocarbonbased grid power.
Recent Developments
Developments in solar thermal technology have made these systems more reliable and more
efficient and, therefore, a more practical choice for prospective adopters. Evacuated tube collectors
can satisfy even large heating demands and are used by customers seeking more sustainable and
cost-saving alternatives. Furthermore, off-grid sites can benefit from having their own source of hot
water from solar thermal power. New technologies re-imagine solar thermal systems by
incorporating photovoltaic (PV) components. Example include PV thermal (PV/T) systems that
capture heat from a variety of sources including the heat from PV modules and water heating that is
powered directly by PV-generated electricity.
Emerging Trends
Solar thermal power faces several challenges in the marketplace that currently stymie more
widespread adoption. Among these challenges is a shortage of information and understanding
among prospective customers regarding the function and benefits of solar thermal systems. Also, the
initial cost of a solar thermal system is often considered too high for consumers as a multitude of
financing options, such as those for PV, may not exist for thermal. Between these two major
obstacles, customers may be intimidated by solar thermal systems or not quite understand the
Expected Challenges
The onus is on the solar industry as a whole and the professionals who work within it to
communicate the benefits of solar thermal power to potential customers. As more people become
aware of the features and advantages of solar thermal technology and on-site heating options, the
demand for such systems will be much greater on all scales. Solar thermal technology that is easier
to use and can be obtained at a lower cost to the customer will encourage more widespread use.
Reducing the points of failure or complexity of solar thermal systems will make them more usable to
the general marketplace and will likely drive down overall cost in the process.



HISTORY of solar Energy

The very first traceable use of the sun was back in 7th century BC, when man used crystals to magnify
the Sun's rays for starting fires.
Around 300 BC, the Egyptians
>used mirrors to reflect the light from the Sun into their tombs to illuminate the way.
>The reflecting of the Sun's rays with mirrors was also used to light torches.
>They also used the sun to dry mummified bodies after they had died,
>built houses which trapped the Sun's heat, allowing for lower day time and higher night time
> It is believed that the Egyptians also used a form of passive solar power to heat water.
In 20 AD ,Chinese
>recorded using mirrors once again to light torches for religious purposes.
100 and 400 AD , The Romans
>began to build "bath houses" with south facing windows between to let the Sun's warmth in.
around 600 AD by the Justinian Code
>Sunrooms begin being built on houses and public buildings, and become so popular that "sun rights" are
established by the Justinian Code around 600 AD to ensure that all buildings have access to the sun.
Between 1000 AD and 1400 AD, Native Americans
> built houses on cliffs, positioned and designed to allow for trapping of heat during the day and release at

throughout the 18th and 19th century

>The very first recorded Solar Collector was made in 1767 by Swiss inventor Horace de Soussare.
>This is now known as a hotbox and was used to test how much of the Sun's heat could be trapped.
>He made a rectangular box, which he insulated and covered with glass. He placed two smaller boxes
inside and put it out in the Sun.
>The bottom box heated to over 100 degrees C.


1839 - Alexandre Edmond Becquerel observes the photovoltaic effect via an electrode in a conductive
solution exposed to light.
The photovoltaic effect is the creation of voltage or electric current in a material upon exposure to

>When the sunlight or any other light is incident upon a material surface, the electrons present in
the valence band absorb energy and, being excited, jump to the conduction band and become free.
>These highly excited, non-thermal electrons diffuse, and some reach a junction where they are
accelerated into a different material by a built-in potential (Galvani potential).
>This generates an electromotive force, and thus some of the light energy is converted into electric
1887 - Heinrich Hertz investigates ultraviolet light photoconductivity and discovers the photoelectric
the photoelectric effect, electrons are emitted from solids, liquids or gases when they absorb energy
from light.
>Electrons emitted in this manner may be called photoelectrons.
*In the photoelectric effect, by contrast, electrons are ejected from a material's surface into vacuum,
upon exposure to light.
*The photovoltaic effect differs in that the excited electrons pass directly from one material to
another, avoiding the difficult step of passing through the vacuum in between.
1888-91 - Aleksandr Stoletov creates the first solar cell based on the outer photoelectric effect
A solar cell aka photovoltaic cell
> is an electrical device that converts the energy of light directly into electricity by the
photovoltaic effect.
> It is a form of photoelectric cell its electrical characteristicse.g. current, voltage, or
resistancevary when light is incident upon it
> when exposed to light, can generate and support an electric current without being attached to
any external voltage source.

**The operation of a photovoltaic (PV) cell requires 3 basic attributes:

1 The absorption of light, generating either electron-hole pairs or excitations.
2 The separation of charge carriers of opposite types.
3 The separate extraction of those carriers to an external circuit.

1905 - Albert Einstein publishes a paper explaining the photoelectric effect on a quantum basis.
published a paper that explained experimental data from the photoelectric effect as being the result
of light energy being carried in discrete quantized packets. This discovery led to the quantum revolution.
Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1921 for "his discovery of the law of the photoelectric




Solar power is the conversion of sunlight into electricity, either directly using
photovoltaics (PV), or indirectly using concentrated solar power (CSP). Concentrated
solar power systems use lenses or mirrors and tracking systems to focus a large
area of sunlight into a small beam. Photovoltaics convert light into electric current
using the photoelectric effect. Solar Energy is the light and heat energy produced by
the sun(radiant energy).

Solar energy in vehicles-Some vehicles use solar panels for auxiliary power, such
as for air conditioning, to keep the interior cool, thus reducing fuel consumption.
Vehicles running purely or mostly on Solar Energy are not sold as practical day-today transportation devices at present, but are primarily demonstration vehicles and
engineering exercises, often sponsored by government agencies. However,
indirectly solar-charged vehicles are widespread.
Solar thermal Energy- is a technology for harnessing solar energy for thermal
Low-temperature collectors are flat plates generally used to heat swimming
Medium-temperature collectors are also usually flat plates but are used for
heating water or air for residential and commercial use.
High-temperature collectors concentrate sunlight using mirrors or lenses and
are generally used for electric power production.
STE is different from and much more efficient than photovoltaics.
cooking-Solar cookers use sunlight for cooking, drying and pasteurization. They
can be grouped into three broad categories:
box cookers-is an insulated container with a transparent lid.
panel cookers-use a reflective panel to direct sunlight onto an insulated container
reflector cookers-uses various concentrating geometries (dish, trough, Fresnel
mirrors) to focus light on a cooking container.

Electricity production

Concentrating Solar Power (CSP)- CSP systems can absorb sunlight and change it
into heat that can be used to power a steam-driven generator
photovoltaic cell (PV)-PV systems change sunlight directly into electricity.
Both can be used to generate utility-scale electricity in place of non-renewable
energy sources like fossil fuel(coal, natural gas and oil) or nuclear-fueled power


New Technologies
Based on the photon-enhanced thermionic emission (PETE) process, a new solar-energy device is
about 100 times more efficient than its previous design.
Scientists working at the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences (SIMES) have
improved an innovative solar-energy device to be about 100 times more efficient than its previous
design in converting the suns light and heat into electricity.
The new device is based on the photon-enhanced thermionic emission (PETE) process first
demonstrated in 2010 by a group led by Melosh and SIMES colleague Zhi-Xun Shen, who is SLACs
advisor for science and technology. In a report last week in Nature Communications, the group
described how they improved the devices efficiency from a few hundredths of a percent to nearly 2
percent, and said they expect to achieve at least another 10-fold gain in the future.


The international space station is powered by solar energy

The electrical system of the International Space Station is a critical resource for the International
Space Station (ISS) because it allows the crew to live comfortably, to safely operate the station, and to
perform scientific experiments. The ISS electrical system uses solar cells to directly convert sunlight
to electricity. Large numbers of cells are assembled in arrays to produce high power levels. This method
of harnessing solar power is calledphotovoltaics.
The process of collecting sunlight, converting it to electricity, and managing and distributing this electricity
builds up excess heat that can damage spacecraft equipment. This heat must be eliminated for reliable
operation of the space station in orbit. The ISS power system uses radiators to dissipate the heat away

from the spacecraft. The radiators are shaded from sunlight and aligned toward the cold void of deep