The Sun is one of the major renewable energy sources. The radiating light and heat from the sun are harnessed and converted into other forms of energy. In this article, let us learn about solar energy in detail.
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What Is Solar Energy?
Solar energy is defined as the transformation of energy that is present in the sun and is one of the renewable energies. Once the sunlight passes through the earth’s atmosphere, most of it is in the form of visible light and infrared radiation. Plants use it to convert into sugar and starches; this conversion process is known as photosynthesis. Solar cell panels are used to convert this energy into electricity.
Solar Energy Advantages and Disadvantages
Advantages of solar energy are:
- Clean: It is considered to be the cleanest form of energy as there is no carbon dioxide emission like in the case of fossil fuels which is one of the causes of global warming.
- Renewable: There is ample energy available on earth as long as the sun exists.
- Reliable: The energy can be stored in the batteries, so there is no unreliability.
- reduction in utility costs.
- Free energy because it can be trapped easily.
Disadvantages of solar energy:
- The production is low during winters and on cloudy days.
- Installation and the initial cost of the materials are expensive.
- Space consumption is more.
Types of Solar Energy
Solar energy can be classified into two categories depending upon the mode of conversion and type of energy it is converted into. Passive solar energy and active solar energy belong to the mode of conversion and solar thermal energy, photovoltaic solar power and concentrating solar power.
- Passive solar energy refers to trapping the sun’s energy without using mechanical devices.
- Active solar energy uses mechanical devices to collect, store, and distribute energy.
- Solar thermal energy: This energy is obtained by converting solar energy into heat.
- Photovoltaic solar power is the energy obtained by converting solar energy into electricity.
- Concentrating solar power: This is a type of thermal energy used to generate solar power electricity.
Solar Energy Project
Solar energy – the experiment on the efficiency of the solar heating working model is one of the easiest science experiments that you can prepare for your school fair science project. This working model is quick, simple and very informative.
The result may vary if the project is performed outdoors due to the wind and weather conditions, so it is recommended to conduct the experiment indoors.
In this solar heater project, reflectors concentrate the solar energy in one small place to collect and store heat energy. In this experiment, you will see the efficiency of solar energy.
- A wooden stand
- A concave or converging mirror
- Tube to flow liquid.
- Black paper
- Mount the wooden stand
- Roll pieces of black paper around the tube.
- Attach the tube in the concave mirror in a way where the sunlight concentrates in one direction.
- Fill the tube with tap water
- After 30 minutes, record the temperature of the tube.
To calculate the efficiency of the concave mirror solar heater, you can divide the temperature increase by the direct sunlight. Eventually, the temperature of the water increases after 30 minutes as the heat is transferred through the concave mirror and concentrated on the tube.
Uses Of Solar Energy
- Water heating: Solar energy is used to replace electric heaters and gas as efficiency is more with 15-30%.
- Heating of swimming pools: Solar blankets are used to keep the pool warm. The other way is by using a solar water heater to keep the water warm.
- Cooking purposes: Solar cookers are used for cooking food. Solar energy is used to heat, cook and pasteurize food. A solar cooker consists of an elevated heat sink such that when food is placed in it, it gets cooked well.
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Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
What is meant by renewable energy?
Define solar energy.
What are the highlights of solar energy?
What are the drawbacks of solar energy?
Initial cost and installation are expensive.
It requires large surface areas for consumer-level production.