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Solar energy in Bangladesh
1.1 Origin of the Report
Solar power is the conversion of sunlight into electricity, either directly using photovoltaic (PV), or indirectly using concentrated solar power (CSP) or to split water and create hydrogen fuel using techniques of artificial photosynthesis. Concentrated solar power systems use lenses or mirrors and tracking systems to focus a large area of sunlight into a small beam. Photovoltaic converts light into electric current using the photoelectric effect.
Solar power is energy generated from the heat or light from the sun which can be used to produce heat, light, hot water, electricity, and cooling in a wide variety of applications including grid-tied and off-grid cabins and homes, commercial businesses, and industries such as oil and gas, telecommunications, remote traffic control equipment, remote sensing, and remote lighting.
1.2 Background of the Study
With the impending scarcity of many valuable resources, people are now starting to consider other means or sources of energy. While there have been many studies on the viability of wind or water energy, when it comes to an easy transportable energy solution, solar energy is now the major contender since it is the easiest to collect energy from.
It is about time to capitalize more on developing energy from the sun. Solar energy is free as the sun is a free resource that anyone can take advantage of. And it is readily available since anyone can have access to it. Just by utilizing a couple of solar panels in your home or office will be able to make all the difference, not just on your utilities expense, but also on the current state of the environment.
Sun’s radiation that is harnessed by humans for practical ends is the solar energy. Solar energy has been put to use since ancient times. From normal house hold chores to huge scientific processes, the utilization of solar energy is evident everywhere. People have been using the solar energy for basic purposes like drying their clothes, vegetables and fruits in the sun light for different means. Plants, through the process of photosynthesis, exploit sun’s energy to produce their food. These are some of the fundamental uses of sun’s energy. But the conversion of sun’s heat and radiations into electricity is the pre-eminent use of solar energy made by the humans. This internship report will examine the various sides of Solar Energy.
1.3 Objective of the study
This study will seek to achieve the following objectives:
· To identify the history, importance and many different information of solar energy.
To find out why solar energy is called alternative source of energy.
2.1 About JRC Group:
JRC Group was established in 2000 as a manufacturer of Motor Control Panel Boards. As a part of JRC’s diversification efforts, JRC quickly expanded into HT and LT switchgear manufacturing in 2002. These are the flagship products of JRC Powertech. JRC also deals with different types solutions to telecom operators, power generation, lighting engineering, and interior decoration. We believe, however, that the journey has just started and we continually seek ways to improve our products, services, and overall customer satisfaction.
They shall remain as the benchmark in the electrical solution industry by-Being innovation technology driven company driven company consistently world class products ensuring better living standards of people through continuous evolutions of value added services provided by highly professional, dynamic and committed team.
They will increase their turnover by 100% by next three years. They will remain transparent and socially committed and ethical company by ensuring better electrical better electrical solutions enhancing people’s living standards.
2.4 JRC Group Values:
Safety – No operating condition or urgency of service can ever justify endangering the life of anyone. At all time, our first thought and primary consideration is safety for all employees, for customers and for the general public.
Justice & Fairness – Doing the right thing at the right time, every time.
Transparency – Cultivating a regulation of honesty and straightforward communication.
Responsibility – Accepting accountability for our actions and living up to high ethical exaction.
Social Commitment – Developing sense of community among all we encounter.
Respect – Treating others the way we to be treated, regardless of position, and valuing each person’s talents, perspectives and experience.
Caring – Maintaining a sincere desire to make the world a better place.
2.5 Quality Policy of JRC
JRC ensures highest level of quality of the products that it manufactures. JRC employs all the three phases of process controlling mechanism i.e. raw material quality control, production process control, and finally post-production quality control.
At the beginning of the process, we make sure to comply with set standards and local regulatory norms in sourcing and procuring the highest quality raw materials. During the time of manufacturing a product, strict process control is employed to make sure that an added component fits well with the total system. Finally the fished product is tested before it is delivered.
As JRC is more of solution provider, we make sure that our manufactured products meet the clients’ specific requirements. For making it certain, every department must work together. Highest level of quality can only be ensured through recruiting and motivating the right person.
2.6 Corporate History at a glance:
Year of Establishment (As JRC Enterprise) : 2000
Started Journey as JRC Powertech : 2006
Formation of JRC PowerGen Ltd. : 2008
Formation of Artistry Holdings Ltd. : 2009
The Pathfinder : 2010
JRC Agrotech Ltd : 2011
2.7 JRC Group Information:
Customer Satisfaction through superior solution and after sales services, Sensible and Ethical Corporate Philosophies and Practices, Contributing to peoples’ lives, and expansion through innovation.
The Executive Management is headed by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The CEO is supported by different directors from different product departments. The Executive Management operates through further delegations of authority at every echelon of the line management. The Executive Management is responsible for preparation of segment plans/sub-segment plans for every profit centers with budgetary targets for every item of goods & services and is held accountable for deficiencies with appreciation for exceptional performance.
2.8 JRC Group Profile (SBUs):
JRC Powertech (JRCP) is the flagship company of JRC Group. JRCP focuses exclusively on total engineering solution for complex industrial and commercial projects. From planning to implementation, JRCP follows a holistic approach by addressing issues like customer requirement, efficiency, safety, and cost. The entity is well-staffed and has people from diverse background. All the projects implemented by JRCP stand high in terms of superior performance.
JRC Powergen Ltd
JRC Powergen Ltd. (JRCPL) is a sister concern of JRC Group. JRCPL was established in 2008 with a view to strengthening groups’ position in dealing with world-famous suppliers of electrical components. JRCPL now deals in brands like LS (South Korea), LKE (Denmark), Iskra (Slovenia), GST (UK) and many others. The team JRCPL is highly customer focused and emphasizes on superior products at a reasonable cost. On time after sales services has been the key behind all the success.
Artistries Holdings Ltd
Artistry is a new name in the over-crowded real estate sector in Bangladesh. Artistry seeks to differentiate itself on convenient location, superb architectural design, optimum utilization of space, and uncompromising construction. Artistry is headed by visionary architects and engineers.
Figure: JRC Group product line.
2.9 Banking Relationship
6/9, Block-D, Lalmatia, Mohammadpur, Dhaka-1207
as at 31 December, 2010
Merchandising (Ending) Inventory
Total Current Assets
Less: Accumulated Depreciation
Furniture & Fixtures
Less: Accumulated Depreciation
Machinery & Equipments
Less: Accumulated Depreciation
Total Fixed Assets
Liabilities and Capital
Total Current Liabilities
Total Long-Term Liabilities
Add: Net Income
Total Liabilities and Capital
Figure: Company Financial statement
Table: Project flow chart
Figure: Project flow chart
2.10 Strategic International Partners:
Partnership with A.L.T Inter Corporation, Thailand : 2007
Partnership with LKE Electric, China : 2007
Technical Collaboration with GST Holdings Ltd. : 2007
Technical Collaboration with AOSIF Power Generation , China : 2007
Technical Collaboration with GreenPower, Italy : 2008
Technical Collaboration with DEHN, Germany : 2007
Technical Collaboration with HENIKWON, Malaysia : 2008
(A BBT manufacturing company)
Technical Collaboration with DTM, Turkey : 2009
(A BBT manufacturing company)
Technical Collaboration with ISKRA, Slovenia : 2009
Technical Collaboration with TRANSFOR, Switzerland : 2009
Technical Collaboration with LS , KOREA : 2011
2.12 Products and Services:
A. Breaker :
B. Distribution List :
C. Control :
1. Magnetic Contractor (LS)
2. Soft Starter (LS)
D. Switchgears :
2. Motor Control Centre
E. PFI :
1. Capacitor Bank
A. Isolator (Delixi)
B. Outdoor CT
C. Outdoor PT
D. Circuit Breakers :
1. ALBS (LKE)
2. VCB (LKE)
3. SF6 (LKE)
E. Switchgear :
1. GIS (LS)
2. RMU (LKE)
3. HT Panel (LKE)
4. HT Capacitor (ISKRA)
A. Prefabricated Telecom Shelter
B. Cell on Wheel (CoW)
C. Battery :
1. BSB LSE Series
2. BSB LSG Series
E. DC Fan System
F. Outdoor Enclosure
o Solar System.
Fire Fighting Systems
C. Smoke Detector
D. Heat Detector
A. Green Power :
1. 1500 RPM Open
2. 1500 RPM Soundproof
A. Distribution List :
B. Switchgears :
2.13. : JRC Product and Service Category
Figure: JRC Product and Service Category
Total income difference source:
Name of product
Figure: Income of different soruce
Solar Energy: an Alternative source of Energy for Bangladesh
Solar energy means using the energy of sunlight to provide electricity, to heat water, and to heat or cool homes, businesses or industry. Sunlight is a clean, renewable source of energy. It is a sustainable resource, meaning it doesn’t run out, the supply can be maintained. Coal or gas is not sustainable or renewable: once they are gone, there is none left. More and more people want to use clean, renewable energy such as solar, wind, geothermal steam, hydro-electricity and others. It is sometimes called ‘Green Power’.
Solar energy, radiant light and heat from the sun, has been harnessed by humans since ancient times using a range of ever-evolving technologies. Solar radiation, along with secondary solar-powered resources such as wind on heat engines and photovoltaic. Solar energy’s uses are limited only by human ingenuity. A partial list of solar applications includes space heating and cooling through solar architecture and wave power, hydroelectricity and biomass, account for most of the available renewable energy on earth. Only a minuscule fraction of the available solar energy is used.
Solar powered electrical generation relies, potable water via distillation and disinfection, day lighting, solar hot water, solar cooking, and high temperature process heat for industrial purposes. To harvest the solar energy, the most common way is to use solar panels.
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 thermal collectors 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.
History of solar energy
During the winter. Later, the Romans improved on solar architecture by covering south-facing windows with clear materials such as mica or glass, preventing the escape of solar heat capturedHumans has harnessed the power of the sun for millennia. In the 5th century B.C., the Greeks took advantage of passive solar energy by designing their homes to capture the sun’s heat during the day.
In the 1760s, Horace de Saussure built an insulated rectangular box with a glass cover that became the prototype for solar collectors used to heat water. The 1st commercial solar water heaters were sold in the U.S. in the late 1890s and such devices continue to be used for pool and other water heating.
In the late 19th century, inventors and entrepreneurs in Europe and the U.S. developed solar energy technology that would form the basis of modern designs. Among the best known of these inventors are August Mouchet and William Adams. Mouchet constructed the first solar-powered steam engine. William Adams used mirrors and the sun to power a steam engine, a technology
Now used in solar power towers. He also discovered that the element selenium produces electricity when exposed to light.
In 1954, three scientists at Bell Labs developed the first commercial photovoltaic (PV) cells, panels of which were capable of converting sunlight into enough energy to power electrical equipment. PV cells powered satellites and space capsules in the 1960s, and continue to be used for space projects.
In the 1970s, advances in solar cell design brought prices down and led to their use in domestic and industrial applications. PV cells began to power lighthouses, railroad crossings and shore gas and oil rigs. In 1977, solar energy received another boost when the U.S. Department of Energy created the Solar Energy Research Institute. It was subsequently renamed as the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and its scope expanded to include research on other renewable energy sources. NREL continues to research and develop solar energy technology.
In the last 20 years, solar energy has made further in roads and now is used extensively in-grid and remote power applications such as data monitoring and communications, well pumping and rural power supply, and in small-scale applications such as calculators and wristwatches. But solar power has not yet achieved its potential to become a major contributor to world electrical grids.
Private and government research and development in solar energy technologies have led to continuing innovation over the last 30 years. The conversion efficiency of PV cells that is, the percentage of sunlight hitting the surface of the cell that is converted to electricity continues to improve.
Edmund Becquerel observed and published findings about the nature of materials to turn light into energy. They were considered interesting, but were not pursued.
Auguste Mouchout was the first man to patent a design for a motor running on solar energy. Receiving funds from the French monarch, he designed a device that turned solar energy into mechanical steam power and soon operated the first steam engine. He later connected the steam engine to a refrigeration device, illustrating that the sun’s rays can be utilised to make ice! He was awarded a medal for this.
His groundbreaking research was cut short though. The French renegotiated a cheaper deal with England for the supply of coal and improved their transportation system for the delivery thereof. Mouchout’s work towards finding an alternative was no longer considered a priority and he no longer received any funding from the monarch.
Willoughby Smith, a Brit, experimented with the use of selenium solar cells after discovering it’s sensitivity to light while testing material for underwater telegraph cables.
William Adams wrote the first book about Solar Energy called: A Substitute for Fuel in Tropical Countries. Him and his student Richard Day experimented with the use of mirrors and were able to power a 2.5 horsepower steam engine. Much bigger than the Mouchout’s 0.5 horse powered steam engine. His design, known as the Power Tower concept, is still in use today.
Charles Fritz turned the sun’s rays into electricity. His solar cell had a conversion rate of only 1-2%.Another big milestone for solar energy history!
Charles Tellier, a Frenchman who is seen as the father of refrigeration, experimented with a non-concentrating/ non-reflecting solar motor. He installed the first solar energy system for heating household water on top of his very own roof. However, his desire to pursue his refrigeration interests led to his abandonment of solar energy experiments.
John Ericsson, an American immigrant from Sweden wrote these powerful words: “A couple of thousand years dropped in the ocean of time will completely exhaust the coal fields of Europe, unless, in the meantime, the heat of the sun be employed.” He dismissed Mouchout’s work and also developed a solar powered steam engine, very similar in design to Mouchout’s.
Solar Energy history continues into the 20th century.
Aubrey Eneas formed the first Solar Energy Company – The Solar Motor Co. They sold the first Solar Energy system to Dr. A.J. Chandler of Mesa, Ariz for $2,160. It was destroyed less than a week later by a windstorm. They sold a second one to John May, but that one too, was destroyed by a hailstorm shortly afterwards. This led to the company’s downfall.
Henry Willsie recognized the need to store generated power and built 2 huge plants in California. He was the first to successfully use power at night after generating it during the day. Even so, he was not able to make a sale and his company too folded.
Frank Shuman’s company, Sun Power Co, built the largest and most cost-effective solar energy system covering 10,000 square feet plus. Although it produced a lot of steam it did not produce enough pressure. Together with E.P. Haines he then formed Sun Power Co. Ltd. They built an irrigation plant just outside of Cairo, but unfortunately it was destroyed during the Great War.
Calvin Fuller, Gerald Pearson and Daryl Chaplin of Bell Laboratories accidentally discovered the use of silicon as a semi-conductor, which led to the construction of a solar panel with efficiency rate of 6%.
The first commercial solar cell was made available to the public at a very expensive $300 per watt. It was now being used in radios and toys.
Space programs employed solar technologies. In 1958 the Vanguard I was launched. The first satellite that used solar energy to generate electricity.
The Energy Crisis! (OPEC oil embargo). A bit of solar energy history we are all familiar with. Suddenly it became important to find an alternative form of energy as we realized just how reliant we really are on non-renewable, finite resources like coal, oil and gas for our existence.
Solar energy history was made as the price of solar cells dropped dramatically to about $20 per watt.
A Los Angeles based company called Luz Co. produced 95% of the world’s solar-based electricity. They were forced to shut their doors after investors withdrew from the project as the price of non-renewable fossil fuels declined and the future of state and federal incentives were not likely.
The chairman of the board said it best: “The failure of the world’s largest solar electric company was not due to technological or business judgment failures but rather to failures of government regulatory bodies to recognize the economic and environmental benefits of solar thermal generating plants.”
Solar energy history played a big part in the way society evolved and will continue to do so-
There is a renewed focus as more and more people see the advantages of solar energy and as it becomes more and more affordable. Governments across the world offer financial assistance. Solar electric systems are now used to power many homes, businesses, holiday cottages, even villages in Africa. I see solar cells powering anything from household appliances to cars.
Top ten countries produce solar energy:
Figure: Top ten countries produce solar energy
Who invented solar energy?
“Solar energy” is the name given to the Sun’s radiation, emitted in waves, that reaches the Earth’s atmosphere. In modern times, it is often called an “alternative energy.”
In one sense, no one “invented” solar energy–it is something that has always been with us, ever since the Sun’s heat first began sparking chemical reactions on the Earth’s surface. But the question of when humans first actively harnessed solar energy, and who developed the solar energy systems we have today, is an interesting one.
The history of solar energy begins with Leonardo da Vinci whose sketches dating back to the 15th century show that he had been designing techniques for harnessing solar energy. It seems not much had developed from then since other proof of solar power studies dated centuries later, during the 1700s.
It was at this time when a Swiss scientist named Horace de Saussure began studying the potential of solar energy. In 1767, he was recognized for developing a solar energy collector (also known as a “hot box”), a first in the entire world.
During the late 1830s, a French physicist named Edmond Becquerel published his own studies on how light can be converted into energy. His findings, though, were not applied into actual technologies. It was also during this time when a British astronomer named John Herschel used a hot box, seemingly based on Horace de Saussure’s invention, to cook food when he went on an expedition to South Africa.
Reason behind producing solar energy
Reason 1: More Incentives, Lower Costs
Incentive programs for most states should become law very soon. For each unit (kilowatt-hour) of solar power that you produce you would be paid. For each unit of power you consume you pay far less, probably just 10% of this. This magic is achieved using Feed in Tariffs, the reason behind Europe’s renewable energy boom. Prices of solar PV panels have dropped in the last two years making installations more attractive than ever before.
Reason 2: Just do the math
If you meet just 3% energy needs with solar panels, the Feed In Tariffs could reduce your utility bill by 30%. With current prices of solar panels, the payback could be less than ten years. If you sign a contract, the tariff is guaranteed for twenty years.
Reason 3: The benefits may not last too long
The feed in tariff is adjusted from time. If the program becomes very popular, the rates may be revised downwards. The price of solar panels depends on availability of high quality silicon. Demand for solar panels is likely to take off under the new US administration and this may well drive the prices upwards.
Reason 4: Solar energy is non-polluting
Solar energy is abundant and it causes no pollution, either. Just think of all the greenhouse gases that you save. It is a myth that producing solar panels takes too much energy; this might have been true a decade ago, but it is not true with current technology.
Reason 5: The cost of entry is very low
People can start with a very small project and expand as you gain experience. Solar panels can be added at any time. A new, expandable line of inverters is now available; you just keep adding inverters as you add more panels.
Reason 6: Solar panels are maintenance free
With solar energy, there are no mechanical parts to worry about. Unlike windmills, there are no noise issues.
Reason 7: Be a part of the solution
Once the Feed In Tariffs come into effect, you will pay for renewable energy regardless of whether you install a solar panel or not. The cost of renewable energy will show up as a slight increase in everyone’s utility bills. The increase may well be just a couple of dollars a month but why pay for other people’s installations? Why not install your own and be ahead of the game?
ADVANTAGES OF SOLAR ENERGY:
Solar energy is energy that is derived and sourced from the sun. Other energy sources being used are indirectly derived from the sun. The most common energy sources being used today like gas, coal, and petroleum are ancient biological material that derived their energy from the sun.
There are plenty of excellent reasons that equate to advantages in using solar energy. Here are some advantages in using solar energy.
1. The abundance of Solar Energy.
Evenin the middle of winter each square meter of land still receives a fair amount of solar radiation. Sunlight is everywhere and the resource is practically inexhaustible. Even during cloudy days we still receive some sunlight and it is this that can be used as a renewable resource.
2. You don’t pay for sunlight.
Sunlight is totally free. There is of course the initial investment for the equipment. After the initial capital outlay you won’t be receiving a bill every month for the rest of your life from the electric utility.
3. Solar energy is getting more cost effective.
The technology for solar energy is evolving at an increasing rate. At present photovoltaic technology is still relatively expensive but the technology is improving and production is increasing. The result of this is to drive costs down. Payback times for the equipment are getting shorter and in some areas where the cost of electricity is high payback may be as short as five years.
4. Solar energy is non-polluting.
Solar energy is an excellent alternative for fossil fuels like coal and petroleum because solar energy is practically emission free while generating electricity. With solar energy the danger of further damage to the environment is minimized. The generation of electricity through solar power produces no noise. So noise pollution is also reduced.
5. Accessibility of solar power in remote locations.
Solar power can generate electricity no matter how remote the area as long as the sun shines there. Even in areas that are inaccessible to power cables solar power can produce electricity.
6. Solar energy systems are virtually maintenance free.
Once a photovoltaic array is setup it can last for decades. Once they are installed and setup there are practically zero recurring costs. If needs increase solar panels can be added with ease and with no major revamp.
DISADVANTAGES OF SOLAR ENERGY:
What follows is a list that is not in any particular order of importance.
High initial capital outlay:
The initial cost of installing a solar energy system can be prohibitively high for some budgets. The cost of buying and installing solar panel arrays is a bit steep. Payback times may reach from ten to fifteen years before you can even break even with your initial investment.
It is obviously impossible to power your home with a solar array at night if you don’t have a system in which to store power. This means batteries at our present level of technology. So you will probably still need to draw electricity from the local utility grid.
Availability of sunlight:
The position of your solar array is obviously of major importance in the generation of electricity. This means that some houses will not be ideally suited for conversion or for installing a solar energy system.
Polluting materials used in solar panels:
The majority of photovoltaic panels are made from silicon and other metals that are potentially toxic like mercury, lead, and cadmium. This is the dirty secret of this “clean” technology.
The current efficiency rate of most solar panels is just a mere forty percent. This means that sixty percent of the sun’s energy is wasted. There are some state of the art solar panels that can reach a maximum efficiency of eighty percent. There are continuing technological advances that increase efficiency and lower costs.
LIMITATIONS OF SOLAR ENERGY:
Solar energy’s biggest limitation is its sporadic availability. Because clouds and, of course, nightfall interrupt the collection of solar energy, many solar plants actually are hybrid plants that also need a secondary fossil fuel source, such as natural gas, to keep producing energy.
Solar energy does not always provide the level of power necessary to fulfill energy needs of a business or area. In those cases, a secondary energy source must supplement the solar energy.
With technology to harness solar energy still under development, panels and other units that collect and store the energy still remain prohibitively expensive for some regions.
Because sunny deserts are the ideal spot for solar energy collection, plants there do not have easy access to major energy grids. The plants require some method of transmission to compensate for the lack of power lines in the desert.
While solar energy is kind to the environment, not all of the facilities needed to harness it are. Some of the higher capacity solar energy plants take up large amounts of land, and building a large number of those plants could displace animal populations.
SOLAR ENERGY & THE ENVIRONMENT
Using solar energy produces no air or water pollution and no greenhouse gases, but does have some indirect impacts on the environment. For example, there are some toxic materials and chemicals, and various solvents and alcohols that are used in the manufacturing process of photovoltaic cells (PV), which convert sunlight into electricity. Small amounts of these waste materials are produced.
In addition, large solar thermal power plants can harm desert ecosystems if not properly managed. Birds and insects can be killed if they fly into a concentrated beam of sunlight, such as that created by a “solar power tower.” Some solar thermal systems use potentially hazardous fluids (to transfer heat) that require proper handling and disposal.
Concentrating solar systems may require water for regular cleaning of the concentrators and receivers and for cooling the turbine-generator. Using water from underground wells may affect the ecosystem in some arid locations.
We All Use Energy
All of us use energy every day — for transportation, cooking, heating and cooling rooms, manufacturing, lighting, and entertainment. The choices we make about how we use energy — turning machines off when we’re not using them or choosing to buy energy efficient appliances — impact our environment and our lives.
Efficiency and Conservation Are Different but Related
The terms energy conservation and energy efficiency have two distinct definitions. There are many things we can do to use less energy (conservation) and use it more wisely (efficiency).
is any behavior that results in the use of less energy. Turning the lights off when you leave the room and recycling aluminum cans are both ways of conserving energy.
is the use of technology that requires less energy to perform the same function. A compact fluorescent light bulb that uses less energy than an incandescent bulb to produce the same amount of light is an example of energy efficiency. However, the decision to replace an incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent is an act of energy conservation.
Recycling Saves Energy in Production of New Products.
Recycling means to use something again. Newspapers can be used to make new newspapers. Aluminum cans can be used to make new aluminum cans. Glass jars can be used to make new glass jars. Recycling often saves energy and natural resources.
Natural resources are things of value provided by the Earth. Natural resources include land, plants, minerals, and water. By using materials more than once, we conserve natural resources.
It almost always takes less energy to make a product from recycled materials than it does to make it from new materials. Using recycled aluminum scrap to make new aluminum cans, for example, uses 95% less energy than making aluminum cans from bauxite ore, the raw material used to make aluminum.
In the case of paper, recycling saves trees and water. Making a ton of paper from recycled paper saves up to 17 trees and uses 50% less water.
When we used to think of solar power, we generally thought of a lot of effort for a small result. This is not true any longer, as today solar power can be produced efficiently and easily in our daily lives.
The government is very keen for us to take initiative and install solar equipment in and on our houses. Solar water heating and solar panels producing electricity for our daily lives are just the start to our green future. Solar energy is only one form of renewable energy but it can be thought of as the most practical for the general public to be involved with.
Types of equipment used to produce solar energy are solar panels, solar hot-water systems, electrical cables for installation, solar battery chargers and deep-cycle storage batteries and photovoltaic cells used in panels to produce energy for your household. This type of equipment generally doesn’t take up as much room as wind generators or areas used to produce hydro-electricity. This is a strong advantage and leads to solar energy being a popular option for the everyday public to make power.
How does solar work
Photovoltaic (PV) solar cells directly convert sunlight into electricity. The simplest cells are used to operate wristwatches and calculators, and more complicated systems are used to light houses. PV cells are combined into modules called arrays, and the number of arrays used determines the amount of electricity produced. For example, a large number of arrays would be needed to generate electricity for a power plant. A power plant can also use a concentrating solar power system where sunlight is focused with mirrors to create a high-intensity heat source to produce steam or mechanical power to run a generator that creates electricity.
Solar water heating systems have two main parts: a solar collector and a storage tank. Generally, the collector is a thin, flat, rectangular box with a transparent cover mounted on the roof, facing the sun. The sun heats an absorber plate in the collector, and this heats the water running through tubes inside the collector. The heated water is pumped or moved by gravity into the storage tank. Solar water heaters can use about two thirds less energy than those of other methods. Heat from a solar collector can power heating and cooling systems in buildings.
How Solar Panels Work
There are two main types of solar panels 1) solar electric panels and 2) solar water heating panels. We’ll discuss water heating later. Right now, let’s talk about solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, which provide electricity.
PV systems convert sunlight directly into electricity. “Photo” refers to light and “voltaic” to electricity. A PV cell is made of a semiconductor material, usually crystalline silicon, which absorbs sunlight. You’ve seen PV cells at work in simple mechanisms like watches and calculators. You’ve probably even seen them for signs on the road. More complex PV systems produce solar electricity for houses and the utility grid. The utility grid is the power source available to your local electricity provider. PV cells are typically combined into modules, or panels, containing about 40 cells. Roughly ten modules constitute a PV array, or grouping of panels.
How PV Panels Work
Most PV panels contain a top protective layer, two specially treated layers of silicon with collecting circuitry attached to the top layer, and a polymer backing layer.
The top layer of silicon is treated to make it electrically negative; the back layer is treated it make it electrically positive. When sunlight knocks electrons loose from the silicon, electrons move up from the bottom layer of silicon and crowd the electrons in the top layer. The electrons freed from the top layer are collected by electrical contacts on the surface of the top layer and routed through an external circuit, thus providing power to the electrical system attached to the panels.
How PV Panels Work
PV panels collect energy from the sun and convert it into electricity
New technology, which we’ll get to in a later section, uses different, less expensive materials than silicon in PV panels to capture sunlight more affordably.
Where are PV Panels Installed
Most PV panels go on solar south-facing roofs parallel to the roof’s slope in the northern hemisphere, and on solar north-facing roofs in the southern hemisphere. Some arrays can be mounted on poles or on the ground, but such placement could be prohibited by local regulations or homeowners’ association rules. An important consideration is how many peak sun hours your system will get. Will your solar panels get year-round unshaded sun exposure from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. (the ideal)? Is your climate stormy, foggy, and dusty? The power of your system will vary depending on your geographical location. People in the northeastern US, for example, will need more solar panels on their roofs to provide the same amount of solar electricity as someone in Arizona.
Energy from the Sun
The sun has produced energy for billions of years. Solar energy is the sun’s rays (solar radiation) that reach the Earth. This energy can be converted into other forms of energy, such as heat and electricity.
Radiant energy from the sun has powered life on Earth for many millions of years.
SOLAR POWER TOWER
A solar power tower or central receiver generates electricity from sunlight by focusing concentrated solar energy on a tower-mounted heat exchanger (receiver). This system uses hundreds to thousands of flat sun-tracking mirrors called heliostats to reflect and concentrate the sun’s energy onto a central receiver tower. The energy can be concentrated as much as 1,500 times that of the energy coming in from the sun.
Energy losses from thermal-energy transport are minimized as solar energy is being directly transferred by reflection from the heliostats to a single receiver, rather than being moved through a transfer medium to one central location, as with parabolic troughs.
Power towers must be large to be economical. This is a promising technology for large-scale grid-connected power plants. Though power towers are in the early stages of development compared with parabolic trough technology, a number of test facilities have been constructed around the world.
The U.S. Department of Energy, along with a number of electric utilities, built and operated a demonstration solar power tower near Barstow, California, during the 1980s and 1990s. Learn more about the history of solar power in the Solar Timeline.
WHAT HAPPENS AT NIGHT AND ON CLOUDY DAYS
Because solar electric systems only produce power when the sun is shining, many consumers also connect their solar system to a utility power grid that provides additional electricity when the solar panels are not producing enough. That type of solar system is called a grid-tied system.
Off-Grid vs. Grid-Tied Systems
Costs also vary depending on whether your solar energy system is grid-tied or off-grid. The cost of installing a typical off-grid PV system in a home ranges from $15,000-$20,000 per kilowatt hour. The cost lowers when the solar system is installed as part of the initial house construction, because it is easier and more cost-efficient to incorporate energy-saving design, PV panels and other equipment during construction than to add them after the house is already built.
Off-grid systems require batteries to store electricity and a charge regulator to make sure the batteries are not under- or overcharged. However, with the cost of extending power lines from the utility grid averaging from $20,00-$80,000 per mile, a PV system can be a wise investment for electricity in remote areas.
There are several varieties of off-grid systems:
Small stand-alone solar electricity systems are often used for RV power, lighting, cabins, back-up and portable power systems.
A complete stand-alone solar system provides independence from both fossil fuels and electric utility companies.
A typical complete stand-alone system uses two inverters to make sure power is available for large loads such as air conditioners, and one inverter can supply power when the other may not be working or needs servicing.
Such systems require sizable battery storage capacity so electricity is available when adverse weather diminishes solar power.
Batteries are an expensive component of stand-alone solar systems, initially costing between $80-$200 per kWh for residential use.
Hybrid systems combine PV panels with additional power sources such as fossil-fuel generators.
A hybrid system uses fewer solar panels than a typical stand-alone system, because a gasoline, propane or diesel generator produces power when solar panels are not producing enough.
Such systems can be used for cabins, remote homes and to power small medical facilities in third-world countries.
APPLICATIONS OF SOLAR TECHNOLOGY
Solar technologies are broadly characterized as either passive or active depending on the way they capture, convert and distribute sunlight. Active solar techniques use photovoltaic panels, pumps, and fans to convert sunlight into useful outputs. Passive solar techniques include selecting materials with favorable thermal properties, designing spaces that naturally circulate air, and referencing the position of a building to the Sun. Active solar technologies increase the supply of energy and are considered supply side technologies, while passive solar technologies reduce the need for alternate resources and are generally considered demand side technologies.
Architecture and urban planning
Agriculture and horticulture
Heating, cooling and ventilation
Experimental solar power
CURRENT SOLAR TECHNOLOGIES
These section sets out a review of the three major solar techniques or technologies and their current state of development. Benefits of each are discussed and the different types that are available.
PASSIVE SOLAR DESIGN WHAT IS PASSIVE SOLAR
“Passive solar” derives from the design of a building to maximize the benefits of natural elements, particularly sun, daylight, wind, stack ventilation and thermal mass, without relying on any “active” components such as fans or pumps. All new buildings can be designed, and existing buildings renovated, to improve their passive performance by understanding the principles and following simple rules.
THE BENEFITS OF PASSIVE SOLAR
Passive solar design can contribute both to the energy efficiency of buildings in use and improve the comfort and quality for occupants. There are several components to Passive Design that can be used on their own or in combination to reduce energy consumption:
The contribution of useful solar heating can be increased, reducing the quantity of heating required from conventional sources;
The amount and distribution of day lighting in all parts of a building can be increased, reducing the need for artificial lighting. Where a building uses active cooling, reduced lighting energy use will also contribute to reduced cooling demand;
The demand for cooling in a building can be reduced by solar shading, leading to reduced energy consumption where active cooling is used;
Using thermal mass to store solar energy in dwellings can reduce heating demand and it may also be used to reduce cooling needs in offices;
The need for mechanical ventilation and air conditioning can be avoided or reduced by adopting natural ventilation strategies which use wind pressure differences and stack effects in atria (usually considered as using passive solar design), thus saving the energy used by fans and cooling equipment.
Comfort and quality in a building can improve by passive solar design mainly in terms of increased day lighting, which is generally considered to be better for occupants well being than artificial lighting. Passive solar heating is mostly of use in houses and, as long as overheating is avoided, occupants normally find them more pleasant to live in. Natural ventilation is liked by some office occupants compared with air-conditioned spaces, but this is not universal.
Passive solar buildings need careful design to be successful. For example, the sun can produce overheating and natural ventilation can lead to conditions that are too hot or cold and lead to poor indoor air quality. Day lighting can produce glare that causes problem for workers particularly using computer screens. As well as design of the components themselves, control systems need careful design and operation. Care must also be taken to achieve an integrated design and ensure that the benefits in one area do not cause problems in other areas, for example day lighting design leading to larger windows with consequent heat loss in winter and gain in summer.
TYPES OF PASSIVE SOLAR DESIGN
Passive solar heating is mostly applicable to dwellings and to a lesser extent to schools and similar use buildings. In buildings such as offices, solar gain comes at a time when it is likely to cause overheating, since many buildings have internal heat gains when occupied that provide or over-provide the heating demand.
In dwellings the following can be used to maximize solar gain: –
Orientate buildings to face within 450 of south;
Avoid overshadowing by adjacent buildings by designing distances between buildings where possible to allow the penetration of low spring and autumn sun;
Adopt an internal arrangement which places living rooms on the south side and bedrooms and service spaces on the north;
Locate larger windows on the south façade, and smaller ones on the north (but not so small to compromise day lighting);
Fit thermostatic radiator valves to the heating system, to optimize the use of solar heating;
Glazed balconies and sunspaces can be used on south sides to collect solar gain but must be unheated and separated from the living space by windows; otherwise more heat will be lost then gained.
For schools and similar uses where overheating is unlikely, similar rules can be followed. In offices, some solar gain in the mornings may be useful but generally it is not worthwhile to design for this.
Day lighting design is most important in non-domestic buildings, as in dwellings normally building depths and window sizes give adequate internal day lighting to rooms. In all other buildings, design to increase the amount and distribution of day lighting both gives more pleasant interiors and saves energy, as long as art