Solar Power Systems for Home

Sep 9, 2017   //   by admin   //   Knowledge Base  //  No Comments

This paper attempts to briefly discuss about the Solar power system in general context and later its application and efficiency in home environment. Hence let us first try to understand what exactly is solar energy.

Solar Energy: The sun is a big ball of gas made of up hydrogen and helium gas. It prepares energy in its inner core which is called as nuclear fusion. Everyday, sun radiates or sends out this enormous amount of energy which is called as solar energy.
Energy emitted by the sun is enormous but only a small part of the radiant energy ever reaches the earth. But the energy received by the sun is more than enough to supply for our needs. The sun radiates more energy in a second than the world has ever used since the time began. This energy received by earth is also dependent on the time of day, seasons and distance of region/location to equator or centre of earth receiving highest amount of energy.
Solar energy is renewable source of energy which is highly utilized naturally and through various other means by man for generation of power. The solar energy is not very easy to be used directly. It needs specific understanding of how to convert the solar energy into sustainable power that could serve multi purpose.

There are two ways where solar energy be converted and used. Following are
1.Passive Solar Energy: As the name suggests, Passive solar energy refers to harnessing the sun’s energy without any use of mechanical devices. This can be used to heat, cool or light one’s home without having to use the electricity. The collection, storage distribution and usage of solar power without mechanical devices requires some design in passive solar house.
The several applications a homemaker can use to take advantage of passive solar energy are as follows:
Passive solar heating: as the name suggests, gathers solar heat directly through sun. Large windows, utilizing the thermal mass to absorb solar energy entering windows and ensuring insulation to prevent loss, is the mechanism adopted to utilize energy.
passive cooling: using structural features and landscapes to create shading and minimize barriers to air paths and increasing ventilation allows balance of temperature to sustain.
Daylighting: this means to utilize the light of the day to brighten homes, also reducing electricity bills.
Second method to convert energy is Active Solar Energy which uses the mechanical devices in the collection, storage and distribution of energy. This “actively” gathers

energy from the sun. In order for the solar energy to be converted for any specific purpose, there is a need of solar collector. Solar collector is one way to capture sunlight and change it into usable energy.
The following are the applications utilized to harness energy:
Solar Space Heating: this uses pumps, fans and blowers as devices. These hold heated air for storage and uses ducts and blowers for distribution.
Solar Water Heating: uses pumps to circulate the water or heat transfer fluid through system.

Another Aspect to look at Solar Power System is the type of energy either passive or active solar harnesses it into. The energy converted can be categorised into three groups. a. Solar Thermal Energy: When the solar energy is converted to harness “heat”, it is referred to as “thermal energy”. One of the classic example is green house which is popular world wide.
Similarly solar thermal energy can also be used for pupose of Cooling: solar thermal energy is also used to drive the cooling process through solar absorption cooling and solar desiccant cooling. In solar absorption cooling, there is a absorbent and refrigerant. Solar energy is seperated here and refrigerant compresses and evaporates the heat to create a cooling effect. The evaporated refrigerant is then again recombined with absorbent to repeat the process. Desiccant cooling only removes the moisture from air, reducing the humidity and therefore the heat.
b. Photovoltaic solar power: The word “photo” means “light” and voltaic comes from the word “volt” or measurement of electricity. Hence solar energy that can be utilized to produce electricity. This requires solar cells for the process of conversion. The solar cells made of silicon are the semi-conductors which when exposed to light or heat, are capable of conducting electricity. For the electricty to flow, there is need of two more pieces ie. Circuit and one positively & negatively charged semi-conductor. The circuit provides a continous loop for flow while the +vely or -vely charged conductors dopes the flow and provide it charge (+ve or -ve).
For the photovoltaic cooling: this also uses the PV channels to solar energy to power an electricty cooling device.
c. Concentrating Solar Power: this is a type of solar thermal energy used to generation of solar power electricity. This aims at large scale production of energy. Since this is not possible at one individual residential level, it needs a community to pool in resources for the larger good of the people. This will be hence not much be discussed as the paper strictly limits itself to solar power system in homes.

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