What is solar power?

What is solar power?

Solar power is the conversion of light energy or sunlight into electricity, either directly using photovoltaics or using concentrated solar power indirectly.

By using lenses or mirrors concentrated solar power systems can focus a large area of sunlight into a small beam; photovoltaics convert light into electric current using the photoelectric effect.

Let’s take an in depth into CSP –concentrating solar power and PV photovoltaics.

Concentrating solar power or CSP use lenses and mirrors to focus a large area of sunlight into a small beam, the concentrated heat is then used as heat source for a conventional power plant

There is a wide range of concentrating technologies that exist; the most developed are the parabolic trough, the concentrating linear Fresnel reflector, the Stirling dish and the solar power tower.

Various techniques are used to track the Sun and focus light.

In this process a  fluid this could be any type of fluid like water; is heated by the concentrated sunlight, and is then used for power generation or energy storage.

Linear parabolic reflectors that concentrate light onto a receiver positioned along the reflector's focal line.

The receiver positioned right above the middle of the parabolic mirror and is filled with a working fluid.

The reflector follows the Sun during the daylight hours by tracking along a single axis.

Now let’s look at the solar cell or photovoltaic cell (PV); this is a device that converts light into electric energy using the photoelectric effect. The first solar cell was constructed in the 1880s by Charles Fritts.

In 1931 Dr Bruno Lange; a German engineer developed a photo cell using silver selenide in place of copper oxide.

Even though the prototype of selenium cells converted less than 1% of incident light into actual electricity; Ernst Werner von Simmens and James clerk Maxwell both recognised the importance of the discover.

Following the work of Russell Ohl in the 1940s, researches Gerald Pearson, Calvin Fuller and Daryl Chapin created the silicon solar cell in 1954.

So now we know what solar power is and how it came about to be. For more info please call us