Types of Solar Technologies
By Chris Bradshaw on June 7th, 2011
Solar technology is making it possible to generate clean electricity without having to worry about damaging the environment. There are lots of different types of solar technology in use today, so what’s the difference?
In the past few people bothered about protecting the environment, however nowadays people are much more concerned with looking after and caring for the environment. Solar power is becoming a very popular way of generating electricity and heating water.
There are many different types of solar power, however not all of these are suitable for use in your home.
Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Cells
Solar cells have many uses, these are commonly found on calculators. There are however many different uses for solar cells, these are commonly placed within a panel and fixed on top of buildings to generate electricity from solar energy. Solar PV cells are made out of silicon which are semiconductors. These convert sunlight into electricity.
Solar Hot Water Heating Systems
Everybody knows that the sun makes things hot and solar panels are no exception, these basically contain a water supply that is circulated through the panel by a pump, the water is heated by solar energy and returned to your hot water tank to supplement the boiler supplied hot water. The only problem with these is that the pump which pumps the water up there can sometimes be noisy. More information on solar water heating.
These are similar to solar cells, and work by converting light into electricity. However instead of using silicon like with solar cells these use a solar tape which is made out of titanium dioxide. People have suggested that it might be possible to use this tape when building cars, or even when building homes.
Solar Chemical Power
This is a very new technology which is still being researched, however it’s a very exciting technology. The idea is that a chemical reaction caused by the sunlight generates electricity.
This technology generates heat, rather than generating electricity. It does this by using three layers of salt to prevent convection, which allows it to store energy in the form of heat. The heat will normally be used to heat something, rather than being converted into electricity.
Solar Updraft Tower
This is used to heat air, which passes up a tower. This then turns turbines and generates electricity in the same way as a normal power station.
This is an exciting new technology which improves on the efficiency of traditional solar panels. They also make solar technology much less of an eyesore.
Holographic tuning, or Holographic Planar Concentrator is a cheaper and more efficient way to harness the suns energy. This technology works by focusing specific spectrums of light onto the solar panel. Current solar panels only convert around 15% of the energy from the light into useable electricity.
Holographic tuning technology will improve the amount of electricity that it’s possible to generate from much smaller panels. This technology is still in the prototype stages, but it is looking very promising.
Most of these technologies are still in their infancies and are being improved as we speak. The prospect of free clean electricity is so tempting that many people are already installing these systems on the roofs of their homes.
Not to mention that the standard solar panel is very low maintenance, they should last for over 40 years and just need a simple clean once a year.