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    Working of solar panel
    Working of solar panel

    The working of a Solar Power Plant & More

     

    Table of Contents:

    1. Introduction
    2. What is a solar power plant
    3. How is solar energy converted into electricity
    4. How does solar energy conversion take place
    5. What are the types of solar power plants
    6. Advantages of solar power plants
    7. Applications of solar energy
    8. Conclusion

    All this while, when you have wondered about the main objective of a solar power plant, here’s every little detail about it. The high-tech glass radius is tailored to generate electricity using the sun’s renewable energy.

    The heat and light produced from the sun’s energy are either harnessed directly, like photovoltaic cells or indirectly, like solar thermal plants. The influx of solar power plants has successfully outreached every country solely for its advantage, which is not releasing any harmful gases into our environment. The need for solar energy is growing every day and is a sure-shot future for India. Owing to a positive impact on the climate and environment, solar power plants are expected to become a large source of energy worldwide by 2030. Going forward, the solar industry is expected to generate 1.5 times more power than in the present day with an assured high-efficiency module.

    Our blog is here to give you an overview of the working of a solar power plant , its importance and the types of a solar power plant.

    Interesting Fact: China was once a wide-ranging global polluter and now has the largest solar power plant. Furthermore, India generated about 100,000 MW of electricity from a solar power plant in 2020.

    What is a solar power plant?

    The utility-scale converts sunlight to electricity with some dependency on solar technologies. A solar power plant is mainly concerned with diminishing electricity costs by imparting energy. In the process of doing so, small and large solar systems are involved. The engaged components absorb and transmute sunlight to electricity from DC to AC. A solar energy conversion entails batteries and more accessories.

    How solar energy is converted into electricity?

    The working of a solar plant comprises three main elements.

    1. Solar Panels

    Solar panels are the heart of a power plant. They are built by a number of solar cells and are solely responsible for the success of a plant. The panels are positioned on the roof of a building at a tilted angle to maximize sunlight. 

    2. Battery Controller

    A battery charge controller ensures consistent power to the batteries, which is utilitarian on days of less sunshine or at night. This takes care of the battery and makes sure the battery does not get discharged or overcharged. 

    3. Solar Power disconnects

    A solar power disconnect cuts off the DC power output from the solar panel. It also looks into problems with the solar system. This component should be strong enough to control the power on a bright sunny day.

    4. Solar cells

    Solar cells are majorly responsible for the flow of electricity. The energy-generating unit is fabricated with p-type and n-type silicon semiconductors. The solar cells absorb the energy from the sunlight and create electrical charges, which move in response to an internal electric field.

    5. Deep cycle battery storage

    The solar system requires deep cycle battery storage in order to store the energy generated by solar panels. They are robust and are responsible for charging and discharging cycles. 

    6. Solar power system metering

    Having a solar power system metre is an optional component but can help immensely maximise the solar system’s efficiency. 

    Solar energy converting into electricity

    How does solar energy conversion take place?

    Here’s a step-by-step look at how solar panels work.

    • The solar panels are built with silicon cells, metal frames and special wiring. When these panels are grouped and placed on the rooftop, they absorb sunlight and get activated.
    • The solar cells are made up of a positively charged and negatively charged layer. Once the energy strikes a solar cell, it causes electrons and creates an electric current.
    • Solar panels work on converting sunlight efficiently into electricity. However, the generated electricity is in the DC form, which gets converted into AC easily. 
    • The converted electricity will then power all the appliances. The energy will run through the electric panels and distribute to the utilities. 
    • A smart electric metre will work on measuring usage and energy generation. The component will quantify the surplus power and send it back when required. 

    What are the types of solar power plants?

    The solar power generation process takes place based on two technologies – photovoltaic and solar thermal technology.

    1. Photovoltaic Solar Power Plant

    Also known as PV, the working of a photovoltaic solar power plant involves photovoltaic cells. These panels are made with silicon alloys and are available in different forms. They store the energy in the batteries and can generously convert it from DC to AC. The PV panels produce free electrons once the sunlight hits the semiconductor material. This process is known as the photoelectric effect and is converted to AC from DC with an inverter. The PV panels differ from the solar thermal plant. The solar photovoltaic system working does not focus on energy but instead converts photons into energy. 

    2. Solar Thermal Power Plant

    A solar thermal power plant generates electricity and heat by focusing on the sun’s energy. This process builds steam and thereby produces electricity. Solar thermal power plants are subdivided into three types – parabolic trough, linear and solar dish power plant. The heat generated from the solar thermal power plant can be available at commercial and residential properties. Once the heat is absorbed from the sunlight, it is transferred to a fluid that involves air, antifreeze and water. It acts as a great, dependable source within a restricted area.

    Advantages of a Solar Power Plant

    Here are some lesser-known benefits of solar energy.

    • Great for the environment. It is one of the cleanest sources of energy. Renewable energy does not produce any noise pollution or waste and therefore does not impact the environment in any way. 
    • The cost of energy production is practically negligible as it does not need any outside supply. Besides the investment to set up a solar power plant, there are no additional costs involved.
    • There is no loss of energy in its distribution. This keeps the performance at its peak.
    • The installation of a solar power plant is easy and versatile. It can be set up almost anywhere. The flexibility of a solar system makes it easy to generate electricity even in remote areas.
    • The energy production from the sun makes it an inexhaustible energy source. This makes it available in abundance. 
    • In the case of voltage dips and blackouts, the efficiency of solar power comes into play.
    • The energy production is maximum during the day resulting in reduced electricity prices.
    • With one time investment, expect free power for life.
    • Get a return on investment in only three years.
    • The most eco-friendly technique for power production.

    Solar windmill

    Applications of Solar Energy

    Some major applications of solar energy include:

    • Solar water heating
    • Solar distillation
    • Solar heating of buildings
    • Solar pumping
    • Solar furnaces
    • Solar greenhouses
    • Solar cooking
    • Solar electric power generation

    One Last Thought:

    Every day the sun provides far more energy than required. The scope of it is immense in India because of widespread solar radiation which is about 3,000 hours of sunshine. The solar deployment is currently 30 GW on average and is expected to grow to 60 GW by 2030. Thanks to the humongous population in India, the future of solar energy is as bright as the sun.

    Going by the succeeding predictions, the solar sector is a lucrative career in India. To fulfil the energy requirements, some major prospects are seen in the construction and commissioning, business development, design and pre-construction and operations and maintenance. 

    Specialise with Atria University’s Energy Science major and master the renewable energy technologies underway globally and in India. With our Renewable Energy System expertise, you are certain to be a leader in the evolving space. Also, our signature project will guide you on how to design, install and commission a solar photovoltaic system, build a solar power unit prototype, investigate the performance, test the functioning of a concentrated solar power plant, create a blueprint for a wind farm and comprehend the working of a solar plant intricately.

    Atria Admissions Team

    August 28, 2022

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