What is Solar Power?
Generating electricity from the Sun is called solar power.
How does Solar Power Generate Electricity?
Solar power can be used to
electricity directly from sunlight
(called a Solar Photo Voltaic Power System - see below)
sunlight is used to heat air which rises up a tall chimney
(called a Solar Thermal Tower see the next page).
In both systems the original source of the energy is the Sun.
In a solar
photo voltaic power system
sunlight falls on to solar panels (solar cells)
and generates direct current electricity.
Small systems can
use the electricity directly
(for example solar cells can light roadside signs).
Large systems can
use the direct current to
make hydrogen from water or the direct current can be
changed into alternating current using an inverter.
The alternating current can be connected to the National Grid.
What are the Advantages of Solar Power?
1. It is renewable.
2. It does not cause pollution.
What are the Disadvantages of Solar Power?
1. It does not work well
when the sky is cloudy (less Sun).
It is does not work at night (no Sun).
2. It is relatively expensive.
The future cost is expected to fall with
(i) higher levels of production
(make more and they get cheaper)
(ii) improved technology
(more electricity from the same amount of sunlight).
(iii) governments pay people to generate their own electricity.
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Copyright © 2012 Dr. Colin France. All Rights Reserved.