The yellow dwarf, called the Sun, energizes our entire planet, defines its climate, provides photosynthesis, and sustains life on Earth. The power of solar radiation is 383 iota or 3.83·1020 MW. Each square meter of the surface of our star produces about 63 МW,which is comparable to the power of a small power plant.
All this energy rushes into space, easing the Sun by 4.26 million tons every second, but only a small fraction of it, passing 150 million kilometers, reaching our planet. Although the Earth receives less than one billionth of solar radiation, it exceeds thousands of times all human energy needs.
X-ray photo of the sun
Part of this energy is lost in Earth’s atmosphere, but on a clear day at noon in many regions of the planet it is quite possible to get solar insulation with power of 1 kW/m2 and convert to heat or electricity.
There are different ways of using solar energy for the needs of people. The easiest — conversion of solar radiation into heat for hot water supply and heating. In this case they are used solar collectors with different constructions.
Hiliothermal power plants operate in the sunniest regions of the planet. By concentrating the sun’s rays, they heat the coolant to a very high temperature and, through a heat exchanger, produce steam that is used to rotate a turbine generator, as in conventional thermal power plants.
But the most promising way is to directly convert sunlight into electricity by using photovoltaic modules. These devices are extremely reliable and work for decades both in micro-installations and in the composition of huge power plants. Thanks to the efforts of scientists, the efficiency of pv-modules is increasing every year, and with increasing production growth their value is decreasing.
Solar radiation is an extremely clean form of energy, it does not pollute the environment and does not disturb the heat balance of our planet. In addition, solar energy is free and virtually inexhaustible. The Sun’s hydrogen reserves are enough to sustain fusion for several billion years.
The production of"solar" electricity is often justified even in the northern latitudes by a sufficient number of sunny days a year and the optimum angle of inclination of the solar panels. The low insulation in this case is offset by the higher actual efficiency of the modules at the expense of their natural cooling.
But there are many sunny territories on the planet with a total annual insolation of more than 2000 kW·h/m2. При такива изходни данни слънчевата енергетика няма конкуренция.
General horizontal insolation of the surface (GHI)
Powerful solar power plants occupy a large enough area, so the opinion is that with the development of solar energy, there will be a shortage of territories. But calculations show that, for example, it is sufficient to engage in solar power only 1% of the Sahara Desert area to provide the whole world with electricity.
Of course, it doesn’t make sense to build a giant solar power plant, because there are many unused surfaces close to consumers, including the roofs of houses. In addition, there are other environmentally friendly ways to generate electricity. The fact is that even with the full supply of the energy needs of humanity with the help of the Sun, there will be no shortage of earth.
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