Solar energy is produced by light, also known as photovoltaic energy, or the sun’s heat (thermo-solar) for generating electricity or producing heat. Since it comes from the sun, it is inexhaustible and renewable. It is acquired using solar panels and mirrors.
Photovoltaic solar cells convert sunlight directly into electricity through the so-called photoelectric effect, by which certain materials can absorb photons (light particles) and release electrons, generating an electric current. On the other hand, solar thermal collectors use panels or mirrors to absorb and concentrate solar heat, transfer it to a fluid and conduct it through pipes to use in buildings and facilities for electricity production.
HOW IS ENERGY OBTAINED FROM THE SUN?
The sun provides heat, and using panels, the sun’s rays are concentrated in a receiver that reaches temperatures of up to 1,000 ºC. The heat is used to heat a fluid that generates steam. The steam ultimately drives a turbine and produces electricity.
The sun also provides light that is converted into electricity through photovoltaic solar panels. Photovoltaic panels are made up of groups of cells or solar cells that transform light (photons) into electrical energy (electrons). Photovoltaic solar cells convert sunlight directly into electricity through the so-called photoelectric effect, by which certain materials can absorb photons (light particles) and release electrons, generating an electric current.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SOLAR ENERGY?
Solar energy does not emit greenhouse gases, so it does not contribute to global warming. It is shown to be one of the most efficient renewable technologies in the fight against climate change.
IT IS INEXHAUSTIBLE AND RENEWABLE
Unlike traditional sources of energy such as coal, gas, oil or nuclear power, whose reserves are finite, the sun’s energy is available worldwide and adapts to natural cycles (which is why we call them renewables). For this reason, solar power is essential to a sustainable energy system that allows current development without jeopardizing future generations.
Of all these advantages, it is essential to highlight that solar energy does not emit toxic substances or air pollutants, which can harm the environment and humans. Toxic substances can acidify terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and corrode buildings. Air pollutants can trigger heart disease, cancer, and respiratory diseases like asthma. Solar energy does not generate waste or water pollution, a significant factor considering water scarcity.
Today renewable energy, specifically wind and photovoltaic, are more economical than conventional energies in much of the world, especially in sun drenched countries such as Italy and Spain, where solar panel installations are commonplace.. The leading renewable technologies are drastically reducing their costs, so they are already fully competitive with traditional electricity in many locations. Economising scale and innovation are making renewable energy the most sustainable solution, not only environmentally but also economically, to transform the world.
GENERATES WEALTH AND LOCAL EMPLOYMENT
In addition, solar energy is an indigenous energy available over almost the entire planet, which contributes to reducing energy imports and creating wealth and employment locally. For these reasons, producing electricity through solar energy and its efficient use contribute to sustainable development.
The desalination process consists of the phenomenon by which an electric current is passed through an ionic solution. Positive ions (cations) migrate towards the negative electrode (cathode), while negative ions (anions) will migrate towards the positive electrode (anode). Between both electrodes, two semi-impermeable membranes selectively allow only the passage of Na+ or Cl-. Water in the centre of the electrolytic cell is gradually desalinated, resulting in fresh water.
SOLAR ENERGY PREMONITION
“Use of solar energy is near a solution”, read a headline of the prestigious American newspaper, the New York Times, on April 4, 1931. Like a premonition, more than 80 years later, millions of human beings worldwide are supplied with electricity through renewable energies such as solar. Humanity is preparing to accelerate the transition towards a low carbon economy, aware of the finiteness of fossil fuels and their detrimental effects on the environment as the main cause of global warming.