ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes: Natural Resources: Energy:Small scale energy sources and plants:Solar energy
- Solar energy is converted into electrical energy in two ways
- The first is through the use of solar panels
- These are also known as photo voltaic power plants for reasons that will be explained below
- A solar panel consists of a thick lens placed on photo voltaic cells all held together in an aluminium dish.
- Rays from the sun hit the glass lens.
- The solar energy through the cell is converted into electrical energy.
- This is used for lighting, cooking and powering radios, televisions and other domestic appliances.
- The panel is placed on a roof clear of shadows to trap maximum energy.
- Wiring is done as in other electricity distribution methods in a home.
- The amount of solar energy produced is dependent upon the amount of sunshine received, intensity of that sunshine and size of solar panels installed.
- The second used method is thermal solar technology
- In one instance polished mirrors are used
- The mirrors are arranged in a parabolic fashion to reflect the sun’s rays onto a focal point
- An example is the solar furnace at Pyrénées-Orientales in France
- Temperatures can reach as high as 3500°C at the center
- The heat is used to heat water which is turned into steam
- The steam is then used to drive turbines and generate electricity
- Small home plants are also installed on rooftops used to heat water for domestic use
- Besides these two there are other solar technologies out there
To access more topics go to the O Level Geography Notes page
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