Solar power is the conversion of solar energy into electric current, either directly with photovoltaics (PV) cells, indirectly with concentrating solar power (CSP) systems, or a mixture. Concentrating solar power systems utilize mirrors or lenses and solar tracking systems to concentrate a large area of solar sunlight to a smaller beam for conversion to electrical current. PV cells collect the sun's rays and change them into electrical energy through photovoltaic cells. CSP systems employ mirrors to focus the solar energy to be collected into a smaller beam which is then directly transmitted over long distances by electrical wiring.
PV cells can also be used together with heat exchangers for the generation of steam and water to power a photovoltaic power station. With the advancements in photovoltaic technology, a photovoltaic power station can have an output of more than enough to eliminate a need for traditional energy sources such as coal, natural gas, and petroleum. Although there are a lot of technologies that make use of the sun's rays for energy production, a large portion of current photovoltaic systems are concentrated solar thermal power stations.
Solar collectors are used in conjunction with solar heating systems to convert solar energy into electrical energy, as well as store thermal energy. Solar collectors are used on rooftops, ground tops, and near streets and parking lots for the collection of solar heat. The stored thermal energy is then converted into hot water through the aid of solar collectors. Some of these collectors may use the aid of solar-heated covers to retain some of the collected thermal energy for later use.
Photovoltaic power stations can be constructed for residential or commercial purposes. Governments all around the world provide incentives for the construction of residential and commercial solar PV. Tax credits are provided for equipment that uses renewable energy. These incentives have caused many manufacturers to build solar PV and other renewable energy systems.
Residential solar power systems produce electricity from the energy given off by the sun. Photovoltaic cells (PV) are used to collect the sunlight and convert it into solar energy. This energy is stored in rechargeable batteries. A small photovoltaic system can supply power for a house for about 5 years. For commercial purposes, larger solar cells are used to generate electricity. A large panel may provide power to an entire building for a year. To make a solar generator, photovoltaic cells are arranged in a manner to cause electrons to move from the positively charged positive side of the cell to the negatively charged negative side of the cell. When sunlight hits a PV cell, the electrons flow in one direction, producing energy.
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