Energy is the essence behind existence. Sun is the major source of energy for all life forms on earth. The light and heat energy produced by the sun helps in the production of electric energy, preparation of food by plants, regular functioning of the water cycle, etc. Since, today, the human population across the globe utilizes huge amounts of solar energy. This is, by converting it into electric power. Here is a basic information guide to a Solar Power Plant.
What Is A Solar Power Plant?
A Solar Power plant is the name of the facility that consists of the necessary types of equipment and devices or apparatus required to convert solar energy into electrical energy.
How Does A Solar Power Plant Work?
The working of a solar power plant is similar to that of every other clean and sustainable energy fuel such as wind energy, hydroelectric power, etc. They use the respective source’s kinetic energy to run the turbines for electricity generation. The step-by-step procedure of working of a Solar Power Plant is as follows:
- Then, in the first step of energy generation, the reflectors and mirrors present in the plant concentrate the sunlight incident on them in a region to produce high temperatures.
- This enormous amount of concentrated heat energy is used to heat a fluid such as water and the steam produced by it is utilized to run the turbines.
- The heat energy of the steam gets converted into mechanical energy of a turbine and is then used to power generators. Basically, it is these generators that produce electricity.
- This produced electricity is supplied to homes. Offices and other areas. Some solar power plants may also have the capacity to store the produced electricity for later usage.
Types of Solar Power Plants:
Based on the type, design, and purpose for which the facility has been designed, the Solar Power plants can be of various types-
- Linear concentrating systems: This system receives direct rays of the sun through long, curved, rectangular mirrors that act as receivers. Then, the use of the concentration of the sunlight heats the water running through the fuels. This power plant has a large number of collectors that run in parallel rows.
- Solar Power Towers: Thus, a solar power tower consists of a large number of sunlight tracking mirrors spread in a large field in the form of flat mirrors called heliostats that are used to reflect and concentrate sunlight. The sunlight is concentrated on top of a tower.
- Solar dish/engines: This type of solar power plant uses a solar mirrored dish which consists of many small flat mirrors that can concentrate light on thermal receivers.
Advantages Of Using Solar Energy:
Using solar energy resources to fulfill your electric energy requirements offers the following benefits;
- It is a renewable energy source.
- The solar power plant once set up has low maintenance costs and offers diverse applications.
- In the long run, the electric bills are comparatively less than the electricity bills of thermal power plants.
Disadvantages Of Using Solar Energy
- Setting up a thermal power plant requires a huge investment. Not everybody can setup Solar power plants at their homes. However, people make use of solar cells, solar batteries to power their homes.
- The Solar Power Plant is weather dependent. In rainy or winter season when sunlight is not available the plant cannot function to its full capacity. Thus, completely relying on solar energy to replace thermal energy resources is not possible.
- Although solar energy causes less pollution than other sources of energy the production and installation of photovoltaic cells and other pieces of equipment in the plant can affect the environment by producing solid wastes or releasing toxic gases in the environment.