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Solar Power (coppin State)

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Essay title: Solar Power (coppin State)

With the current BGE prices going up people are trying to less expensive ways to provide energy to their homes. Also with all of the air pollution being caused by oil burning “eco-savvy” consumers are trying to find a way to heat their homes with out contaminating the quality of air. All of these problems could be eliminated if there was a magical source of free energy. Well there is a source of free energy and it isn’t magical, its energy from the sun. Energy from the sun or solar energy can be direct or indirect. Direct solar energy is when sunlight is used directly for heating or the production of electricity. Indirect solar energy when the use of wind and other biological materials create energy with the sun as a force. The most popular and beneficial form of solar energy is direct solar energy. Before going over how direct solar energy works a brief history of solar power should be reviewed.

Many believe that the quest for renewable fuel began with the oil crisis of the 1970s; however the first solar motor was actually developed over 100 years ago. In 1860 a math teacher named Auguste Mouchot began working on converting solar radiation into mechanical power. His first experiment was a glass flask with incoming radiation from the sun went through the glass. The trapped sun rays created heat which boiled the water and produced steam. After a few experiments Mouchot decided to add a reflector to the flask which concentrated more radiation inside of the flask. The concentrated radiation produced enough steam to operate a small steam engine.

Around the same time Mouchot was experimenting with solar energy William Adams wrote a book called “Solar Heat: A substitute for fuel in Tropical Countries.” Although they had the same passion for solar power Adams believed that Mouchot’s use of a metal reflector was costly and not efficient enough to catch sun rays. Adams determined that a reflector made with mirrors set in a semi-circle formation would be a cheaper and more effective Alternative. Adams built a machine that had a rack holding hundred of mirrors; each mirror was positioned to reflect sunlight in a specific direction. In order for the mirrors to follow the sun’s movements the racks holding the mirrors were moved around a semicircular track. This machine by Adams is said to be the first “power tower.”

There are many outlets that use solar energy but the most interesting is the solar cell. A solar cell which is also a photovoltaic cell is a semiconductor device that converts photons or rays of sunlight into electricity. When sunlight is absorbed into the semiconductor it causes electrons to flow in one direction. The flow of electrons causes a current which powers electrical devices. The uses of the photovoltaic cells is and example of direct solar energy. Solar cell made from monocrystalline silicon wafer.

Aside from the use of solar cells as an energy outlet for solar power there are also other technologies that can use solar power to produce heat or electricity. A Solar heating system uses solar energy to heat water. Solar heating system is made up of a flat-plate collector with a clear surface that allows sunlight to enter and the heat is trapped. Once the heat is trapped water that is inside of tubes inside of the collector is heated. There are two types of water heating systems: active and passive. In an active heating system water is moved through the collectors by a pump. In a passive heating system the collector has to be on an incline from the tank therefore gravity is the driving force. Another popular vessel of solar energy is a solar updraft tower also know as a. The solar updraft tower holds solar energy by a molten-salt liquid along with heated air inside of a chimney. An alternative to the solar updraft tower is the power tower. “A power tower is an array of Sun tracking mirrors that focuses the sunlight falling on several acres

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