Solar PV (for electricity) and Thermal (for hot water) Systems
Data about the Sun
Almost 5 billion years
Mean distance from earth
149 600 000 km
Period of rotation
25 day at the equator
1 392 000 km (109 x the earth’s diameter)
1 993 x 1027 tons (333 000 x earth’s mass)
15 000 000 ?C at centre. 6 000 ?C on surface
380 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 kW
The earth receives
170 000 000 000 000 kW
Solar Energy is so fundamental to the creation and sustenance of life that there simply would be
no life without the daily flows of the sun to the earth. Without solar energy the Earth’s
temperature would drop precipitously, becoming so cold and dark that the conditions that
nourish life and humanity would be absent. It was been estimated that 1,000 times more energy
reaches the earth’s surface from the sun every single year than could be produced by burning all
the fossil fuels mined and extracted during that same year.
Thermal Systems (for hot water)
1455 B.C. - A.D. 1419
During the reign of the Egyptian King Amenhotep III there were "sound statues" in the temples.
The sun shining on the statues heated up the air inside them. This heating caused warm air to rise
up through the statues. The sound came about when the air passed through the apertures. This
effect occurred when the morning sun was shining on the statues. It became a morning signal. It
is also recorded that in the burial chamber of Zari Memnon, son of Amenhotep III, the well-
known song of an artificial bird was actually caused by the ear ly morning sun.
In China descriptions have been found dating from the Han dynasty. These show concave bronze
or copper mirrors that were used by the "Sun-kindler" to light the sa crificial lamps.
Later attempts to harness solar energy include the story of the burning of the Roman fleet in 212
B.C According to Johannes Tetzes, a thirteenth-century writer, Archimedes set fire to the enemy
fleet using burning glasses made of small square movable mirrors on a hinge system. When these
were positioned to face the rays of the sun, the rays were reflected towards the Roman fleet. At a
distance of a bowshot the fleet was set on fire and destroyed after the sails had been ignited.
Whether this story is true or not, it is a fact that solar devices were developed and built early in
history. As the number of them grew, man's mythic relationship with the sun altered. Early
religious and cultural attitudes and belief in the sun began to disappear, whereas by the
seventeenth century there was a greater focus on science than on superstition and magic.
1300 - 1600
The Renaissance - an age of science and art - brought forth many solar-energy inventions. One of
the most original solar inventions was built by Salmon de Caus in France. He used the sun to
heat air to pump water in his "sun engine". Although this was a very simple mechanical use of
solar energy, it was another 200 years before the "sun engine" was rediscovered.
1750 _ 1800
Renaissance use of solar energy was mostly in the form of "toys" with no practical application.
This trend however took a turn in the latter half of the eighteenth century when solar furnaces
capable of smelting iron, copper, and other metals were constructed out of burnished iron, glass
lenses, and mirrors. These solar furnaces were in use in Europe and the Middle East. One of
them was designed by the French scientist: Antoine Lavoisier. It achieved temperatures of
1,750°C and was made up of one lens with a diameter of 130 cm and a secondary lens with a
diameter of 20 cm.
1820 _ 1830
During this period several hot-air engines were developed. The famous two- cylinder Stirling air
engine was ideal for solar use, even though it was not originally developed for this purpose. A
wondrous selection of such machines was built during the next hundred years. They drove
everything from printing- presses and electric light to distillation processes.
In 1826 the Swedish engineer John Ericsson invented a hot-air engine. He used a 300
horsepower version to power a paddle-steamer. Later he modified the engine and ran it using
The Swiss scientist Horace de Saussure is credited with inventing the world’s first solar
collectors or solar hot box 1767.
What are the Solar thermal systems
This is systems which convert solar radiation into heat and transmit it to hot water or ear. The
system usually is made from copper, aluminum (high quality), plastic or other metal.
How does it work
This system consists of several main parts: solar collector, water tubs (through this tubs the cold
and hot water is circulating) and water tank (this is a reservoir of cold and hot water). There also
has to be a control system. There is two kind of system: self circulating and system which using
pumps. There is several kind of solar collector: flat-plate, focusing types and evacuated types.
Factors determining the choice of type are: its use (for what we need to use), the climate; kind
and amount of radiation, efficiency and economy. The solar collector including small tubes
panted by black color, where flow water, glass and number of layers. Clear glass admits most of
solar energy reaching it (85-90%). The rest is reflected off the surface of the glass or is absorbed
by the glass. The cleanness of the glass and the number of layers determine how much energy
penetrates. When short wave solar rays meet objects behind the glass, they are converted into
long-wave heat radiation. Unlike the short-wave rays, the long-wave rays do not escape, but are
trapped under the covering layer of glass or plastic. This is known as the greenhouse effect.
What does it cost
It depends on the Systems. Usually 1 qm.m solar collector cost $90 - $110 USD.
Solar PV (for electricity)
In 1839, a French scientist Edmund Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect – that light
falling on certain materials can produce electricity. Twentieth – century physicist including
Albert Einstein found that tiny photons or particles of sunlight can interact with the electron shell
surrounding the nucleus of an atom. The interaction causes a free stream of electrons – the basis
of electricity. Using this knowledge, scientists developed primitive photovoltaic cells made of
selenium. The first photovoltaic cells (PV) converted less than 1% of the suns photons into
electricity, were very expensive and little more than a scientific curiosity. However in 1954, a
small team of scientists at Bell laboratories tried to find a practical way to generate electricity for
telephone systems in rural areas not connected to a power grid. They knew that higher cell
efficiencies were essential to make the technology practical. The key to developing a more
efficient solar cell was to find the rights semi-conductor material. Crystalline silicon became the
focus of the Bell team’s research. Using that material, Bell inventors D.L. Pearson, D.M. Chapin
and C.S. Fuller fashioned an unprecedentedly large solar cell capable of turning 6% of the sun
lights that struck it into electricity. Soon the efficiency was raised to 11%.
What are the Photovoltaic
Photovoltaic are solid state semiconductor devices that convert Solar light into electricity. They
are usually made of silicon with traces of other elements.
How does it work
A photovoltaic device (generally called a solar cell) consists of layers of semiconductor materials
with different electronic properties. Solar PV system including battery (for storing energy which
generated by the PV array), controller (it is electronic device to control charging or limit the
discharging of the batteries), inverter (large systems usually including DC/AC inverters to supply
AC power in standard voltages and frequencies).
What does PV cost
It depends on the application. Systems containing 100 watts or more of PV will generally cost
between $6 - $12 USD per watt of PV. Smaller systems will be more expensive on a per watt