Seven ways to get solar power | Part 1

I have mentioned it before, but for those of you who haven´t read the previous articles here on CBN (shame on you) "All buildings designed from 2013 would require reducing its energy consumption greatly" Apart from that "All buildings built from 2020 must consume very near to 0 energy from a none renewable source" i.e electricity from a company, gas or gasoil.


These new Spanish Building Regulations are known the EH1 and the EH0 and relate ecclusively to energy saving in buildings. The EH1limits the total amount of energy that our new and future buildings must use.

It divides Spain in different zones allowing those in colder regions such as the central north regions to use more energy for heating or cooling the buildings.  It goes from 15Kw/m2 per year in warm regions like Valencia Murcia etc to 40 Kw/m2 in colder zones.


On the other hand the H0 limits the consumption of energy of our buildings in a similar fashion. When I say that all buildings built from year 2020 must consume nearly 0 energy. Yes you have read it correctly is 0 Kw. Most if not all of the energy consumed in all buildings designed from 2020 onwards must first comply with EH1 and EH0 which was basically explained above which limits drastically the demand for energy and the consumption of that energy within buildings but more important than that all the energy (or almost all) the energy must originate from a renewable source  of energy, such as the sun, wind etc.


With that in mind we better start looking for sources of renewable energy test them and select the best system now because we will need to install them soon enough by law.


Photovoltaic panels

Photovoltaic panels are the best known system to collect energy from the sun, but are not the only way to harness energy from that star.

Solar energy can be used many ways, some well known and others, futurists: solar for homes and large installations, mobile, and fixed panels with flexible materials and low-cost, thermal and thermodynamic, systems of concentration, ink and solar tiles, hybrid systems, panels installed in the space or artificial tree leaves. Several companies and research groups, some of them in Spain, work to generalize these systems and take advantage of this source of energy clean and inexhaustible, to be used even at night.


1. Photovoltaic panels classics and avant-garde

Photovoltaic panels are best known for solar energy. They are based on photoelectric cells that turn sunlight into electricity. These panels can be fixed, typically on rooftops, (which I hate) or they can be turned into dynamic panels, thanks to solar trackers. These devices improve the performance of the panels a they follow the path of the sun. Panels can be installed for self-consumption in private or community housing, or large scale, such as the so-called solar farms, which sell their electricity to the national grid at a lower price that they intended (but that is another story).


Technology continuous advancing more and more and silicon panels could be replaced in a few years by more efficient materials.

Photovoltaic technology moves more and more and these classic silicon panels could be replaced in a few years. Experts speak of up to four generations to refer to the evolution of these panels. The so called low-cost solar power is leading to panels that are thin and flexible like a blade and very cheap to produce, based on very diverse materials, like plastic panels. Some companies are beginning to place these materials in other parts of dwellings, as solar windows, windows that also produce solar energy.


Photovoltaic panels do not have to be required form on the ground. Several projects, some of them Spanish, are proposing to locate photovoltaic systems in the sea and in the sky to take further advantage of solar energy.


2. Thermal: take advantage of the heat.

Thermal solar energy takes advantage of the sun's rays to produce electricity and heat. You can use this heat obviously, to heat homes, pools, for cooking food or to dry products. In addition to the domestic systems, there are large solar thermal power plants (Spain has some of the most powerful in the world) which produce large amount of energy which is converted into electricity which is then propel into the grid system as electricity.


Conventional thermal systems work during the day. Thermodynamic solar technology, fruit of the union of the heat and the heat pump, takes advantage of the heat of the wind, the rain and the sun, and work also during the night, according to its supporters and gets hot water more efficiently than both technologies.


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