What is Solar Energy

What types of solar technologies are available?

Photovoltaic (PV)

Photovoltaic technology captures the energy of the sun to convert light directly into electricity. Energy from the sun is collected via photovoltaic cells made of semiconductor materials such as silicon. These cells convert the electricity into direct source electricity (DC power). This is then either used directly at the source or can be converted to AC power via an inverter and stored for later use in a battery device such as a municipal grid.

Concentration photovoltaic (CPV)

These systems use a Fresnel lens that is located between the sun and the solar cells to focus and magnify sunlight onto the solar cells that are anywhere from 250 to 500 times smaller than the typical “one-sun” PV solar panels. Concentration photovoltaic systems effectively replaces inexpensive plastic (Fresnel) lenses in place of the expensive silicon solar cells. Today’s concentration photovoltaic solar systems integrate “track” the sun, to maintain maximum energy transfer from the sun to the solar cells. They are completely automated and integrate a tracking software control system that is hydraulically-driven. Concentration photovoltaic solar systems integrate the Fresnel lens, solar cell, and solar receiver plate into the system.

Concentrated Solar Power (CSP)

Concentrated solar power (CSP) systems use lenses or mirrors to focus a large area of sunlight onto a small area. The concentrated light is then directed onto photovoltaic surfaces or used to heat a transfer fluid for a conventional power plant to produce electricity.

Solar Thermal

Solar thermal technology works by harnessing the energy of the sun via solar energy collectors (normally flat plates) which in turn provide low-medium temperature heat energy for direct use. The most common application for this technology is heating of hot water systems, space heating and swimming pools as well as cooling systems for residential and commercial buildings.

Passive Solar

Architects and builders can apply special design practices to maximize sunlight in interior spaces and position shading devices to protect from excessive heat, thus utilizing clever design practices to maximize solar energy. The use of special materials and designs which absorb the suns heat and release this later to warm a building during cooler evenings and nights is also an example of passive solar technology.

Emerging Technology

As the potential for solar energy across the world increases, a significant amount of time and money is being invested into the research and development of emerging solar technologies. Over time we expect to see a significant increase in the emergence or further solar technologies.

Does solar energy work at night?

Yes, solar energy is collected during daylight hours and can then be used immediately or imported into a storage device such as a battery system or a municipal grid. By exporting energy into a storage device, you can then use the energy collected during the day to power commercial and residential applications at night.

How long does a solar system last?

This differs with each type of technology but generally the lifetime of a photovoltaic system, CSP system or solar thermal system is approximately 25 years (however this will differ with each application and you should check with individual suppliers).

Does solar power work well in the UAE?

The United Arab Emirates is blessed with an abundant solar resource throughout the year and an abnormally high number of sunny cloudless days, making solar technology a perfect fit for the sunny climate of the UAE.

How can I find out more about solar technology?

Simply visit the members section of our website to search our directory of members to find a supplier who will be more than happy to answer any of your questions.

How much does a solar system cost?

The cost of a solar system varies greatly depending on your requirements, power needs, system size and technology used.

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