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Science and Technology What is Solar Energy ?

of the Modern World •The radiation from the sun gives our
planet heat and light.
(Part 4: Solar & Wind Energy) •All living things need energy from the sun to survive.
Dr. Grantham Pang •More energy from sunlight strikes the
Department of Electrical and earth in one hour (4.3 x 1020 J) than all
Electronic Engineering, HKU the energy consumed on the planet in
one year (4.1 x 1020 J).* 1 2

Nature of Solar Energy Popular solar energy conversion systems

• Solar energy is available as long as the sun • Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Systems
shines, but its intensity depends on weather Sunlight can generate electricity directly
conditions and geographic location. using photovoltaic (PV) cells. PV panels,
• Solar energy travels in straight lines and can assembled from PV cells, can be grouped
be blocked by objects such as clouds. into arrays to generate electrical power for
practical applications.

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Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Systems Popular solar energy conversion systems

• Solar Thermal Collectors

• Solar Hot Water Systems
A collector is placed on the roof or wall of a
building facing the sun to absorb solar
radiation, which then heats the water,
5 storing it for later use. 6

Solar Hot Water Systems Popular solar energy conversion systems

• Solar Thermal Electricity
Solar thermal collectors concentrate solar
radiation into heat energy to produce steam,
which then turns a turbine to produce

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Applications of Solar Energy Benefits of Solar Energy
• It is abundant
Solar energy is generally available everywhere,
every day, though the intensity varies with
weather conditions and geographical locations.
• It is environmentally friendly
No noise, heat or greenhouse gases. It will not
Japan Germany USA deplete natural resources. Every 1,200 units of
Small-scale rooftop PV This picture shows one BIPV system at
systems are of the world’s Moscone Convention
solar electricity generated reduces around 1
commonly used for largest grid-connected Centre, 675 kW, San tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2).
domestic PV systems Francisco.
purposes. (10 MW), Bavaria
Solarpark. • It is convenient to install
Rank Country Installed Capacity Solar panels can be retrofitted into existing
1 Japan 1,132 MW building structures and fixtures.
2 Germany 794 MW
9 10
3 USA 365 MW

Challenges of Solar Energy What is Wind ?

• It is unpredictable. What is Wind Energy?
Controlled by nature. It is only
available during daylight hours and The kinetic energy of the wind can be
with clear skies. changed into other forms of energy, either
• It usually works better in rural mechanical energy or electrical energy.
areas than urban areas.
The close proximity of buildings in
urban areas and the resulting
shadows sometimes pose limitations
on the absorption of solar energy.
• It can be costly to build solar energy
facilities …high start-up costs
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How is Wind Formed?
Wind Energy Through the Years Theoretically, about 1 to 2% of the sun’s radiation turns into
wind energy when it arrives at the earth, which is about a
hundred times of all the energy consumed on the planet.

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How to Extract Wind Energy? How is electricity

• All moving objects contain kinetic energy. generated by wind turbine?
• The kinetic energy contained in wind can be • Wind blows over the angled
blades and results in a turning
transferred to other objects, such as boat force.
sails, or transformed into electrical energy • The force will turn the shaft,
through wind turbine generators. gearbox and generator, which
are all connected.
• The gearbox increases the
rotational speed, enabling the
generator to produce electricity.
• The yaw control would turn the
rotor and nacelle to face the
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Offshore Wind Farms
Onshore Wind Farms • They are typically constructed in
regions with high population
Onshore wind farms continue to make up the densities with few suitable sites.
majority of wind farms around the world. Advantages
• Steadier and stronger supply of wind
Advantages than onshore wind farms, less visual
• Lower construction costs compared with offshore impact, less likely to be affected by
wind farms, easy access for maintenance, height restrictions than hilltop wind An offshore wind
turbines. farm located at
relatively convenient to connect to power grids. Constraints Rodsand
Constraints • Higher construction costs, subject to of Denmark, with 72
• Height restrictions for hilltop wind turbines, water depth restrictions (most wind turbines, total
unsteady wind conditions, concerns over noise and existing off-shore installations are in installed capacity of
waters shallower than 20 metres. 165.6 MW.
visual impact on the environment.
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Installed Wind Power Capacity Case Study

Worldwide Denmark & China
Country Installed Capacity
Rank • Denmark has the world’s 4th-largest total installed
1 Germany 16,629 MW
2 Spain 8,263 MW
wind power capacity at 3,118 MW ( end of 2004).
3 USA 6,740 MW • Wind energy made up over 18% of Danish
electricity consumption in 2004.
• Most modern wind turbines adopt a three-bladed
machine designed by Denmark. ( 40% of the
world market in wind turbine manufacturing)
• China ranks 10th in the world in terms of total
Germany Spain USA
Schuby Wind Farm, Leitza-Beruete Wind White Deer Wind Farm, installed wind power capacity with 764 MW as of
near Schleswig, Farm, Navarre, Texas, with
with installed capacity Spain, with installed installed capacity of the end of 2004.
of 18 MW. capacity of 80 MW. 19 20
19.2 MW.

Rejsby Hede Wind
Farm, in Denmark,
consists of 40 Benefits of Wind Energy
turbines with a
total • It is clean and does not pollute the air
installed capacity Wind turbines do not emit greenhouse gases or
of 24 MW.
contribute to global warming.
• It does not deplete resources
Every 1 million units of electricity generated by
A wind farm in a wind turbine can offset approximately 350
Huitengxile, Inner tonnes of coal.
Mongolia, consisting
of 72 turbines • It is more cost-effective than other forms of
with a total installed renewable energy
capacity of As wind energy technology matures,
42.7 MW.
construction and operating costs continue to
21 drop, providing greater cost effectiveness 22

Challenges of Wind Energy

• It is intermittent and
Wind turbine generator
outputs are not controllable
or predictable. Wind energy
alone cannot be relied upon
as the sole source of
*Wind turbines can
• Wind farms occupy large
areas impose adverse impact
Places with high population on the environment
densities and land limitation Impact on migrating
often have difficulty finding birds. Create noise,
the necessary space for wind
farms. visual blight.
Acknowledgement to Hong Kong Electric for the use of some pictures 23
and text from its website for the production of these slides for educational use only.