Question

What is solar energy? How is solar energy used to generate electricity in a solar power plant?

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Answer

The energy obtained from the sun is called solar energy.

To obtain electricity from solar energy two devices are used — a solar cell and a solar power plant.

The device which converts solar energy directly into electricity is called a solar cell.

On the other hand, a solar heating device used to generate electricity from solar energy, is called a solar power plant.

The sun’s rays after reflection from a large concave reflector gets concentrated at it’s focus. The rays have sufficient heat energy which can boil water, if it is placed at the focus of the reflector. This principle is used in a solar power plant.

A solar power plant consists of a number of big concave reflectors, at the focus of which, there are black painted water pipes. The reflectors concentrate the heat energy of the sun rays on the pipes due to which water inside the pipes starts boiling and produces steam.

The steam thus produced is used to rotate a steam turbine which drives a generator producing electricity.

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