The core of every solar photovoltaic park is represented by solar panels. Their semiconducting coating - silica, for instance - reacts to visible light and creates energy when hit with solar radiation, thanks to the physical phenomenon known as “photovoltaic effect”. The panels are then mounted on support struts that ensure they’re correctly inclined and oriented so to fully exploit their exposure to light.
In a photovoltaic array, all solar panels are connected to an inverter, basically, a device that transforms the direct current generated by panels in alternating current which is easier to transport and use in all households. A control system is tasked with supervising over the solar park’s operations while ensuring its connection to the grid, so to guarantee the availability of all generated electricity.
One of solar energy’s trump cards is being able to release energy through other types of power plants, also known as “thermodynamic” (or concentrating), in which the sun’s rays can be transformed in electricity through a process by all accounts similar to traditional thermal power plants.
These power plants don’t feature photovoltaic panels, but rather, deploy mirrors that concentrate the sun’s rays towards a specific point, known as “collector”, containing a heat transfer fluid. The searing heat generated by the sun is more than enough to transform this fluid in steam which is, in turn, channeled to a turbine.
The mechanical energy generated by the turbine is sent to the alternator that transforms it into electricity, ready to flow through the power grid.