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Solar Tracking System: Cost & Benefits

Heliostat Measurement

Many solar systems are designed to track, or follow, the sun’s movement across the sky. Tracking devices are categorized by the number of axes (either single-axis or dual-axis) that turn. Both types can follow the daily east-west motion of the sun, but only dual-axis trackers can track the seasonal north-south …

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Grid Energy Storage Systems: Basics & Characteristics

Energy Storage Systems (ESSs) are evolving as a viable technical and economical solution for improving both short-term and long-term grid operations. Increased peak power demand, limited generation capacity, the variability of renewable energy generation, and transmission and distribution issues can be addressed, in principle, with ESSs.  Different types of ESSs …

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Fuel Cell: Characteristics Curve & Losses

Typical characteristic curves of a PEMFC

In this section, the properties and control characteristic curve of the fuel cells are examined for designing the overall power conversion system to obtain the required voltage and power output for various applications. Fuel Cell Losses Several sources contribute to irreversible losses in a practical fuel cell. The losses, which …

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Wind Turbine Components and Functions

Wind turbine components

Wind turbines are categorized based on the orientation of their spin axis into horizontal-axis wind turbines (HAWT) and vertical-axis wind turbines (VAWT). VAWT have their rotor shaft transverse to the wind (but not necessarily vertical), and the main components are located at the base of the turbine; that is, the …

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Residential Photovoltaic (PV) System Design

The task of designing Photovoltaic (PV) systems is a very tricky process due to the fact that PV panels are still relatively expensive and energy production is very sensitive to atmospheric conditions and the physical location. In the case of ground-mounted PV systems, one can choose the optimum tilt angle …

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Photovoltaic (PV) Cell: Characteristics and Parameters

I-V Characteristics of a PV Cell

PV cell characterization involves measuring the cell’s electrical performance characteristics to determine conversion efficiency and critical parameters. The conversion efficiency is a measure of how much incident light energy is converted into electrical energy. The optimum operating point for maximum output power is also a critical parameter, as is a …

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Basic Electrical Questions and Answers

These questions are primarily related to Capacitance, Electric Current, Resistors in Series and Parallel. These topics are covered in detail here: Capacitance Electric Current Series and Parallel Circuit   Determine the voltage when 500 J of energy is used to move 10 C of charge.           …

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Energy Resources Questions Answers

These questions are related to Type of Fuels, Solar Energy, Wind Energy, and Nuclear Energy that are covered in detail here: How Does Nuclear Energy Work All about Solar Energy | Solar Energy Environmental Impact Global Wind Patterns | Environmental Impact of Wind Energy Types of Fossil Fuels What are …

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Electrical Protective Devices

Fuses and circuit breakers are placed in the current path of an electric circuit. They are used to create an open (break in the circuit) when the current exceeds a specified number of amperes due to a malfunction or other abnormal condition. The basic difference between a fuse and circuit …

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Digital Multimeter Working Principle

Typical DMM with probes

To test and troubleshoot circuits, it is necessary to understand how to use basic electronic measuring instruments. The digital multimeter (DMM) is the most widely used electronic measuring instrument. Also, the clamp-type ammeter is useful for measuring current, especially in power applications. An older analog meter called the volt-ohm-milliammeter (VOM) …

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Capacitors, Inductors, and Transformers

A resistor presents a fixed value of resistance (opposition to current) that is independent of the type of voltage (dc or ac) applied to it. Capacitors and inductors are two types of electrical components classified as reactive, which means that their opposition to current depends on the type of voltage …

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Magnetism and Electromagnetic Devices

Magnetic Attraction and Repulsion

Magnetism and Electromagnetic Devices In this section, you will learn about basic magnetism and electromagnetism. Three important electromagnetic devices are introduced: the relay, the generator, and the motor. All of these devices are important in renewable energy systems. Relays are commonly used in many applications to switch current on and …

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Conductors, Insulators, and Semiconductors

Electricity consists of moving charge. When we think of the path for electricity, we think of wires most of the time. In metallic solids, electrons make up the charge that moves; however, the charge can also move through certain liquids and gases as well as space itself. In this section, …

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Series and Parallel Circuits

Four Examples of Parallel Circuits 1

Series and parallel circuits are two basic arrangements of the source and loads. Series and parallel circuits are often combined to form complex circuits that can be understood on the basis of simpler series and parallel arrangements.  Series Circuits A series connection is one with a single path. A series circuit has …

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Power and Watt’s Law

Watt Law

When there is current through a resistance, electrical energy is converted to heat or other forms of energy such as light. A common example of this is the incandescent light bulb that becomes too hot to touch when it has been on for a short time. The current through the …

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Resistance and Ohm’s Law

Cutaway View of a Carbon-Composition Resistor

With the exception of a special class of materials called superconductors, all materials have resistance, which is the opposition to current. Conductors are generally metallic materials with low resistance, whereas insulators are materials with high resistance. When there is current through a resistive material, heat is produced by the collisions …

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