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Solar panels, or more precisely, using a technical terminology, "solar collectors", are divided into three main macro-categories:
1) Photovoltaic solar panels
2) Thermal solar panels
3) Thermodynamic solar panels (or concentrating solar panels)
Now let's see in detail what are the characteristics of these three types of solar panels.
1) Photovoltaic solar panels they use solar cells to convert the sun's heat into electricity for household use. This process takes place thanks to the properties of silicon (of which solar cells are composed) capable of producing electricity when irradiated by the sun.
A photovoltaic panel system to be installed on the roof of your home can cost around 10,000 euros, a cost that is still high considering the years required to amortize the initial investment. This period could, however, be shortened when the individual plants can be easily connected to the national electricity grid, introducing energy and generating revenues for the owner.
2) Thermal solar panels they are made and installed to convert solar energy into thermal energy (heat). Thermal panels DO NOT produce electricity unlike photovoltaic panels.
The purpose of a solar thermal panel is therefore to produce hot water which can then be used for washing, cooking, washing dishes or to heat a home, by making the water flow in pipes arranged in the walls or under the floor.
The cost of building a solar thermal panel system varies from 3,000 to 9,000 euros with a payback period that varies between 5 and 10 years.
3) The thermodynamic solar panels they are used to produce energy within a concentrating solar plant. Thermodynamic solar panels are essentially parabolic mirrors capable of concentrating the sun's energy towards a collector inside which a heat-carrying liquid flows. This liquid whose temperature can reach up to 600 degrees thus allows the generation of steam and energy also suitable for industrial use.
To produce energy in this way it is therefore necessary to have a large surface on which to place the thermodynamic solar panels.
LOOK: images of the different types of solar panels.
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