Last Updated on October 23, 2023 by Kevin Chen
Image source Freepik
Renewables are playing a big role in moving the world towards the clean energy solutions. Over the years, there has been a growing dependence on renewable energy sources for the generation of electricity. According to the statistics on renewable energy, there was a rise in the use of renewable energy in 2022 by 8%. It was also reported that in 2020, renewable energy was credited for providing the world with 30% of electricity. It is also credited for causing a steep decline in the price of electricity over the past decade.
Examples of renewable energy sources include solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, bioenergy, and hydropower among others.
Data and statistics aside, there are several factors that are credited for the rising popularity of renewable energy. One of them is the advancement of the semiconductor technology. This is where the relevance of transistors comes in.
Transistors are semiconductor electronic components that are known for their switching and amplification roles in different electronic applications. These two key properties or functionalities make transistors relevant in the world of renewable energy. In this article, we are going to discuss various ways in which transistors are used in the renewable energy industry.
Responsive power devices
We know the rapid-switching property of transistors in electronic applications. When millions of microscopic transistors are embedded in a device, they will make it more responsive to the changes in an electric circuit. The speed is mainly used for performing digital and logical operations in renewable energy systems.
The switching speed is also vital in the implementation of the physical circuits that are used in the renewable energy systems. It ensures that the components and the devices are activated fast or within a short time.
When viewed from the angle of logical operations, the switching functionality minimizes power or energy consumption in electric circuits. It also expands the capacity of devices that rely on the clean energy.
Efficient use of electricity
Transistors have brought about efficient consumption of electric energy, a factor that directly affects the reliability of renewable energy. One way of achieving this efficiency is by matching the power supply based on the demand. This means that when the demand for energy is low, transistors will be able to detect and switch off the power supply systems.
A perfect example is the implementation of smart grids in which the supply and distribution of energy is fully based on demand. If the smart grid is relying on renewable energy sources, it means that there will be minimal wastage of energy. The smart grid also makes it possible to monitor energy consumption remotely, a key factor that contributes to energy efficiency.
One of the ways in which transistors improve the energy efficiency of renewable energy sources is through Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) which is sometimes referred to as power point tracking (PPT). This is an electric mechanism that entails maximum extraction of energy from solar panels-one of the most popular components of the renewable energy.
Energy storage solutions in renewable energy
This is another area of renewable energy impacted by the transistors. The electric energy that is generated by various renewable sources needs to be stored for future use. Since transistors affect the flow of electric current, they play a direct role in the charging process of the batteries. They ensure that the generated electric charges go straight to the batteries where they are stored.
Various energy storage solutions in renewable energy that are backed by transistors include Lithium-ion batteries, Flywheel energy storage, fuel cells, and Flow batteries. As the energy storage solutions keep getting better, the popularity of renewable energy has been on an upward trajectory.
Transistors in power inverters
After the energy has been generated by renewable power sources, it needs to be converted into a form that can be used by various electric devices and appliances. The same rule applies when you need to store the energy in batteries. Such functions are usually performed by power inverters. They convert the electric energy from DC/AC, AC/DC and DC/DC depending on the application area.
Inverters are used in all types of renewable energy sources. They facilitate a smooth conversion of electric energy from one form to another. Transistors are the brains behind the working and operation of the inverters. Since the conversion is quite an energy-intensive activity, the use of transistors helps to minimize heat dissipation during the conversion. The small size of transistors has made it possible to achieve compact inverters.
Transistors for integration with grid
In most modern energy systems, renewable energy sources are designed to work with the main grid. In case of a failure of one of the energy sources, another one will take over. For instance, if the solar energy is not supplying sufficient power, the main grid will be used, and the reverse is true.
Grid integration is achieved with the help of various electronic components, most of which rely on the working and operation of transistors. Sensors are among these devices and are used for collecting data on both sides of the energy sources. We know that sensors are embedded with many transistors.
The switching from a renewable energy source to a main grid is not only automated but is also executed fast. This is where the importance of rapid switching speed of transistors comes in. Rapid switching helps to prevent any delays and interreference when moving from the renewable energy source to the main grid and vice versa.
Many factors have contributed to the current state of the renewable energy. The world is fully embracing clean energy, and at the same time, there is a constant push to shift from the use of the traditional source of energy.
As we have seen transistors are playing critical roles in every aspect of the renewable energy industry. They are used at the points of energy generation, storage, transmission, and even consumption.
Are you building a renewable energy solution? Transistors are among the discrete electronic components that you should buy.
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