Much of Sofren’s renewable energy expertise is focused on solar energy. The expertise of Sofren’s teams covers all those technologies involved – solar thermal, solar thermodynamics, solar photovoltaics.
Solar thermal energy uses heat from the sun’s rays directly, for example for heating water or premises. When the heat is used for another purpose it is also used indirectly– for example in sea water desalination plants. It operates by means of thermal sensors – the principle consists of absorbing solar photons and converting them into heat. This heat is then transmitted via a liquid or a gas to a heat storage tank.
Solar thermodynamics is a variation on solar thermal energy, which turns the thermal energy into electricity. The principle of this method is identical to that of a conventional power plant: the steam or high pressure gas produced is converted into electricity.
Photovoltaic solar energy is the electricity produced by converting a portion of the sun’s rays in a solar cell made from semiconductor materials such as silicon. On a large scale, these solar cells are grouped to form a solar panel. Unlike solar thermal energy, it is a process that is based on the sun’s rays and not on the heat emitted by the sun. The energy produced by solar radiation is a continuous current that can power a device, charge a battery, and at higher levels can be fed into an electricity distribution network.
Sofren operates in both sectors, on both the French and international markets, with an approach similar to that developed in the wind industry, in terms of skills: