Photovoltaic installations

  • Solar power
  • Solar power

Energy is an essential resource for the development of a society. But the increasing demand of energy is leading to the promotion of renewable energies, such as solar, wind power, or water energy.

Photovoltaic installations transform the solar radiation into electricity. A photovoltaic system uses solar panels composed of a number of solar cells to supply usable electric power.

There are two main types of photovoltaic installations, stand-alone and grid-tied. The stand-alone installations are especially useful for rural areas. The main difference between them are their components. A stand-alone will need a controller, whereas a photovoltaic system tied to the grid needs equipment to measure the energy produced and sent back to the public grid.

Solar cells are usually made of silicon, which is a semiconductive material. The cells absorb some of the photons of sunlight and the photons’ energy is transferred to electrons in the semiconductor material. With the energy from the photons, electrons can escape its usual position in the semiconductor atom to become part of the current in an electrical circuit.

The solar cells collect the rays of the sun and convert solar radiation into direct current, which is also converted into alternating current by a piece of equipment called inverter. Connected to the inverter is another device for measuring the electricity produced by the photovoltaic system. Generated electricity may then be reimbursed by the electricity supplier.

To use the energy from the array, we also need other components, such as inverters, charge controllers and batteries. There are two basic categories of PV (photovoltaic) panels: crystalline silicon or thin-film. The charge controller is needed to prevent batteries from overcharging and it prolongs the battery life. The inverter converts the direct current (DC) output of the PV panels into alternating current (AC) for AC appliances, or to be fed into a commercial electrical grid. Batteries store energy for supplying electrical appliances.

Storyline

A client’s WiFi coverage is poor. Connections are only present in the living room. Sometimes the WiFi connections drops unexpectedly for no reason. He got frustrated and contacted Bill and Jordi for a quick solution.

Client: I have a problem, my WiFi connection is so poor! What could be the problem?

Jordi: I guess it’s caused by radio signal interference.

Bill: What do you think could cause interferences?

Jordi: Radio signals from electronic devices can interfere with your wi-fi wireless network signals.

Client: What kind of devices? I have a lot here in the house.

Bill: For example, cordless phones, bluetooth devices or microwave ovens can kill your wi-fi network connection when they are switched on.

Client: What’s the solution?

Jordi: First of all, we’ll start by troubleshooting, by moving your router network equipment to another location, to see if the interference will be eliminated.

Vocabulary

  • Resource: recurs
  • Increasing demand: demanda creixent
  • Renewable energies: energies renovables
  • Wind power: energia eòlica
  • Stand-alone: aïllat
  • Grid-tied: connectat a la xarxa elèctrica
  • Public grid: xarxa pública
  • Sunlight: llum del sol
  • Inverter: inversor
  • Electricity supplier: subministrador d’electricitat (companyia elèctrica)
  • Array: conjunt de plaques solars
  • Overcharging: sobrecàrrega
  • Electric grid: xarxa elèctrica
  • Store: emmagatzemar
  • Appliance: aparell (electrodomèstic)
  • Coverage: cobertura
  • Connection drops: es perd la connexió
  • Interference: interferència
  • Device: dispositiu
  • Cordless phone: telèfon inalàmbric
  • Microwave oven forn microones
  • Troubleshooting: solucionar problemes

Grammar

In English there is not a specific verb tense to express the future (like the present simple or the past simple). We can speak about the future with the modal verb will or with the expression be going to. There is a clear difference between the future with will and the future with be going to. In general, will is used to express something that we know, or think, that will happen in the future and be going to is used to express something that we have already planned or decided to do. Sometimes, we can also speak about the future with the present continuous or the present simple.

Future actions: 'will'

See grammar section in Unit 2 section 3 for the conjugation of will and further information about the modal verbs.

A very common way of expressing the future is with the modal verb will. The table shows the forms and uses of the future with will.

Taula: Conjugation of the future with will (work)
Affirmative
Long form
Affirmative
Short form
Negative
Long form

Negative
Short form
Interrogative
I will work ‘ll work will not work won’t work Will I work…?
You will work ‘ll work will not work won’t work Will you work…?
He/She/It will work ‘ll work will not work won’t work Will he work…?
We will work ‘ll work will not work won’t work Will we work…?
You will work ‘ll work will not work won’t work Will you work…?
They will work ‘ll work will not work won’t work Will they work…?

We use will:

1) To speak about future actions which do not depend on our will (Cat. voluntat):

  • It will rain all the week (Cat. Plourà tota la setmana).
  • Mrs Green will give a speech during tomorrow’s meal (Cat. La Sra Green farà un discurs durant el dinar de demà).
  • Will you come to work at the weekend? (Cat. Vindràs a treballar el cap de setmana?).
  • I will be 65 next year (Cat. Faré 65 anys l’any que ve).

2) To make predictions for the future:

  • One day, we will work from home (Cat. Un dia treballarem des de casa).
  • The offices will close down (Cat. Les oficines es tancaran).
  • I think that I will talk to Mr Harris (Cat. Crec que parlaré amb el Sr Harris).
  • I’m sure that you will get well very soon (Cat. Estic segur que et recuperaràs molt aviat).

Predictions

To make a prediction means to say what you think will happen in the future. For this reason, many predictions begin with expressions like:

  • I think that… (Cat. Crec que…)
  • I’m sure that… (Cat. Estic segur que…)
  • I’m convinced that… (Cat. Estic convençut que…)
  • I believe that… (Cat. Crec que…)
  • I guess that… (Cat. M’imagino/Suposo que…)

When we use any of these expressions, we must use will. For example:

  • I think that I will stay at home tonight (Cat. Crec que em quedaré a casa aquesta nit).
  • I’m convinced that everything will get better (Cat. Estic convençut que tot anirà millor).
  • I guess I will have to go, won’t I? (Cat. Suposo que hauré de marxar, oi que sí?).

3) To make requests, offers and promises:

  • Will you please come immediately? (a request) (Cat. Pots venir de seguida si us plau?).
  • Don’t worry your English. I will speak to Mr Thomson (an offer) (Cat. No et preocupis pel teu anglès. Ja parlaré jo amb el Sr Thomas).
  • I won’t help you again (a promise) (Cat. No et tornaré a ajudar).

See grammar section in section 3 of this unit for further information about the conditional sentences.

4) To express a conditional sentence:

  • If you write a good CV, you will find a job (Cat. Si redactes un bon currículum, trobaràs una feina).
  • If you learn English, you will have more opportunities (Cat. Si aprens anglès, tindràs més oportiunitats).
  • If we have a meeting this evening, I won’t be able to go (Cat. Si tenim una reunió aquest vespre, jo no podré anar-hi).

Plans and intentions: 'be going to'

Here are the forms of the future with be going to:

Taula: Conjugation of the past continuous (work)
Affirmative
Long form
Affirmative
Short form
Negative
Long form
Negative
Short form
Interrogative
I am going to work ‘m going to work am not going to work ‘m not going to work am I going to work…?
you are going to work ‘re going to work are not going to work aren’t going to work are you going to work…?
he/she/it is going to work ‘s going to work is not going to work isn’t going to work is he going to work…?
we are going to work ‘re going to work are not going to work aren’t going to work are we going to work…?
you are going to work ‘re going to work are not going to work aren’t going to work are you going to work…?
they are going to work ‘re going to work are not going to work aren’t going to work are they going to work…?

We use be going to in these cases:

1) To express a future event which is planned or decided:

When we conjugate the verb go in the be going to-form, we usually eliminate the infinitive. We can say: I’m going to go to work, but we usually say: I’m going to work.

  • I am going to join an international organization (Cat. M’apuntaré a una organització internacional).
  • He is going to look for a job (Cat. Buscarà feina).
  • We are going to take this woman to hospital (Cat. Anem a portar aquesta dona a l’hospital).
  • They are going to (go to) France next year (Cat. L’any que ve aniran a França).

2) To express an event in the near future based on a present evidence:

  • Look at his face! He is going to explode (Cat. Fixa’t en la seva cara! Està a punt d’explotar).
  • You’re working too much. You are going to fall ill (Cat. Treballes massa. Et posaràs malalt).

Other ways of expressing the future

Sometimes, we can express plans and intentions with the present continuous tense. In this case, the context must clearly indicate that we are speaking about the future. For example:

  • I am attending an international fair next year (Cat. L’any que ve aniré a una fira internacional).
  • He is working until 11 tonight (Cat. Aquesta nit treballa fins a les 11).
  • We must go. We are taking a bus in three minutes (Cat. Hem de marxar. D’aquí a tres minuts agafem un autobús).

When we speak of events in timetables, schedules, etc., we can use the present simple to speak about future events, just as we do in Spanish or Catalan. Again, it is necessary to include a time adverbial referring to the future. For example:

  • My train leaves at four tomorrow (Cat. El meu tren surt a les quatre demà).
  • We start at 10 next Monday, don’t we? (Cat. El dilluns que ve comencem a les 10, no?).

Adverbs and adverbials of time used with the future forms

Some adverbs and time expressions that we normally use with the future tenses are:

  • Tomorrow (Cat. demà)
  • The day after tomorrow (Cat. demà passat)
  • Next week/month/year, etc. (Cat. la setmana que ve, el mes que ve, l’any que ve, etc.)
  • In the future (Cat. en el futur)
  • Tonight (Cat. aquesta nit)
  • This evening, etc. (Cat. aquest vespre, etc.)
  • One day (Cat. un dia)
  • In a moment (Cat. d’aquí a un moment)

We can place these adverbs and adverbials at the end or at the beginning of the sentence, so we can say:

  • I will tell you tomorrow.
  • Tomorrow I will tell you.

When we place the adverb at the beginning, we emphasize the time; when we place it at the end, we emphasize the action.

Communication

In our daily and working lives, we very often need to follow instructions to do some specific things. Many products come with a manual, which contains the instructions to operate, instal or assemble (Cat. muntar) a product or a device. Sometimes we may also need to give instructions. For example, we can give instructions to teach how to operate a machine, when we give someone a recipe (Cat. recepta de cuina) or when we need someone to behave in a specific way.

Giving directions (Cat. donar indicacions) is a very common example of instructions. We give directions when we want someone to find or go to a specific place. To give directions, we need to use specific words and expressions.

Giving instructions

The most common way of giving instructions is with the imperative (Cat. imperatiu) form of the verb.

The imperative

The imperative is used to give orders and instructions. These are the characteristics of this form:

  • It is the same as the base form of the verb (work!).
  • The imperative sentences do not have a subject (the implicit subject is you, but we never say it).
  • The negative form is with do not (don’t) in front of the verb (don’t work).
  • In writing, we normally write an exclamation mark (!) at the end of the sentence.

Here are some examples with the imperative form::

  • Go! (Cat. vés-te’n! / aneu-vos-en / vagi-se’n! / vagin-se’n!).
  • Don’t smoke! (Cat. no fumis! / no fumeu! / no fumi! / no fumin!).

In the following example, we give instructions to write and send an e-mail. The imperative forms are in bold type (Cat. negreta).

Giving instructions (verbs)

First of all, locate your e-mail program (Outlook, G-Mail, Thunderbird, etc.) in your computer. Click on the icon to run the program and a text editor will appear. Type the receiver’s address in the word field called “To…” and next type the subject of your message in the corresponding field. After this, write the text of your message in the text editor. When you finish, review the spelling and check any mistakes. Finally, click on the button “Send” and the message will reach its destination in a few seconds.

See Unit 1, section 2 ‘Communication’ for more information about connectors.

In oral instructions, we should also use the appropriate connectors, especially the connectors that are used to list ideas. Notice the connectors in the text (in bold type):

Giving instructions (connectors)

First of all, locate your e-mail program (Outlook, G-Mail, Thunderbird, etc.) in your computer. Click on the icon to run the program and a text editor will appear. Type the receiver’s address in the word field called ‘To…’ and next type the subject of your message in the corresponding field. After this, write the text of your message in the text editor. When you finish, review the spelling and check the text for possible mistakes. Finally, click on the button ‘Send’ and the message will reach its destination in a few seconds.

In written instructions, we can write the sentences in a list:

Written instructions

To write and send an e-mail:

  1. Locate your e-mail program (Outlook, G-Mail, Thunderbird, etc.) in your computer.
  2. Click on the icon to run the program and a text editor will appear.
  3. Type the receiver’s address in the word field called ‘To…’.
  4. Type the subject of your message in the corresponding field.
  5. Write the text of your message in the text editor.
  6. Review the spelling and check the text for possible mistakes.
  7. Click on the button ‘Send’.

Sometimes, the other person may interpret the instructions as orders, especially if we use the wrong tone of voice (remember that the imperative is used to give orders and instructions). To avoid misinterpretations, we can use the modal verbs should or can to give instructions.

The use of the modal verb must is not appropriate to give instructions. This verb expresses ‘obligation’ and instructions are not obligatory. However, we can use must to give orders because orders are obligatory.

In the following text, we have used modal verbs to give instructions (modal verbs are in bold type):

Giving instructions (with modal verbs)

First of all, you should locate your e-mail program (Outlook, G-Mail, Thunderbird, etc.) in your computer. Then you should click on the icon to run the program and a text editor will appear. Now you can type the receiver’s address in the word field called ‘To…’ and the subject of your message in the corresponding field. After this, you can write the text of your message in the text editor. When you finish, you should review the spelling and check the text for possible mistakes. Finally, you should click on the button ‘Send’ and the message will reach its destination in a few seconds.

Giving directions

Giving directions means to explain someone the way to a certain place. We can ask for directions with these questions:

  • How can I go to…? (Cat. Com puc anar a…?)
  • Can you tell me the way to…? (Cat. Em pot indicar el camí per anar a…?)

Directions, direction and address

These three words are sometimes confusing, especially for a Spanish speaker. Mistakes in their use are common. Here is the difference:

  • Directions (Cat. orientacions, indicacions): always in plural; a synonym of ‘instructions’ (for example: I’ll give you directions to do the exam).
  • Direction (Cat. direcció): the term refers to a course taken in relation to a reference point (for example: We’re going in the wrong direction).
  • Address (Cat. adreça): the place where a building is located (for example: my address is 23, Green St.).

Some verbs commonly used to give directions are:

  • Walk (Cat. caminar)
  • Turn (Cat. girar)
  • Take (Cat. prendre, agafar)
  • Go along (Cat. anar per)
  • Go across (Cat. travessar)
  • Go past (Cat. passa per davant de)

Here are some expressions for giving directions:

  • Turn (first/second…) left/right (Cat. Gira pel [primer/segon…] carrer a l’esquerra/dreta).
  • Turn left/right at the traffic lights (Cat. Gira a l’esquerra/dreta quan arribis al semàfor).
  • Turn left/right into Green St. (Cat. Gira a l’esquerra/dreta per Green St.).
  • Go straight ahead/on (Cat. Ves recte).
  • Go along this street (Cat. Ves per aquest carrer).
  • Go across Green St. (Cat. Travessa Green St.).
  • You will go past a bank (Cat. Passaràs per un banc).
  • Take the (first/second…) street on the left/right (Cat. Agafa el [primer/segon…] carrer a l’esquerra/dreta).

The expressions go straight ahead and go along are often confused:

  • Straight ahead is an adverb that indicates the direction of the movement: we must not say the name of the street with this expression. It is wrong to say: Go straight ahead Green St. and turn left. We must say: Go straight ahead and turn left.
  • Along is a preposition, so we must use a noun. It is wrong to say: Go along and turn left. We must say: Go along Green St. and turn left.

To give directions, we must be as clear as possible. The sentences must be short and very simple, so do not give long and detailed information. The words and expressions must be appropriate to the context. The normal pattern is: first, explain the way to the place; next, say the exact location by using the appropriate prepositions and reference points (for example: opposite a park). We generally use the imperative form or the modal verb should (but not must, for the reason explained in the side note in this section). We can combine the imperative with the future form (with will): you will go past a bank, you will see a park, etc.

A frequent mistake when giving directions is the wrong use of the preposition until (Cat. fins a). This is a preposition of time, so it is wrong to say: until the traffic lights. We must say: until you come to the traffic lights.

Indicating the location

When we say the name of the street, we do not include the article the. It is wrong to say: Go along the Green St. or It is in the Green St., but we can use the article when the name is ‘Main St.’: Go along the Main St., It is in the Main St..

To give directions, it is sometimes useful to indicate the location of buildings and other reference points. To indicate the location, we must use the appropriate prepositions of place. Here are some useful expressions:

  • On the left/right (Cat. A l’esquerra/dreta)
  • In Green St. (Cat. A Green St.)
  • On the corner of Green St. and Oak St. (Cat. A la cantonada de Green St. i Oak St.)
  • Next to a hotel (Cat. Al costat d’un hotel)
  • Opposite the park (Cat. Davant del park)
  • Across the street (Cat. A l’altra banda del carrer)
  • Between the bookshop and a bank (Cat. Entre la llibreria i un banc)
  • Around the corner (Cat. al girar la cantonada)

The names of the streets

In the written form (for example, in maps and addresses), we may find the following abbreviations:

  • St. : street
  • Rd. : road
  • Sq. : square
  • Ave. : avenue
  • Blvd. : boulevard

These abbreviations are always placed after the proper name: Green St., Central Sq., etc.

In the following dialogue, one person is giving directions (see map for reference):

Figura Map
Map

Giving directions:

A: Excuse me, how can I go to the restaurant?

B: The restaurant? Well, go along this street and turn second left. That’s Green Street. Go straight ahead, cross Oak Street and then turn right into the Main Street. Go past a church on the right and the restaurant is right there, next to the church.

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