In 1897, Frank Shuman, a U.S. inventor, engineer and solar energy pioneer, built a small demonstration solar engine that worked by reflecting solar energy onto square boxes filled with ether, which has a lower boiling point than water, and were fitted internally with black pipes which in turn powered a steam engine. In 1908 Shuman formed the Sun Power Company with the intent of building larger solar power plants. He, along with his technical advisor A.S.E. Ackermann and British physicist Sir Charles Vernon Boys, developed an improved system using mirrors to reflect solar energy upon collector boxes, increasing heating capacity to the extent that water could now be used instead of ether. Shuman then constructed a full-scale steam engine powered by low-pressure water, enabling him to patent the entire solar engine system by 1912.
There are many large wind farms under construction and these include BARD Offshore 1 (400 MW), Clyde Wind Farm (350 MW), Greater Gabbard wind farm (500 MW), Lincs Wind Farm (270 MW), London Array (1000 MW), Lower Snake River Wind Project (343 MW), Macarthur https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=qOap1A9um3E Farm (420 MW), Shepherds Flat Wind Farm (845 MW), and Sheringham Shoal (317 MW).
By lowering a building’s utility bills, these systems not only pay for themselves over time, they help reduce air pollution caused by utility companies. For example, solar power systems help increase something called “peak load generating capacity,” thereby saving the utility from turning on expensive and polluting supplemental systems during periods of peak demand. The more local-generating solar electric power systems that are installed in a given utility’s service area, the less capacity the utility needs to build, thus saving everyone from funding costly additional power generating sources. Contributing clean, green power from your own solar electric system helps create jobs and is a great way to mitigate the pollution and other problems produced by electricity derived from fossil fuel. Solar-powered electrical generating systems help you reduce your impact on the environment and save money at the same time!
In 1975, the first practical solar boat was constructed in England. By 1995, passenger boats incorporating PV panels began appearing and are now used extensively. In 1996, Kenichi Horie made the first solar-powered crossing of the Pacific Ocean, and the Sun21 catamaran made the first solar-powered crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in the winter of 2006–2007. There were plans to circumnavigate the globe in 2010.
Mining these detailed forecasts to develop a more flexible and efficient electricity system could make it much cheaper to hit ambitious international goals for reducing carbon emissions, says Bryan Hannegan, director of a $135 million facility at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, that uses supercomputer simulations to develop ways to scale up renewable power. “We’ve got a line of sight to where we want to go in the long term with our energy and environment goals,” he says. “That’s not something we’ve been able to say before.”
Solar energy is a flexible energy technology: solar power plants can be built as distributed generation (located at or near the point of use) or as a central-station, utility-scale solar power plant (similar to traditional power plants). Some utility-scale solar plants can store the energy they produce for use after the sun sets.
Blackout (Rolling blackout) Brownout Demand response Distributed generation Dynamic demand Electric power distribution Electric power system Electric power transmission Electrical grid High-voltage direct current Load management Mains electricity by country Power line Power station Power storage Pumped hydro Smart grid Substation Super grid Transformer Transmission system operator (TSO) Transmission tower Utility pole
A parabolic trough collector has a long parabolic-shaped reflector that focuses the sun’s rays on a receiver pipe located at the focus of the parabola. The collector tilts with the sun to keep sunlight focused on the receiver as the sun moves from east to west during the day.
Compared with fossil fuel technologies, which are typically mechanized and capital intensive, the renewable energy industry is more labor intensive. Solar panels need humans to install them; wind farms need technicians for maintenance.
Research is also undertaken in this field of artificial photosynthesis. It involves the use of nanotechnology to store solar electromagnetic energy in chemical bonds, by splitting water to produce hydrogen fuel or then combining with carbon dioxide to make biopolymers such as methanol. Many large national and regional research projects on artificial photosynthesis are now trying to develop techniques integrating improved light capture, quantum coherence methods of electron transfer and cheap catalytic materials that operate under a variety of atmospheric conditions. Senior researchers in the field have made the public policy case for a Global Project on Artificial Photosynthesis to address critical energy security and environmental sustainability issues.
A solar balloon is a black balloon that is filled with ordinary air. As sunlight shines on the balloon, the air inside is heated and expands causing an upward buoyancy force, much like an artificially heated hot air balloon. Some solar balloons are large enough for human flight, but usage is generally limited to the toy market as the surface-area to payload-weight ratio is relatively high.
Considering that “the first practical solar cells were made less than 30 years ago,” we have come a long way.The profligation of solar professional companies designing unique and specific solar power systems for individual homes, means there is no longer an excuse not to consider solar power for your home. The biggest jumps in efficiency came “with the advent of the transistor and accompanying semiconductor technology.” The production cost has fallen to nearly 1/300 of what it was during the space program of the mid-century and the purchase cost has gone from $200 per watt in the 1950s to a possible mere $1 per watt today. The efficiency has increased dramatically to 40.8% the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab’s new world record as of August 2008.
Millions of houses and buildings around the world have PV systems on their roofs. Many multi-megawatt PV power plants have also been built. Covering 4% of the world’s desert areas with photovoltaics could supply the equivalent of all of the world’s daily electricity use.
A few years ago, dispatchers like Jones couldn’t trust forecasts of how much wind power would be available to the grid at a given time. Those forecasts were typically off by 20 percent, and sometimes wind power completely failed to materialize when predicted. The solution was to have fossil-fuel plants idling, ready to replace all of that wind power in a few minutes. This approach is expensive, and the more the system is intended to rely on wind power, the more expensive it gets. What’s more, running the backup fossil-fuel plants means you’re “throwing carbon up into the sky,” says William Mahoney, deputy director of the Research Applications Laboratory at NCAR. “It costs money, and it’s bad for the environment.”
In 2010, Helgesen won a Skoll Scholarship to Oxford, for M.B.A. students seeking “entrepreneurial solutions for urgent social and environmental challenges,” and spent the year researching the renewables market. He found two like-minded business partners, and, in 2012, they set up shop in Arusha. At first, they planned to build solar microgrids to power cell-phone towers and sell the excess electricity to locals, but, Helgesen said, “it became clear that that was a pretty expensive way to go.” So they visited customers in their homes to ask them what they wanted. “Those conversations were the smartest thing we ever did,” Helgesen said. “I remember this one customer, she had a baby, and she would keep the kerosene lamp on low all night, as a night-light. It was costing thirty dollars a month in kerosene. And I was, like, Wow, for thirty dollars a month I could do a lot better.”
Solar Cells (or Photovoltaic Cell) (PV) A device that produces an electric reaction to light, thereby producing electricity Solar cells are the electrical building blocks for solar panels. The blue or black squares are silicon cells producing about 0.5 volts of DC electricity each.
Businesses are asking how much attention they should be paying to blockchain now and what the opportunities are for this crypto-technology in the future. In this podcast episode, Dan Wellers, Global Lead for Digital Futures for SAP, ventures into the coming possibilities of blockchain for renewables and the entire e…
The overall transformation is a multielectron process promoted by photocatalyst and light. Elucidation of the fundamental principles of single electron-transfer reactions represented such an important milestone in chemistry that two Nobel Prizes were awarded for such work (15, 16). Although dramatic advances have occurred in our understanding of single electron-transfer reactions, especially those in biology (17), a similar level of understanding of multielectron redox reactions has yet to be realized. Moreover, to ensure charge neutrality in the system, proton transfer must accompany electron transfer (i.e., proton-coupled electron transfer; ref. 18); hence, electron and proton inventories both need to be managed (19). Water splitting additionally presents sizable thermodynamic and kinetics barriers to making and breaking the bonds required to facilitate the desired chemical reactions. This is especially pertinent to the water-splitting problem, because the byproduct of water activation at the catalyst, whether molecular or solid, will invariably yield species that have strong metal–oxygen bonds. To close a catalytic cycle, these stable bonds need to be activated by the captured solar energy either directly or indirectly. More generally, the activation of all small molecules of consequence to carbon-neutral solar energy storage, including CO2, O2, and H2O, share the reaction commonalities of bond-making and -breaking processes that require multielectron transfers coupled to proton transfer.
Wind power is widely used in Europe, China, and the United States. From 2004 to 2014, worldwide installed capacity of wind power has been growing from 47 GW to 369 GW—a more than sevenfold increase within 10 years with 2014 breaking a new record in global installations (51 GW). As of the end of 2014, China, the United States and Germany combined accounted for half of total global capacity. Several other countries have achieved relatively high levels of wind power penetration, such as 21% of stationary electricity production in Denmark, 18% in Portugal, 16% in Spain, and 14% in Ireland in 2010 and have since continued to expand their installed capacity. More than 80 countries around the world are using wind power on a commercial basis.
Ballasted footing mounts, such as concrete or steel bases that use weight to secure the solar module system in position and do not require ground penetration. This type of mounting system is well suited for sites where excavation is not possible such as capped landfills and simplifies decommissioning or relocation of solar module systems.
“This is how the solar revolution happens—one hot sales meeting at a time,” Off-Grid’s Kim Schreiber whispered to me as we watched one of the company’s salesmen, an Ivorian named Seko Serge Lewis, at work. We were visiting the village of Grand Zattry with Off-Grid’s Ivory Coast sales director, Max-Marc Fossouo. A couple of dogs tussled nearby; a motorbike rolled past with six people on board. In the courtyard next to us, a woman was doing the day’s laundry in a bucket with a washboard. Her husband listened to the sales pitch from Lewis, who was showing him pictures on his cell phone of other customers in the village.