SACRAMENTO, Calif. and WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 20, 2018) – The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) commended legislation filed in the California Legislature on Friday that would make it easier for businesses, schools, nonprofits and municipalities to access solar energy.
The Global Wind Energy Council released its annual market statistics last week in Brussels. The 2017 market remained above 50 GW, with Europe, India and the offshore sector having record years. Chinese installations were down slightly—‘only’ 19.5 GW—but the rest of the world made up for most of that. Total installat…
The primary obstacle that is preventing the large scale implementation of solar powered energy generation is the inefficiency of current solar technology. Currently, photovoltaic (PV) panels only have the ability to convert around 24% of the sunlight that hits them into electricity. At this rate, solar energy still holds many challenges for widespread implementation, but steady progress has been made in reducing manufacturing cost and increasing photovoltaic efficiency. Both Sandia National Laboratories and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), have heavily funded solar research programs. The NREL solar program has a budget of around $75 million  and develops research projects in the areas of photovoltaic (PV) technology, solar thermal energy, and solar radiation. The budget for Sandia’s solar division is unknown, however it accounts for a significant percentage of the laboratory’s $2.4 billion budget. Several academic programs have focused on solar research in recent years. The Solar Energy Research Center (SERC) at University of North Carolina (UNC) has the sole purpose of developing cost effective solar technology. In 2008, researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) developed a method to store solar energy by using it to produce hydrogen fuel from water. Such research is targeted at addressing the obstacle that solar development faces of storing energy for use during nighttime hours when the sun is not shining. In February 2012, North Carolina-based Semprius Inc., a solar development company backed by German corporation Siemens, announced that they had developed the world’s most efficient solar panel. The company claims that the prototype converts 33.9% of the sunlight that hits it to electricity, more than double the previous high-end conversion rate. Major projects on artificial photosynthesis or solar fuels are also under way in many developed nations.
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In rigid thin-film modules, the cell and the module solar power manufactured in the same production line. The cell is created on a glass substrate or superstrate, and the electrical connections are created in situ, a so-called “monolithic integration”. The substrate or superstrate is laminated with an encapsulant to a front or back sheet, usually another sheet of glass. The main cell technologies in this category are CdTe, or a-Si, or a-Si+uc-Si tandem, or CIGS (or variant). Amorphous silicon has a sunlight conversion rate of 6–12%
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A solar cell, or photovoltaic cell (PV), is a device that converts light into electric current using the photovoltaic effect. The first solar cell was constructed by Charles Fritts in the 1880s. The German industrialist Ernst Werner von Siemens was among those who recognized the importance of this discovery. In 1931, the German engineer Bruno Lange developed a photo cell using silver selenide in place of copper oxide, although the prototype selenium cells converted less than 1% of incident light into electricity. Following the work of Russell Ohl in the 1940s, researchers Gerald Pearson, Calvin Fuller and Daryl Chapin created the silicon solar cell in 1954. These early solar cells cost 286 USD/watt and reached efficiencies of 4.5–6%.
May 16, 2017 — A 54 percent majority of US adults believe that ‘government regulations are necessary to encourage businesses and consumers to rely more on renewable energy sources,’ while 38 percent … read more
Photovoltaics (PV) uses solar cells assembled into solar panels to convert sunlight into electricity. It’s a fast-growing technology doubling its worldwide installed capacity every couple of years. PV systems range from small, residential and commercial rooftop or building integrated installations, to large utility-scale photovoltaic power station. The predominant PV technology is crystalline silicon, while thin-film solar cell technology accounts for about 10 percent of global photovoltaic deployment. In recent years, PV technology has improved its electricity generating efficiency, reduced the installation cost per watt as well as its energy payback time, and has reached grid parity in at least 30 different markets by 2014. Financial institutions are predicting a second solar “gold rush” in the near future.
Utilities have repeatedly said yes. State regulators have agreed until now, approving almost all proposals for new power plants. But this month, citing the growing electricity surplus, regulators announced plans to put on hold the earlier approvals of four of the eight plants to determine if they really are needed.
The sun has a unique role in sustainable energy production, in that it is the undisputed champion of energy; the resource base presented by terrestrial insolation far exceeds that of all other renewable energy sources combined. The solar energy resource additionally far exceeds what can possibly be envisioned as a level of human consumption necessary to support even the most technologically advanced society. However, to be a material contribution to primary energy supply, solar energy must be captured, converted, and stored to overcome the diurnal cycle and the intermittency of the terrestrial solar resource. Arguably the most attractive method for this energy conversion and storage is in the form of chemical bonds, by production of cheap solar fuels. Significant advances in basic science, however, are needed for this technology to attain its full potential. Chemistry will assume a special role in this endeavor, because new materials must be created for solar capture and conversion, and because new catalysts are needed for the desired chemical bond conversions. Here we present a blueprint for a reaction chemistry, when interfaced to a charge-separation structure, that permits artificial photosynthesis to be envisioned. The progress of scientists in chemistry, biology, engineering, materials science, and physics in addressing the basic science challenges involved with realizing this artificial photosynthesis will be critical to enable humans to use the sun sustainably as their primary energy source.
Using data from Electric Power Annual 2014 the expected changes in generating capabilities for different fuel sources is shown in the chart-2015-2019 Electric Power Annual Capacity Projections. Looking only at the renewable fuel sources, a total of 206.2 Gigawatts of renewable would be available by 2019. This is up 36 Gigawatts (+21.1%) from 2014. Using this generating capability and the capacity factors from 2014 data will result in a total of 627.7 terawatt-hours (TWh) of renewable electric energy in 2019. This would be up 89.4 TWh (+16.7%) from 2014.
Jump up ^ Timmer, John (25 September 2013). “Cost of renewable energy’s variability is dwarfed by the savings: Wear and tear on equipment costs millions, but fuel savings are worth billions”. Ars Technica. Condé Nast. Retrieved 26 September 2013.