Dec. 8, 2015 — Analysts are providing, for the first time, a method for measuring the economic potential of renewable energy across the United States. A study applying this new method found that renewable energy … read more
Concentrating solar power plants with wet-cooling systems, on the other hand, have the highest water-consumption intensities of any conventional type of electric power plant; only fossil-fuel plants with carbon-capture and storage may have higher water intensities. A 2013 study comparing various sources of electricity found that the median water consumption during operations of concentrating solar power plants with wet cooling was 810 ga/MWhr for power tower plants and 890 gal/MWhr for trough plants. This was higher than the operational water consumption (with cooling towers) for nuclear (720 gal/MWhr), coal (530 gal/MWhr), or natural gas (210). A 2011 study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory came to similar conclusions: for power plants with cooling towers, water consumption during operations was 865 gal/MWhr for CSP trough, 786 gal/MWhr for CSP tower, 687 gal/MWhr for coal, 672 gal/MWhr for nuclear, and 198 gal/MWhr for natural gas. The Solar Energy Industries Association noted that the Nevada Solar One trough CSP plant consumes 850 gal/MWhr. The issue of water consumption is heightened because CSP plants are often located in arid environments where water is scarce.
Fly over the Carrizo Plain in California’s Central Valley near San Luis Obispo and you’ll see that what was once barren land is now a sprawling solar farm, with panels covering more than seven square miles — one of the world’s largest clean-energy projects. When the sun shines over the Topaz Solar Farm, the shimmering panels produce enough electricity to power all of the residential homes in a city the size of Long Beach, population 475,000.
Worldwide growth of photovoltaics has averaged 40% per year from 2000 to 2013 and total installed capacity reached 303 GW at the end of 2016 with China having the most cumulative installations (78 GW) and Honduras having the highest theoretical percentage of annual electricity usage which could be generated by solar PV (12.5%). The largest manufacturers are located in China.
Big utilities continue to push for all of the plants, maintaining that building natural gas plants doesn’t conflict with expanding solar power. They say both paths are necessary to ensure that California has reliable sources of power — wherever and whenever it is needed.
“It’s not the renewables that’s the problem. It’s the state’s renewable policy that’s the problem,” said Gary Ackerman, president of the Western Power Trading Forum, an association of independent power producers. “We’re curtailing renewable energy in the summertime months. In the spring, we have to give people money to take it off our hands.”
Several groups in various sectors are conducting research on Jatropha curcas, a poisonous shrub-like tree that produces seeds considered by many to be a viable source of biofuels feedstock oil. Much of this research focuses on improving the overall per acre oil yield of Jatropha through advancements in genetics, soil science, and horticultural practices. SG Biofuels, a San Diego-based Jatropha developer, has used molecular breeding and biotechnology to produce elite hybrid seeds of Jatropha that show significant yield improvements over first generation varieties. The Center for Sustainable Energy Farming (CfSEF) is a Los Angeles-based non-profit research organization dedicated to Jatropha research in the areas of plant science, agronomy, and horticulture. Successful exploration of these disciplines is projected to increase Jatropha farm production yields by 200-300% in the next ten years.
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Leasing takes the sting out of equipment and installation costs, but it spreads them out over a long term deal, similar to an auto lease. “In general the lease option comes in monthly payments to the system, and then whatever electricity is generated is yours to keep,” says Kimbis. But because a company technically owns the panels, this method won’t get you the same direct tax benefits as if you bought your own system. You could reap the benefits of your solar company claiming a 30% federal tax credit, but that depends on the company passing those savings down to you.
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.
A 2013 study by the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory concluded that utility-scale solar power plants directly disturb an average of 2.7 to 2.9 acres per gigawatt-hour/year, and use from 3.5 to 3.8 acres per gW-hr/year for the entire sites. According to a 2009 study, this intensity of land use is less than that of the average US power plant using surface-mined coal. Some of the land in the eastern portion of the Mojave Desert is to be preserved, but the solar industry is more interested in areas of the western desert, “where the sun burns hotter and there is easier access to transmission lines”.
Shuman built the world’s first solar thermal power station in Maadi, Egypt, between 1912 and 1913. His plant used parabolic troughs to power a 45–52 kilowatts (60–70 hp) engine that pumped more than 22,000 litres (4,800 imp gal; 5,800 US gal) of water per minute from the Nile River to adjacent cotton fields. Although the outbreak of World War I and the discovery of cheap oil in the 1930s discouraged the advancement of solar energy, Shuman’s vision and basic design were resurrected in the 1970s with a new wave of interest in solar thermal energy. In 1916 Shuman was quoted in the media advocating solar energy’s utilization, saying:
In Scheme 2, the WS cycles are completed by the same parent metal complex. This does not have to be the case. As has recently been demonstrated, metal complexes working in tandem can promote reactions of energy consequence (62). Accordingly, the water-splitting schemes may be accomplished by two different metal complexes working in concert. Regardless of the precise details of the reaction design, oxygen production invariably will be an energetically demanding process that must be coupled to a charge-separated state to capture, convert, and https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=4wxn9YLeR1w solar energy in the form of chemical bonds. By use of a photovoltaic assembly to accomplish solar-driven charge separation, the constraints on the catalyst design are relaxed solely to provide storage. However, in bringing catalysts to a charge-separating assembly, the reaction chemistry will be performed in a heterogeneous and/or interfacial environment. Accordingly, the need to acquire a molecular-level understanding of reactions at the surfaces of solids represents another scientific challenge confronting the effective utilization of solar energy. Finally, inasmuch as the aforementioned reactions and schemes are all enacted at a metal-based platform, the role of inorganic chemistry, whether at a molecule or a surface, will be pivotal to the development of the aforementioned water-splitting cycles. Ingenious approaches to water splitting may be possible using organic catalysts and biocatalysts as well, although the ability to operate these reactions at low overpotential will represent a significant challenge.
Leon, M.; Kumar, S. (2007). “Mathematical modeling and thermal performance analysis of unglazed transpired solar collectors”. Solar Energy. 81 (1): 62–75. Bibcode:2007SoEn…81…62L. doi:10.1016/j.solener.2006.06.017.
…interest in various forms of solar heating, both for interior spaces and for domestic hot water, but, except for residential passive solar heating, the relative decline in energy prices in the 1980s made such systems unattractive.
Solar panels are modules made up of cells, like the kind you see on a solar-powered calculator. A racking system is used to attach the panels to a rooftop. Installers will orient the rack to make sure the module gets the most direct sunlight possible. But if a house’s roof lacks the proper orientation, the modules can be placed in a yard via a ground mounted system instead.
Ocean Wave Energy (Hydrokinetic). There is tremendous energy in ocean waves. Wave power devices extract energy directly from the surface motion of ocean waves. A variety of technologies have been proposed to capture that energy, and some of the more promising designs are undergoing demonstration testing. The Northwestern Coast of the United States has especially high potential for wave energy development, and is one of only a few areas in the world with abundant available wave power resources.
Several states and individual electric utilities in the United States have established special rates for purchasing electricity from certain types of renewable energy systems. These rates, sometimes known as feed-in tariffs (FITs), are generally higher than retail electricity rates to encourage new projects of specific types of renewable energy technologies.
The answer depends in large part on how fast battery storage improves, so it is cheaper and can store power closer to customers for use when the sun isn’t shining. Solar proponents say the technology is advancing rapidly, making reliance on renewables possible far sooner than previously predicted, perhaps two decades or even less from now — which means little need for new power plants with a life span of 30 to 40 years.
Solar power is anticipated to become the world’s largest source of electricity by 2050, with solar photovoltaics and concentrated solar power contributing 16 and 11 percent to the global overall consumption, respectively. In 2016, after another year of rapid growth, solar generated 1.3% of global power.
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Agriculture and horticulture seek to optimize the capture of solar energy in order to optimize the productivity of plants. Techniques such as timed planting cycles, tailored row orientation, staggered heights between rows and the mixing of plant varieties can improve crop yields. While sunlight is generally considered a plentiful resource, the exceptions highlight the importance of solar energy to agriculture. During the short growing seasons of the Little Ice Age, French and English farmers employed fruit walls to maximize the collection of solar energy. These walls acted as thermal masses and accelerated ripening by keeping plants warm. Early fruit walls were built perpendicular to the ground and facing south, but over time, sloping walls were developed to make better use of sunlight. In 1699, Nicolas Fatio de Duillier even suggested using a tracking mechanism which could pivot to follow the Sun. Applications of solar energy in agriculture aside from growing crops include pumping water, drying crops, brooding chicks and drying chicken manure. More recently the technology has been embraced by vintners, who use the energy generated by solar panels to power grape presses.
Biofuels include a wide range of fuels which are derived from biomass. The term covers solid, liquid, and gaseous fuels. Liquid biofuels include bioalcohols, such as bioethanol, and oils, such as biodiesel. Gaseous biofuels include biogas, landfill gas and synthetic gas. Bioethanol is an alcohol made by fermenting the sugar components of plant materials and it is made mostly from sugar and starch crops. These include maize, sugarcane and, more recently, sweet sorghum. The latter crop is particularly suitable for growing in dryland conditions, and is being investigated by International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics for its potential to provide fuel, along with food and animal feed, in arid parts of Asia and Africa.
As of 2007, the total installed capacity of solar hot water systems was approximately 154 thermal gigawatt (GWth). China is the world leader in their deployment with 70 GWth installed as of 2006 and a long-term goal of 210 GWth by 2020. Israel and Cyprus are the per capita leaders in the use of solar hot water systems with over 90% of homes using them. In the United States, Canada, and Australia, heating swimming pools is the dominant application of solar hot water with an installed capacity of 18 GWth as of 2005.
The Japanese government through its Ministry of International Trade and Industry ran a successful programme of subsidies from 1994 to 2003. By the end of 2004, Japan led the world in installed PV capacity with over 1.1 GW.
Did you follow that? As ratepayers opt for solar panels (and other distributed energy resources like micro-turbines, batteries, smart appliances, etc.), it raises costs on other ratepayers and hurts the utility’s credit rating. As rates rise on other ratepayers, the attractiveness of solar increases, so more opt for it. Thus costs on remaining ratepayers are even further increased, the utility’s credit even further damaged. It’s a vicious, self-reinforcing cycle:
Nuclear power is “clean” from an emissions standpoint—nuclear power plants produce no air pollution or global warming emissions when they operate—but its long-term role in combatting climate change depends on overcoming economic and safety hurdles.
An example of an early solar energy collection device is the solar oven (a box for collecting and absorbing sunlight). In the 1830s, British astronomer John Herschel used a solar oven to cook food during an expedition to Africa. People now use many different technologies for collecting and converting solar radiation into useful heat energy for a variety of purposes.
Solar power is just as practical in populated areas connected to the local electrical power grid as it is in remote areas. “An average home has more than enough roof area to produce enough solar electricity to supply all of its power needs. With an inverter, which converts direct current (DC) power from the solar cells to alternating current (AC), which is what most home appliances run on, a solar home can look and operate very much like a home that is connected to a power line.”
Chemicals such as Boron (p-type) are applied into the semiconductor crystal in order to create donor and acceptor energy levels substantially closer to the valence and conductor bands. In doing so, the addition of Boron impurity allows the activation energy to decrease 20 fold from 1.12 eV to 0.05 eV. Since the potential difference (EB) is so low, the Boron is able to thermally ionize at room temperatures. This allows for free energy carriers in the conduction and valence bands thereby allowing greater conversion of photons to electrons.
(“Despite all the talk about investors assessing the future in their investment evaluations,” the report notes dryly, “it is often not until revenue declines are reported that investors realize that the viability of the business is in question.” In other words, investors aren’t that smart and rational financial markets are a myth.)
There are numerous organizations within the academic, federal, and commercial sectors conducting large scale advanced research in the field of renewable energy. This research spans several areas of focus across the renewable energy spectrum. Most of the research is targeted at improving efficiency and increasing overall energy yields. Multiple federally supported research organizations have focused on renewable energy in recent years. Two of the most prominent of these labs are Sandia National Laboratories and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), both of which are funded by the United States Department of Energy and supported by various corporate partners. Sandia has a total budget of $2.4 billion while NREL has a budget of $375 million.