We acknowledge sustained support from the U.S. Department of Energy (Office of Basic Energy https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=kgsihOsLfoE and the National Science Foundation (and in particular, Chemical Bonding Center CP-CP0533150) for basic research in renewable energy and for facilitating our ongoing perspective on global energy options.
Rays of sunlight hit solar cells, pushing the electrons in the cell through the wires to create electricity. This electricity is in one direction, so it is called DC, for Direct Current. As opposed to AC, for Alternating Current, where the electrons are going back and forth 50-60 times (50-60Hz) per second. That is why for most installations, you need an inverter. An inverter changes the DC to AC and makes it usable with your home’s appliances.
Secondly, here’s a video about how much the cost of solar has dropped in recent years and what that means, followed by an “About Solar / Why Solar” video that gets into the specifics of the solar energy and overall energy markets a bit more:
A solar power tower system uses a large field of flat, sun-tracking mirrors called heliostats to reflect and concentrate sunlight onto a receiver on the top of a tower. Sunlight can be concentrated as much as 1,500 times. Some power towers use water as the heat-transfer fluid. Advanced designs are experimenting with molten nitrate salt because of its superior heat transfer and energy storage capabilities. The thermal energy-storage capability allows the system to produce electricity during cloudy weather or at night.
One of the most significant obstacles to making most renewable energy sources competitive with more widely adopted energy sources is that they are relatively dilute. In fact, some of today’s more promising processes for tapping biomass energy involve using chemical or thermal conversion in an attempt to mimic the results of a process that, through immense pressure and over geologic time scales, created energy-rich fossil fuels from biomass. Despite such developing technologies, the amount of energy in a given amount of raw biomass tends to be significantly less than that contained in an equal amount of its concentrated cousin, fossil energy. In the United States, demand for all sources of energy is expected to rise between now and 2040 to keep pace with growth in the economy, population and standard of living. Renewable sources are anticipated to participate more broadly in this growth being spurred by State and Federal legislation, including the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.
In Daban, after I asked what the most popular program was, everyone began laughing and nodding. “ ‘Kumkum’!” people shouted. “Kumkum Bhagya,” an Indian soap opera set in a marriage hall and loosely based on Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility,” airs every night from seven-thirty to eight-thirty, during which time village life comes to a standstill. “All the chiefs have advocated for everyone to watch, because it’s about how relationships are built,” the local chief, Nana Oti Awere, said. Of course, the changes brought about by electrification will affect local communities in unpredictable ways that will play out over many years. One mother I spoke to explained that the TV “keeps the children at home at night, instead of roaming around.” The Ivorian farmer who told me about the effects on his children’s grades went on to say, “In the old time, you had to go outside and talk. Now my neighbor has his TV, I have my TV, and we stay inside.”
The potential for solar energy is enormous, since about 200,000 times the world’s total daily electric-generating capacity is received by the Earth every day in the form of solar energy. Unfortunately, though solar energy itself is free, the high cost of its collection, conversion, and storage still limits its exploitation.
Active solar heating systems use a collector and a fluid that absorbs solar radiation. Fans or pumps circulate air or heat-absorbing liquids through collectors and then transfer the heated fluid directly to a room or to a heat storage system. Active water heating systems usually have a tank for storing solar heated water.
The Powerwall ensures that your solar system will work around the clock to power everything essential in your home—even when the grid goes down. So you’ll have the backup power you need to keep you super-charged through any outage, day or night.
Buy direct and save thousands! We offer expert technical support in addition to wholesale pricing. Our reps have completed actual solar installations and have years of experience designing PV systems for homes.
Off-Grid, like several of its competitors, finances the panels, so that people can pay the same small monthly amounts they were paying for kerosene. Customers in Tanzania put down about thirteen dollars to buy Off-Grid’s cheapest starter kit: a panel, a battery, a few L.E.D. lights, a phone charger, and a radio. Then they pay about eight dollars a month for three years, after which they own the products outright. The most popular system adds a few more lights and a flat-screen TV, for a higher down payment and about twice the monthly price. Customers pay their bill by phone; if they don’t pay, the system stops working, and after a while it is repossessed. That scenario, it turns out, is uncommon: less than two per cent of the loans in Tanzania have gone bad.
Wave power, which captures the energy of ocean surface waves, and tidal power, converting the energy of tides, are two forms of hydropower with future potential; however, they are not yet widely employed commercially. A demonstration project operated by the Ocean Renewable Power Company on the coast of Maine, and connected to the grid, harnesses tidal power from the Bay of Fundy, location of world’s highest tidal flow. Ocean thermal energy conversion, which uses the temperature difference between cooler deep and warmer surface waters, has currently no economic feasibility.
People have used the sun as a heat source for thousands of years. Families in ancient Greece built their homes to get the most sunlight during the cold winter months. In the 1830s, explorer John Herschel used a solar collector to cook food during an adventure in Africa. You can even try this at home!
Increased uncertainty and risk will not be welcomed by investors, who will seek a higher return on investment and force defensive-minded investors to reduce exposure to the sector. These competitive and financial risks would likely erode credit quality. The decline in credit quality will lead to a higher cost of capital, putting further pressure on customer rates. Ultimately, capital availability will be reduced, and this will affect future investment plans. The cycle of decline has been previously witnessed in technology-disrupted sectors (such as telecommunications) and other deregulated industries (airlines).
That said, California is not — and cannot be — in this effort alone. While the state does often produce an excess of solar power in the mornings and early afternoons, utilities often have to resort to gas-powered plants during the evening hours and during times of peak demand. As such, Brown explained, “hydropower is great because it can be used to fill in the peaks and valleys.”
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From 2006-14, US households received more than $18 billion in federal income tax credits for weatherizing their homes, installing solar panels, buying hybrid and electric vehicles, and other “clean energy” investments. These tax expenditures went predominantly to higher-income Americans. The bottom three income quintiles received about 10% of all credits, while the top quintile received about 60%. The most extreme is the program aimed at electric vehicles, where the top income quintile received about 90% of all credits. Market mechanisms have less skewed distributional effects.
Third-generation technologies are still under development and include advanced biomass gasification, biorefinery technologies, concentrating solar thermal power, hot dry rock geothermal energy and ocean energy. Advances in nanotechnology may also play a major role.
A regulator is an electronic device which controls the voltage of the charging source. Regulators are used to stop the batteries from being overcharged. When the batteries are fully charged, the regulator halts the flow of power from the solar panels to the batteries. Additionally, a regulator stops any power flow from the batteries at night. The controller is also used so that the batteries get charged at the correct voltage. In order to calculate the Amp rating of a controller you must follow this simple equation:
Technology advances are opening up a huge new market for solar power: the approximately 1.3 billion people around the world who don’t have access to grid electricity. Even though they are typically very poor, these people have to pay far more for lighting than people in rich countries because they use inefficient kerosene lamps. Solar power costs half as much as lighting with kerosene. As of 2010, an estimated 3 million households get power from small solar PV systems. Kenya is the world leader in the number of solar power systems installed per capita. More than 30,000 very small solar panels, each producing 12 to 30 watts, are sold in Kenya annually. Some Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are also turning to solar power to reduce their costs and increase their sustainability.
The International Organization for Standardization has established several standards relating to solar energy equipment. For example, ISO 9050 relates to glass in building while ISO 10217 relates to the materials used in solar water heaters.
Silicon based modules: aluminum frames and junction boxes are dismantled manually at the beginning of the process. The module is then crushed in a mill and the different fractions are separated – glass, plastics and metals. It is possible to recover more than 80% of the incoming weight. This process can be performed by flat glass recyclers since morphology and composition of a PV module is similar to those flat glasses used in the building and automotive industry. The recovered glass for example is readily accepted by the glass foam and glass insulation industry.
Offshore Wind Energy. Wind turbines have been installed offshore a number of countries to harness the energy of the moving air over the oceans and convert it to electricity. Offshore winds tend to flow at higher sustained speeds than onshore winds, making turbines more efficient.
^ Faunce, T. A.; Lubitz, W.; Rutherford, A. W. (Bill); MacFarlane, D.; Moore, G. F.; Yang, P.; Nocera, D. G; Moore, Tom A; Gregory, Duncan H; Fukuzumi, Shunichi; Yoon, Kyung B.; Armstrong, F. A.; Wasielewski, M. R.; Styring, S. (2013), “Energy and environment policy case for a global project on artificial photosynthesis”, Energy & Environmental Science, 6 (3): 695–698, doi:10.1039/C3EE00063J
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With investment subsidies, the financial burden falls upon the taxpayer, while with feed-in tariffs the extra cost is distributed across the utilities’ customer bases. While the investment subsidy may be simpler to administer, the main argument in favour of feed-in tariffs is the encouragement of quality. Investment subsidies are paid out as a function of the nameplate capacity of the installed system and are independent of its actual power yield over time, thus rewarding the overstatement of power and tolerating poor durability and maintenance. Some electric companies offer rebates to their customers, such as Austin Energy in Texas, which offers $2.50/watt installed up to $15,000.
Jump up ^ Mearian, Lucas. U.S. flips switch on massive solar power array that also stores electricity: The array is first large U.S. solar plant with a thermal energy storage system, 10 October 2013. Retrieved 18 October 2013.
The PV cell is the basic building block of a PV system. Individual cells can vary in size from about 0.5 inches to about 4 inches across. However, one cell only produces 1 or 2 Watts, which is only enough electricity for small uses.
Since the flow of electrical current is going in one direction, like a battery, the electricity generated is called direct current (DC). Sunlight conversion rates are typically in the 5 to 18 percent range, with some laboratory experiments reaching efficiencies as high as 30 percent. Future possibilities include the development of multi-junction solar cells that are capable of harnessing a wider bandwidth of useable light. We are still considered to be in the “early” stages of solar cell technology.
Junction Box or “j-box” Some solar panels come with J-boxes, and other have pre-attached leads. J-boxes are handy for smaller systems where panels are often in parallel. Pre-attached leads (also called MC Cables) are best for quickly hooking many panels in series for high-voltage grid-tie systems, or larger off-grid systems.
Japan and China have national programs aimed at commercial scale Space-Based Solar Power (SBSP). The China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) won the 2015 International SunSat Design Competition[permanent dead link] with this video of their Multi-Rotary Joint design. Proponents of SBSP claim that Space-Based Solar Power would be clean, constant, and global, and could scale to meet all planetary energy demand. A recent multi-agency industry proposal (echoing the 2008 Pentagon recommendation) won the SECDEF/SECSTATE/USAID Director D3 (Diplomacy, Development, Defense) Innovation Challenge.
In 2016, utility scale solar contributed 36.76 TWh to the grid, with 33.367 TWh from photovoltaics and 3.39 TWh from thermal systems. In 2014, 2015, and 2016, EIA estimated that distributed solar generated 11.233 TWh, 14.139 TWh and 19.467 TWh respectively. While utility-grade systems have well documented generation, distributed systems contributions to user electric power needs are not measured or controlled. Therefore, quantitative evaluation of distributed solar to the overall US electric power sector has been lacking. Recently, the Energy Information Administration has begun estimating that contribution. Before 2008, most solar-generated electric energy was from thermal systems, however by 2011 photovoltaics had overtaken thermal.