Thermal mass is any material that can be used to store heat—heat from the Sun in the case of solar energy. Common thermal mass materials include stone, cement and water. Historically they have been used in arid climates or warm temperate regions to keep buildings cool by absorbing solar energy during the day and radiating stored heat to the cooler atmosphere at night. However, they can be used in cold temperate areas to maintain warmth as well. The size and placement of thermal mass depend on several factors such as climate, daylighting and shading conditions. When properly incorporated, thermal mass maintains space temperatures in a comfortable range and reduces the need for auxiliary heating and cooling equipment.
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Amorphous solar panels use the non-crystalline, allotropic form of silicon, in which a thin layer of this silicon substrate is applied to the back of a plate of glass. These panels are much cheaper and less energy efficient, yet they are more versatile in how they can be used. For example, amorphous solar panels can be manufactured into long sheets of roofing material. Thin Film solar panels also fall into the amorphous category. This type of cells can be mounted on a flexible backing, making them more suited for mobile applications.
As of July 2017, 29 states and the District of Columbia had enforceable renewable portfolio standards (RPS) or other mandated renewable energy policies, and 8 states had voluntary goals or objectives for renewable energy generation.
In fact, ocean energy comes from a number of sources. In addition to tidal energy, there’s the energy of the ocean’s waves, which are driven by both the tides and the winds. The sun also warms the surface of the ocean more than the ocean depths, creating a temperature difference that can be used as an energy source. All these forms of ocean energy can renewable energy used to produce electricity.
Renewable energy accounted for 12.2 % of total primary energy consumption and 14.94 % of the domestically produced electricity in the United States in 2016. Hydroelectric power is currently the largest producer of renewable electricity in the country, generating around 6.5% of the nation’s total electricity in 2016 as well as 45.71% of the total renewable electricity generation. The United States is the fourth largest producer of hydroelectricity in the world after China, Canada and Brazil. The Grand Coulee Dam is the 5th largest hydroelectric power station in the world.
Over $1 billion of federal money has been spent on the research and development of hydrogen and a medium for energy storage in the United States. Both the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories have departments dedicated to hydrogen research. Hydrogen is useful for energy storage and for use in airplanes, but is not practical for automobile use, as it is not very efficient, compared to using a battery — for the same cost a person can travel three times as far using a battery.
Solar. This form of energy relies on the nuclear fusion power from the core of the Sun. This energy can be collected and converted in a few different ways. The range is from solar water heating with solar collectors or attic cooling with solar attic fans for domestic use to the complex technologies of direct conversion of sunlight to electrical energy using mirrors and boilers or photovoltaic cells. Unfortunately these are currently insufficient to fully power our modern society.
Nominal voltage refers to the voltage of the battery that the module is best suited to charge; this is a leftover term from the days when solar modules were only used to charge batteries. The actual voltage output of the module changes as lighting, temperature and load conditions change, so there is never one specific voltage at which the module operates. Nominal voltage allows users, at a glance, to make sure the module is compatible with a given system.
Some have argued that although green energy is a commendable effort in solving the world’s increasing energy consumption, it must be accompanied by a cultural change that encourages the decrease of the world’s appetite for energy.
“Our killer app is definitely the television,” Off-Grid’s Schreiber said. “If the twenty-four-inch is out of stock, lots of people won’t buy.” Wandering through newly electrified towns, I saw teen-agers watching action movies. Black Star’s Poindexter told me, “There was a kid in town that I liked, Samuel, and when I came back after the power was turned on his arm was in a cast. He’d watched a karate show on TV, and he and his friends were playing it, and he broke his arm. I was horrified—I was, like, society is not prepared for this. And then I remembered that I did the same thing after I watched ‘Popeye’ as a kid. I ran right into the hedge and had to get twenty stitches. That’s kids and TV.”
Several companies have begun embedding electronics into PV modules. This enables performing maximum power point tracking (MPPT) for each module individually, and the measurement of performance data for monitoring and fault detection at module level. Some of these solutions make use of power optimizers, a DC-to-DC converter technology developed to maximize the power harvest from solar photovoltaic systems. As of about 2010, such electronics can also compensate for shading effects, wherein a shadow falling across a section of a module causes the electrical output of one or more strings of cells in the module to fall to zero, but not having the output of the entire module fall to zero.
2010 was a record year for green energy investments. According to a report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, nearly US $243 billion was invested in wind farms, solar power, electric cars, and other alternative technologies worldwide, representing a 30 percent increase from 2009 and nearly five times the money invested in 2004. China had $51.1 billion investment in clean energy projects in 2010, by far the largest figure for any country.
In his joint address to Congress in 2009, Obama stated that: “We know the country that harnesses the power of clean, renewable energy will lead the 21st. century….Thanks to our recovery plan, we will double this nation’s supply of renewable energy in the next three years… It is time for America to lead again”.
Shi Zhengrong has said that, as of 2012, unsubsidised solar power is already competitive with fossil fuels in India, Hawaii, Italy and Spain. He said “We are at a tipping point. No longer are renewable power sources like solar and wind a luxury of the rich. They are now starting to compete in the real world without subsidies”. “Solar power will be able to compete without subsidies against conventional power sources in half the world by 2015”.
Solar energy is radiant light and heat from the Sun that is harnessed using a range of ever-evolving technologies such as solar heating, photovoltaics, solar thermal energy, solar architecture, molten salt power plants and artificial photosynthesis.
In 2009, President Barack Obama in the inaugural address called for the expanded use of renewable energy to meet the twin challenges of energy security and climate change. Those were the first references ever to the nation’s energy use, to renewable resources, and to climate change in an inauguration speech of a United States president. President Obama looked to the near future, saying that as a nation, the United States will “harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.”
The Hassi R’Mel power station in Algeria, is an example of combining CSP with a gas turbine, where a 25-megawatt CSP-parabolic trough array supplements a much larger 130 MW combined cycle gas turbine plant. Another example is the Yazd power station in Iran.
Parabolic trough linear concentrating systems are used in the longest operating solar thermal power facility in the world, the Solar Energy Generating System (SEGS). The facility, with nine separate plants, is located in the Mojave Desert in California. The first plant in the system, SEGS I, operated from 1984 to 2015, and the second, SEGS II, operated from 1985 to 2015. The last plant built, SEGS IX, with a electricity generation capacity of 92 megawatts (MW), began operation in 1990. The seven currently operating SEGS III-IX plants have a combined electricity generation capacity of nearly 357 MW, making them one of the largest solar thermal electric power facilities in the world.
A Green Energy Supply Certification Scheme was launched in the United Kingdom in February 2010. This implements guidelines from the Energy Regulator, Ofgem, and sets requirements on transparency, the matching of sales by renewable energy supplies, and additionality.
Grid parity was first reached in Spain in 2013, Hawaii and other islands that otherwise use fossil fuel (diesel fuel) to produce electricity, and most of the US is expected to reach grid parity by 2015.[not in citation given]
Energy technologies receive government subsidies. In 2013, federal government energy-specific subsidies and supports for renewables, fossil fuels, and nuclear power were $15.043 billion, $3.431 billion and $1.66 billion respectively. The subsidies and supports specific to electricity production amount to $11.678 billion, $1.591 billion and $1.66 billion respectively. All but a few U.S. states now have incentives in place to promote renewable energy, while more than a dozen have enacted new renewable energy laws in recent years.[when?] Renewable energy suffered a political setback in the United States in September 2011 with the bankruptcy of Solyndra, a company that had received a $535 million federal loan guarantee.
Utility investors are accustomed to large, long-term, reliable investments with a 30-year cost recovery — fossil fuel plants, basically. The cost of those investments, along with investments in grid maintenance and reliability, are spread by utilities across all ratepayers in a service area. What happens if a bunch of those ratepayers start reducing their demand or opting out of the grid entirely? Well, the same investments must now be spread over a smaller group of ratepayers. In other words: higher rates for those who haven’t switched to solar.
At the end of 2014, worldwide PV capacity reached at least 177,000 megawatts. Photovoltaics grew fastest in China, followed by Japan and the United States, while Germany remains the world’s largest overall producer of photovoltaic power, contributing about 7.0 percent to the overall electricity generation. Italy meets 7.9 percent of its electricity demands with photovoltaic power—the highest share worldwide. For 2015, global cumulative capacity is forecasted to increase by more than 50 gigawatts (GW). By 2018, worldwide capacity is projected to reach as much as 430 gigawatts. This corresponds to a tripling within five years. Solar power is forecasted to become the world’s largest source of electricity by 2050, with solar photovoltaics and concentrated solar power contributing 16% and 11%, respectively. This requires an increase of installed PV capacity to 4,600 GW, of which more than half is expected to be deployed in China and India.
The contribution to the US electric grid over the last thirteen years of solar photovoltaic electric power to the renewable power generation and to the total US power generation is shown below along with the yearly profile of the photovoltaic power generation for 2015 and 2016. This shows the typical variations over the months of the year due to sunlight availability.
As described above, an important storage approach involves conversion of the energy captured in the charge-separated states of a solar capture and conversion system into chemical bonds. Water splitting is an example of a more general conversion to a solar fuel cycle that involves evolution of oxygen as one component and formation of a reduced fuel as the other. Unexplored basic science issues are immediately confronted when the problem is posed in the simplest chemistry framework (see Scheme 1).
Most renewable energy comes either directly or indirectly from the sun. Sunlight, or solar energy, can be used directly for heating and lighting homes and other buildings, for generating electricity, and for hot water heating, solar cooling, and a variety of commercial and industrial uses.
“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.
But CAISO concedes that curtailments and “negative pricing” is likely to happen even more often in the future as solar power production continues to grow, unless action is taken to better manage the excess electricity.
But the question is no longer about the technology, says Kimbis. “Home owners should feel comfortable that the technology itself has been proven,” he says. “We have reached sort of a tipping point here with solar being very affordable, being reliable, and a clean energy source.”
In 2006 California approved the ‘California Solar Initiative’, offering a choice of investment subsidies or FIT for small and medium systems and a FIT for large systems. The small-system FIT of $0.39 per kWh (far less than EU countries) expires in just 5 years, and the alternate “EPBB” residential investment incentive is modest, averaging perhaps 20% of cost. All California incentives are scheduled to decrease in the future depending as a function of the amount of PV capacity installed.