Solar energy, radiation from the Sun capable of producing heat, causing chemical reactions, or generating electricity. The Sun is an extremely powerful energy source, and sunlight is by far the largest source of energy received by the Earth, but its intensity at the Earth’s surface is actually quite low. This is essentially because of the enormous radial spreading of radiation from the distant Sun. A relatively minor additional loss is due to the Earth’s atmosphere and clouds, which absorb or scatter as much as 54 percent of the incoming sunlight. Yet the total amount of solar energy incident on Earth is vastly in excess of the world’s current and anticipated energy requirements. If suitably harnessed, this highly diffused source has the potential to satisfy all future energy needs. In the 21st century solar energy is expected to become increasingly attractive as an energy source because of its inexhaustible supply and its nonpolluting character, in stark contrast to the finite fossil fuels coal, petroleum, and natural gas.
In 2015, hydropower accounted for 2.39 quadrillion Btu of energy [vii], a figure the EIA expects to grow slightly through 2040[viii]. All other sources of renewable fuels accounted for 7.29 quadrillion Btu in 2015[ix] and are anticipated to increase to 9.71 quadrillion Btu by 2040[x]. The increase is due to the Federal Renewable Fuel Standard, mandating the use of ethanol in transportation fuels, state Renewable Portfolio Standards, mandating the use of renewable generating technologies in the electric sector of 30 states and the District of Columbia, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 among other legislation. Of the 105.7 quadrillion Btu the U.S. is expected to consume in 2040[xi], renewable sources are projected to account for 12.52 quadrillion Btu, or 11.8 percent [xii].
When there isn’t demand for all the power the state is producing, CAISO needs to quickly sell the excess to avoid overloading the electricity grid, which can cause blackouts. Basic economics kick in. Oversupply causes prices to fall, even below zero. That’s because Arizona has to curtail its own sources of electricity to take California’s power when it doesn’t really need it, which can cost money. So Arizona will use power from California at times like this only if it has an economic incentive — which means being paid.
At the end of 2016 there were 1.76 GW total installed capacity of solar thermal power across the United States, the contribution to the US electric grid since 2004 can be seen in the table at the end of this section.
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Renewables’ share of U.S. energy consumption has now doubled since 2008, as coal’s share crashed in the same period from 48% to 30%. And while the Trump administration has signaled a desire to cut funding for renewable energy and efficiency programs, the trends seem set to continue thanks to market forces.
The greatest innovation in charge controllers would have to be the relatively new feature called maximum power point tracking (MPPT). This innovative method of charging batteries constantly monitors peak power voltage from the array and input voltage on the batteries adjusting amperage to compensate for the fluctuations. This provides the most efficient means to manage the power harvest. The function of MPPT charge controllers is analogous to the transmission of a car, keeping your charging system in the “right gear”. Other components of the solar system would include the wiring and mounting hardware, while some installations use a tracker that changes its tilt angle and direction throughout the day.
Wind and solar are less prone to large-scale failure because they are distributed and modular. Distributed systems are spread out over a large geographical area, so a severe weather event in one location will not cut off power to an entire region. Modular systems are composed of numerous individual wind turbines or solar arrays. Even if some of the equipment in the system is damaged, the rest can typically continue to operate.
Concentrated solar power (CSP), also called “concentrated solar thermal”, uses lenses or mirrors and tracking systems to concentrate sunlight, then use the resulting heat to generate electricity from conventional steam-driven turbines.
Average pricing information divides in three pricing categories: those buying small quantities (modules of all sizes in the kilowatt range annually), mid-range buyers (typically up to 10 MWp annually), and large quantity buyers (self-explanatory—and with access to the lowest prices). Over the long term there is clearly a systematic reduction in the price of cells and modules. For example, in 2012 it was estimated that the quantity cost per watt was about US$0.60, which was 250 times lower than the cost in 1970 of US$150. A 2015 study shows price/kWh dropping by 10% per year since 1980, and predicts that solar could contribute 20% of total electricity consumption by 2030, whereas the International Energy Agency predicts 16% by 2050.
Biofuels provided 3% of the world’s transport fuel in 2010. Mandates for blending biofuels exist in 31 countries at the national level and in 29 states/provinces. According to the International Energy Agency, biofuels have the potential to meet more than a quarter of world demand for transportation fuels by 2050.
^ “First Breakthrough In Solar Photovoltaic Module Recycling, Experts Say”. European Photovoltaic Industry Association. Archived from the original on 12 May 2013. Retrieved January 2011. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
In the fall, Solar Energy International (SEI) received a message from an organization in the Philippines, Stiftung SolarEnergie (StS), sharing updates on how classes positively impacted their organization. StS’s mission is to “empower rural and marginalized villages throughout the Philippines by providing access to sustainable solar energy solutions.” Their focus areas are empowering schools, health […]
Solar trackers increase the amount of energy produced per module at a cost of mechanical complexity and need for maintenance. They sense the direction of the Sun and tilt or rotate the modules as needed for maximum exposure to the light. Alternatively, fixed racks hold modules stationary as the sun moves across the sky. The fixed rack sets the angle at which the module is held. Tilt angles equivalent to an installation’s latitude are common. Most of these fixed racks are set on poles above ground. Panels that face West or East may provide slightly lower energy, but evens out the supply, and may provide more power during peak demand.
The inverter turns the DC electricity generated by the solar panels into 120-volt AC that can be put to immediate use by connecting the inverter directly to a dedicated circuit breaker in the electrical panel.
Solar radiation is absorbed by the Earth’s land surface, oceans – which cover about 71% of the globe – and atmosphere. Warm air containing evaporated water from the oceans rises, causing atmospheric circulation or convection. When the air reaches a high altitude, where the temperature is low, water vapor condenses into clouds, which rain onto the Earth’s surface, completing the water cycle. The latent heat of water condensation amplifies convection, producing atmospheric phenomena such as wind, cyclones and anti-cyclones. Sunlight absorbed by the oceans and land masses keeps the surface at an average temperature of 14 °C. By photosynthesis, green plants convert solar energy into chemically stored energy, which produces food, wood and the biomass from which fossil fuels are derived.
Helgesen made his first trip to Tanzania in 2006, to visit recipients of Better World’s funding and to go on safari. “I was staying at a fancy lodge near Kilimanjaro, and I remember thinking, How do things really work around here?” Helgesen said. He paid a local man to take him to the nearest village. “I was peppering him with questions: ‘Do young people go to the city?’ ‘How much does coffee sell for?’ ” The experience, he said, “flipped my mind-set from ‘People in Africa are poor and they need our help and our donated books’ to ‘This is what an emerging economy looks like. This is young people, this is entrepreneurialism, this is where growth will be.’ ” During a second trip to Africa, he went scuba diving in Lake Malawi (“to see the cichlid fish, which keep their babies in their mouths”), and was invited to dinner by his scuba instructor. “It was a decent-sized town, maybe twenty thousand people, but absolutely no electricity,” Helgesen said. “It was all narrow alleys—they were bustling, but they were pitch-black.”
Hydro-electricity and geothermal electricity produced at favourable sites are now the cheapest way to generate electricity. Renewable energy costs continue to drop, and the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) is declining for wind power, solar photovoltaic (PV), concentrated solar power (CSP) and some biomass technologies. Renewable energy is also the most economic solution for new grid-connected capacity in areas with good resources. As the cost of renewable power falls, the scope of economically viable applications increases. Renewable technologies are now often the most economic solution for new generating capacity. Where “oil-fired generation is the predominant power generation source (e.g. on islands, off-grid and in some countries) a lower-cost renewable solution almost always exists today”. A series of studies by the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory modeled the “grid in the Western US under a number of different scenarios where intermittent renewables accounted for 33 percent of the total power.” In the models, inefficiencies in cycling the fossil fuel plants to compensate for the variation in solar and wind energy resulted in an additional cost of “between $0.47 and $1.28 to each MegaWatt hour generated”; however, the savings in the cost of the fuels saved “adds up to $7 billion, meaning the added costs are, at most, two percent of the savings.”
How might extremely accurate wind and solar forecasts help us use enough renewable energy to reach climate goals of significantly reducing carbon dioxide emissions? Researchers at NREL’s new Energy Systems Integration Facility start by looking at how well wind and solar power can offset each other. To what extent, for example, can wind blowing at night make up for the lack of sunshine? But they are also looking at how to couple forecasts with smart dishwashers, water heaters, solar-panel inverters, water treatment plants, and electric-car chargers, not only to accommodate shifts in the wind but to ride out inevitable windless periods and weeks of cloudy weather without resorting to fossil fuels.
Jump up ^ Armaroli, Nicola; Balzani, Vincenzo (2016). “Solar Electricity and Solar Fuels: Status and Perspectives in the Context of the Energy Transition”. Chemistry – A European Journal. 22: 32–57. doi:10.1002/chem.201503580.
Dec. 19, 2017 — As the world tries to combat climate change, sustainable forms of energy are on the rise. Solar energy is of particular interest, but arrays of photovoltaic panels take up a lot of space and can … read more
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National Electrical Code (NEC) The NEC is a regionally adoptable standard for the safe installation of electrical wiring and equipment in the United States. It is part of the National Fire Codes series published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a private trade association.Despite the use of the term “national”, it is not a federal law. It is typically adopted by states and municipalities in an effort to standardize their enforcement of safe electrical practices. In some cases, the NEC is amended, altered and may even be rejected in lieu of regional regulations as voted on by local governing bodies. The 1984 and later editions of the NEC contain Article 690, “Solar Photovoltaic Systems” which provide standards for installing a solar PV system.
While we have seen large GTL facilities face hurdles over the last few years, from halting projects to even abandoning them, we recognise the enormous opportunity for small-scale GTL projects to accelerate, even with the narrowing of the difference in oil and gas prices. This is especially true in locations where small-scale GTL plants can be solar power at sites where they can utilise the existing infrastructure.
The SRES applies to small-scale technologies such as residential solar power and solar hot water systems and is supported by the Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) system. The SRES is currently uncapped.
But the CDP data showed 43 cities worldwide were already entirely powered by clean energy, with the vast majority (30) in Latin America, where more cities reported to CDP and hydropower is more widespread.