WASHINGTON (October 8, 2015) – America’s reliance on wind, solar, and other renewable sources of energy has reached historic levels and is poised to make even greater gains in the near future, according to new report by the Natural Resources Defense Council. NRDC’s Third Annual Energy Report, “A Tectonic Shift in America’s Energy Landscape,” found that the energy sector in the United States emitted less dangerous carbon pollution last year than in 1996, with a full 10 percent reduction over the past decade. Meanwhile, coal and electricity consumption are down nationwide, while oil use today is lower than in the early 1970s, the report shows. “The economic and environmental performance of America’s energy systems has never been better, and the single most important contributor to these positive trends is energy efficiency, the largest and least expensive way to meet the nation’s energy needs,” said Ralph Cavanagh, co-director of the NRDC energy program. “However, America can, should, and must do more to increase our efforts to help stabilize the world’s climate.”
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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.
When we talk about green energy, we mean electricity and gas made from renewable sources: green electricity made from the wind, the sun and the sea, and green gas made from organic material and, soon, grass.
As with any type of power plant, large solar power plants can affect the environment near their locations. Clearing land for construction and the placement of the power plant may have long-term effects on habitat areas for native plants and animals. Some solar power plants may require water for cleaning solar collectors and concentrators or for cooling turbine generators. Using large volumes of ground water or surface water in some arid locations may affect the ecosystems that depend on these water resources. In addition, the beam of sunlight a solar power tower creates can kill birds and insects that fly into the beam.
The panels, which will be installed on hundreds of rooftops across the city, are capable of producing up to 60 megawatts of solar power, the companies said. Work has started on the project, and it will be up and running by the end of the year.
The inverter, electricity production meter, and electricity net meter are connected so that power produced by your solar electric system will first be consumed by the electrical loads currently in operation. The balance of power produced by your solar electric system passes through your electrical panel and out onto the electric grid. Whenever you are producing more electricity from your solar electric system than you are immediately consuming, your electric utility meter will turn backwards!
Climate change and global warming concerns, coupled with high oil prices, peak oil, and increasing government support, are driving increasing renewable energy legislation, incentives and commercialization. New government spending, regulation and policies helped the industry weather the global financial crisis better than many other sectors. According to a 2011 projection by the International Energy Agency, solar power generators may produce most of the world’s electricity within 50 years, reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases that harm the environment.
Savings based on SolarPPA and SolarLease customers with at least twelve months of billing data. Savings Rate calculated by subtracting PPA or equivalent lease kWh rate from relevant utility kWh rate. Savings calculated by multiplying actual kWh supplied by SolarCity in customers’ first year times Savings Rate. Excludes fully or partially prepaid contracts.
The cacao-farming community of Daban, in Ghana, is seven degrees north of the equator, and it’s always hot. In May, I met with several elders there to talk about the electricity that had come to the town a few months earlier, when an American startup installed a solar microgrid nearby. Daban could now safely store the vaccine for yellow fever; residents could charge their cell phones at home rather than walking to a bigger town to do it. As we talked, one of the old men handed me a small plastic bag of water, the kind street venders sell across West Africa—you just bite off a corner and drink. The water was ice-cold and refreshing, but it took me an embarrassingly long moment to understand the pleasure with which he offered it: cold water was now available in this hot place. There was enough power to run a couple of refrigerators, and so coldness was, for the first time, a possibility.
Jump up ^ Lund, Henrik (2006). “Large-scale integration of optimal combinations of PV, wind and wave power into the electricity supply”. Renewable Energy. 31 (4): 503–515. doi:10.1016/j.renene.2005.04.008.
^ Aishwarya S. Mundada, , Yuenyong Nilsiam , Joshua M. Pearce. A review of technical requirements for plug-and-play solar photovoltaic micro-inverter systems in the United States. Solar Energy 135, (2016), pp. 455–470. doi: 10.1016/j.solener.2016.06.002
Jump up ^ M.R. Schmer; K.P. Vogel; R.B. Mitchell; R.K. Perrin (2008). “Net energy of cellulosic ethanol from switchgrass”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 105 (2): 464–469. doi:10.1073/pnas.0704767105. PMC 2206559 . PMID 18180449.
Hydroelectric energy. This form uses the gravitational potential of elevated water that was lifted from the oceans by sunlight. It is not strictly speaking renewable since all reservoirs eventually fill up and require very expensive excavation to become useful again. At this time, most of the available locations for hydroelectric dams are already used in the developed world.
With the fire on Eugene Street, King says, everything went smoothly. But it was one of the department’s early encounters with solar installations, and they know there is more to learn. In a few weeks, some of their responders will go to a solar panel emergency seminar in the neighboring town of Litchfield. He also hopes to work more closely with the town building department on future installations. “So any projected use of them in the future, we have an opportunity to provide input and take into consideration the planning of the structure,” He says. Firefighters in Manchester haven’t run into many solar panels yet, but they plan to be prepared when they do.
While renewable energy is plentiful, most of the environmental impact is related to the production of equipment to harness the energy. Even so the energy payback time, that is the amount of time it takes to repay the energy and resources gone into creating something such as a solar panel, is quite short.
Component Prototype and Pilot-Scale Production — R&D activities emphasizing development of prototype photovoltaic (PV) components or systems at pilot-scale with demonstrated cost, reliability or performance advantages
Other solar technologies are passive. For example, big windows placed on the sunny side of a building allow sunlight to heat-absorbent materials on the floor and walls. These surfaces then release the heat at night to keep the building warm. Similarly, absorbent plates on a roof can heat liquid in tubes that supply a house with hot water.
In 2001, the Australian Government introduced a Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET) program with the goal of increasing uptake of renewable energy in Australia’s electricity supply. In 2007, the Government committed to ensuring that 20 per cent of Australia’s electricity supply comes from renewable energy sources by 2020.
The most well-known GTL technology is Fischer-Tropsch (FT), which is used at very large gas fields, such as Qatar’s massive North Field, to transform natural gas into a slate of end products including diesel and lubricants. But the enormous capital investment required – Shell’s Pearl plant in Qatar cost about $20bn, for instance – makes FT uneconomical for anything but the largest gas fields.
Increased support for renewable energy could create even more jobs. The 2009 Union of Concerned Scientists study of a 25-percent-by-2025 renewable energy standard found that such a policy would create more than three times as many jobs (more than 200,000) as producing an equivalent amount of electricity from fossil fuels .
In the mid-1990s, development of both, residential and commercial rooftop solar as well as utility-scale photovoltaic power stations, began to accelerate again due to supply issues with oil and natural gas, global warming concerns, and the improving economic position of PV relative to other energy technologies. In the early 2000s, the adoption of feed-in tariffs—a policy mechanism, that gives renewables priority on the grid and defines a fixed price for the generated electricity—lead to a high level of investment security and to a soaring number of PV deployments in Europe.
Independent power producer AES Southland in 2012 proposed replacing an aging facility there with a new one. The estimated cost: $250 million to $275 million, an amount that customers would pay off with higher electricity bills.
^ Shilton A. N.; Powell N.; Mara D. D.; Craggs R. (2008). “Solar-powered aeration and disinfection, anaerobic co-digestion, biological CO(2) scrubbing and biofuel production: the energy and carbon management opportunities of waste stabilization ponds”. Water Sci. Technol. 58 (1): 253–8. doi:10.2166/wst.2008.666. PMID 18653962.
An artificial photosynthetic system could be realized by spatially separating solid-state or molecular water reduction and oxidation catalysts and connecting them to a light collection and charge separation system. In one such construct, the spatially separated electron–hole pairs provided by a photovoltaic assembly based on a solid-state junction, on either the macroscale or the nanoscale, are captured by the catalysts, and the energy is stored in the bond rearrangement of water to H2 and O2. Other concepts involve more intimate integration of the charge separation and chemical bond-forming functions, to avoid costs and system constraints associated with electrical contacts, wires, inverters, etc., involved with converting 1-eV photons into 1-eV chemical bonds through electricity as a discrete intermediary. One approach to this type of system is depicted in Fig. 1, in which the tightly integrated system is modeled after natural photosynthesis and serves as a model for the artificial photosynthetic systems that are discussed below.