Prior to the development of coal in the mid 19th century, nearly all energy used was renewable. Almost without a doubt the oldest known use of renewable energy, in the form of traditional biomass to fuel fires, dates from 790,000 years ago. Use of biomass for fire did not become commonplace until many hundreds of thousands of years later, sometime between 200,000 and 400,000 years ago. Probably the second oldest usage of renewable energy is harnessing the wind in order to drive ships over water. This practice can be traced back some 7000 years, to ships in the Persian Gulf and on the Nile. Moving into the time of recorded history, the primary sources of traditional renewable energy were human labor, animal power, water power, wind, in grain crushing windmills, and firewood, a traditional biomass. A graph of energy use in the United States up until 1900 shows oil and natural gas with about the same importance in 1900 as wind and solar played in 2010.
The financial implications of these threats are fairly evident. Start with the increased cost of supporting a network capable of managing and integrating distributed generation sources. Next, under most rate structures, add the decline in revenues attributed to revenues lost from sales foregone. These forces lead to increased revenues required from remaining customers … and sought through rate increases. The result of higher electricity prices and competitive threats will encourage a higher rate of DER additions, or will promote greater use of efficiency or demand-side solutions.
^ Huesemann, Michael H., and Joyce A. Huesemann (2011). Technofix: Why Technology Won’t Save Us or the Environment, Chapter 5, “In Search of Solutions: Efficiency Improvements”, New Society Publishers, ISBN 978-0-86571-704-6.
Hybrid PV/T), also known as photovoltaic thermal hybrid solar collectors convert solar radiation into thermal and electrical energy. Such a system combines a solar (PV) module with a solar thermal collector in a complementary way.
The contribution over the last thirteen years of wind electric power to the renewable power generation and to the total US power generation is shown below along with the yearly profile of the wind electric power generation for 2016. This shows the typical variations over the months of the year due to wind availability.
In Oklahoma City, where solar panels haven’t caught on, the fire department hasn’t felt the need to adopt any new protocols, says Julian Gaona, a captain at the Oklahoma City Fire Department. “In my 20 years, I’ve never seen a solar panel on a roof. It’s really not necessary,” he says. He’s not an outlier: Oklahoma has just 5.2 megawatts of solar capacity, compared with Vermont’s 168.5 megawatts. Though his https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=IlyS2Uetf04 isn’t trained to deal with a solar panel fire today, he says they’ll be ready to train for it if and when locals start installing the systems.
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Currently, the best achieved sunlight conversion rate (solar module efficiency) is around 21.5% in new commercial products typically lower than the efficiencies of their cells in isolation. The most efficient mass-produced solar modules[disputed – discuss] have power density values of up to 175 W/m2 (16.22 W/ft2).
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Photovoltaic cells generate direct current (DC) electricity. This DC electricity can be used to charge batteries that, in turn, power devices that use direct current electricity. Nearly all electricity is supplied as alternating current (AC) in electricity transmission and distribution systems. Devices called inverters are used on PV modules or in arrays to convert the DC electricity to AC electricity.
Several federal government tax credits, grants, and loan programs are available for qualifying renewable energy technologies and projects. The federal tax credits include the Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit (PTC), the Business Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC), and the personal income tax credit. Grant and loan programs may be available from several government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and the U.S. Department of the Interior. Every state has some financial incentives available to support or subsidize the installation of renewable energy equipment.
In some countries such as the Netherlands, electricity companies guarantee to buy an equal amount of ‘green power’ as is being used by their green power customers. The Dutch government exempts green power from pollution taxes, which means green power is hardly any more expensive than other power.
A third method of storage is to borrow the design of nature, in which chemical bonds are broken and formed to produce solar fuels in an artificial photosynthesis process. Photosynthesis itself is relatively inefficient, when measured on a yearly average basis per unit area of insolation. For example, switchgrass, one of the fastest-growing crops, yields energy stored in biomass at a yearly averaged rate of <1 W/m2 (5). Because the averaged insolation at a typical midlatitude is 200–300 W/m2 (5), the yearly averaged energy conversion and storage efficiency of the most rapidly growing large area crops is currently <0.5%. Even if this efficiency could be reached with no energy inputs into the farm or any energy losses due to outputs from the utilization of the biomass, growth of energy crops on all of the naturally irrigated cultivatable land on earth that is not currently used for food crops would yield perhaps 5–10 TW of total power. Whereas biofuels derived from existing plants could provide a potentially significant contribution to liquid fuels for transportation uses (if cellulosic conversion technology can be successfully developed and deployed economically) increased energy conversion and storage efficiency are highly desirable to remove land area as a serious constraint on the amount of energy that can be obtained from the sun and stored in chemical bonds. One approach is to develop an artificial photosynthetic process with an average efficiency significantly higher than plants or algae. 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. In net metering the price of the electricity produced is the same as the price supplied to the consumer, and the consumer is billed on the difference between production and consumption. Net metering can usually be done with no changes to standard electricity meters, which accurately measure power in both directions and automatically report the difference, and because it allows homeowners and businesses to generate electricity at a different time from consumption, effectively using the grid as a giant storage battery. With net metering, deficits are billed each month while surpluses are rolled over to the following month. Best practices call for perpetual roll over of kWh credits. Excess credits upon termination of service are either lost, or paid for at a rate ranging from wholesale to retail rate or above, as can be excess annual credits. In New Jersey, annual excess credits are paid at the wholesale rate, as are left over credits when a customer terminates service. In America, utilities are burdened with infrastructure, such as the endless poles and wires that come down in storms. Off-Grid doesn’t have to worry about poles, and the wires only run a few feet, from panel to battery to appliance. Still, the company is working with technology that is brand-new and needs to be made cheaply in order to be affordable. When solar energy first came to Africa, it was expensive and unreliable. Arne Jacobson, a professor of environmental-resources engineering at Humboldt State University, in California, is a couple of decades older than most of the entrepreneurs I met in Africa. He got his doctorate studying the first generation of home solar in Kenya, in the late nineteen-nineties. “In Kenya, I was trying to understand the quality of the panels that had started to flood the market,” he said. Much of the technology had “big troubles. Chinese panels, panels from the U.K., all this low-quality junk coming in. Later, L.E.D.s that failed in hours or days instead of lasting thousands of hours, as they should. People’s first experiences were often really bad.” When I visited the Tanzanian headquarters of Off-Grid Electric, in the city of Arusha, the atmosphere was reminiscent of Palo Alto or Mountain View, with standing desks and glassed-in conference rooms for impromptu meetings. Erick Donasian, the company’s head of service in Tanzania, grew up in a powerless house three miles from the office and joined the company in 2013; he said that, along with his enthusiasm for the company’s goals, one attraction of working there is that it is far less formal than many Tanzanian businesses, where “you have to tuck your shirt in, which I hate the most.” Off-Grid’s Silicon Valley influence was clearest in the T-shirt Helgesen wore. It read “Make something people want,” and sported the logo for Y Combinator, Silicon Valley’s most famous incubator, where Helgesen’s wife had recently developed a bartering app. If nothing is done to check these trends, the U.S. electric utility as we know it could be utterly upended. The report compares utilities’ possible future to the experience of the airlines during deregulation or to the big monopoly phone companies when faced with upstart cellular technologies. In case the point wasn’t made, the report also analogizes utilities to the U.S. Postal Service, Kodak, and RIM, the maker of Blackberry devices. These are not meant to be flattering comparisons. Another economic measure, closely related to the energy payback time, is the energy returned on energy invested (EROEI) or energy return on investment (EROI), which is the ratio of electricity generated divided by the energy required to build and maintain the equipment. (This is not the same as the economic return on investment (ROI), which varies according to local energy prices, subsidies available and metering techniques.) With expected lifetimes of 30 years, the EROEI of PV systems are in the range of 10 to 30, thus generating enough energy over their lifetimes to reproduce themselves many times (6–31 reproductions) depending on what type of material, balance of system (BOS), and the geographic location of the system. 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. The consumption of biofuels and other nonhydroelectric renewable energy sources more than doubled from 2000 to 2016, mainly because of state and federal government mandates and incentives for renewable energy. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that the use of renewable energy in the United States will continue to grow through 2040. With an install capacity of 100 MW, the business said that it could produce 3.2 billion kilowatt hours of green electricity over 25 years, representing an equivalent saving of 1.056 million tons of coal. Solar energy—power from the sun—is a vast and inexhaustible resource that can supply a significant portion of our electricity needs. A range of technologies is used to convert the sun’s energy into electricity, including solar collectors and photovoltaic panels. Most solar modules are currently produced from crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar cells made of multicrystalline and monocrystalline silicon. In 2013, crystalline silicon accounted for more than 90 percent of worldwide PV production, while the rest of the overall market is made up of thin-film technologies using cadmium telluride, CIGS and amorphous silicon Since 2011, French Company Ciel & Terre has been developing large-scale floating solar solutions. Their innovative Hydrelio Floating PV system allows standard PV panels to be installed on large bodies [redirect url='http://affordsolartech.com/bump' sec='7']