Viable solar energy has been a long-sought-after goal, but with new and affordable technologies, we might soon be able to make the switch
We have come a long way in taming the sun’s chaotic energy since 19th century efforts to create a solar motor. Today we can efficiently heat water and buildings and even generate substantial transmittable power all from this abundant light source.
Our ability to make use of this power source has coalesced into two distinct flavors. First, we have finite, localized systems: the solar hot water heaters, passive solar heating and the like, where solar energy must be used or stored at the production site, or else it is lost. Second, we have developed more universal technologies, which generate electricity. These systems include photovoltaics—the direct conversion of sunlight into electricity via semiconductors—and concentrated solar power—the production of electricity via high-temperature steam turbines or thermodynamic engines. All solar technologies have been growing steadily over the past couple of decades, but the progress has been truly remarkable with photovoltaics: more than 1,000-fold since the late 1980s and continuing at a robust pace.
Solar is the most abundant energy resource on planet Earth. Even after accounting for weather variation, the average solar power received by the continents alone peaks at 23 million gigawatts. For comparison, a standard size nuclear power plant is one gigawatt. It dwarfs all the other renewable energy resources combined—including wind, hydropower and geothermal—and one year’s worth of solar would far exceed the reserves of finite energy resources (nuclear and fossil) even when counting unconventional shale and deep-sea oil and methane.
Unfortunately, unlike countries such as even the relatively cloudy Germany, solar as an energy source still goes largely unnoticed in the U.S., where the resource is still viewed as marginal by many in decision-making positions. In particular, there is a widely held perception that:
- The solar resource requires too much space to exploit.
- Solar energy is too expensive.
- Intermittency caused by weather, day-night cycles and seasons is a showstopper.
Compared with many other energy sources, solar can require relatively little space to create power.
The Latest on: Viable solar energy
- Solar Sister Nigeria Empowers 1,522 Women on February 10, 2019 at 7:22 pm
have used solar energy products to make life easy for people in the rural areas, while building viable business for themselves in the process. Many of these entrepreneurs have today built business ... […]
- Yale’s solar-powered electric boat is taking a lot of crap… literally! on February 10, 2019 at 10:57 am
Funding was provided by a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Connecticut Department of Energy ... solar-electric technology for this vessel demonstrated that is a viable alternative ... […]
- The Green New Deal Just Speeds Up The Current Green Wave. Case In Point: Solar-Plus-Storage on February 10, 2019 at 9:01 am
Wind and solar energy are now major players as a result — bipartisan ... But it must first become politically viable. And right now, that’s not possible for a number of reasons: the U.S. president is ... […]
- Clean Energy Initiative dinner brings local leaders together to discuss project, solar viability on February 8, 2019 at 10:00 pm
MARQUETTE — Marquette’s long winters and cold temperatures may make many people wonder if solar power is a viable and sustainable clean energy option in Marquette County. Through the Clean Energy Init... […]
- CrossBoundary Energy Access Raises $16 Million to Finance 190 Solar Minigrids in Sub-Saharan Africa on February 8, 2019 at 7:26 am
After designing a viable structure, they have made significant ... CrossBoundary estimates that solar minigrids offer the most cost-effective means of providing energy access to at least 100 million a... […]
via Google News and Bing News