About Solar Power Technology

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Energy has been in use by people for everything from walking to sending astronauts into space. The growth of technology over the years has done some amazing things for mankind and the technology is only evolving as the years go by. One of the most innovative but the most under used technology of all the great evolution is solar power technology.

There are two types of energy:

  • Stored (potential) energy
  • Working (kinetic) energy

For example, the food a person eats contains chemical energy, and a person's body stores this energy until he or she sues it as kinetic energy during work or play (USEIA, 2017). Potential energy is stored energy and the energy of position. Kinetic energy is the motion of waves, electrons, atoms, molecules, substances, and objects. Chemical energy (Potential energy) is energy stored in the bonds of atoms and molecules. Batteries, biomass, petroleum, natural gas, and coal are examples of chemical energy. Chemical energy iKens converted to thermal energy when people burn wood in a fireplace or burn gasoline in a car's engine. Radiant energy (Kinetic energy) is electromagnetic energy that travels in transverse waves. Radiant energy includes visible light, x-rays, gamma rays, and radio waves. Light is one type of radiant energy.

Sunshine is radiant energy, which provides the fuel and warmth that make life on earth possible. The two main benefits of using solar energy:

  • Solar energy systems do not produce air pollutants or carbon dioxide.
  • Solar energy systems on buildings have minimal effects on the environment.

The main limitations of solar energy:

  • The amount of sunlight that arrives at the earth's surface is not constant.

The amount of sunlight varies depending on location, time of day, season of the year, and weather conditions. Solar photovoltaic costs are declining, but estimates vary across sources (EIA-860 Annual Electric Generators Report)

The amount of sunlight reaching a square foot of the earth's surface is relatively small, so a large surface area is necessary to absorb or collect a useful amount of energy. Costs for utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) systems have declined in recent years most sources show that system costs on a per-watt basis have fallen about 10% to 15% per year from 2010 through 2016. The level of those costs in certain years often varies across sources for reasons largely attributable to the way these costs are estimated. To estimate capital costs of generating technologies, analysts use one of two common methods total reported costs or aggregated component costs.

Both approaches help explain the cost of utility-scale solar PV systems. Reported costs: Using actual project data provides an empirical analysis that captures a large range of reported project costs in the market and accounts for the substantial variability in project design, location, and timing observed in the real world. Challenges with this approach include uncertainty about whether certain cost components are included in reported system costs, such as interconnection costs and the treatment of financing expense. Also, the data for each year reflect projects completed in that year, which do not necessarily reflect the costs of projects initiated in that year. When people use electricity in their homes, the electrical power is probably generated by burning coal or natural gas, by a nuclear reaction, or by a hydroelectric plant on a river, to name just a few sources. When people fill up a car's gasoline tank, the energy source is petroleum (gasoline) refined from crude oil and may include fuel ethanol made by growing and processing corn. Coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydropower, petroleum, and ethanol are called energy sources. Crude oil, natural gas, and coal are called fossil fuels because they were formed over millions of years by the action of heat from the earth's core and pressure from rock and soil on the remains (or fossils) of dead plants and creatures such as microscopic diatoms (USEIA, 2017).

Most of the petroleum products consumed in the United States are made from crude oil, but petroleum liquids can also be made from natural gas and coal. On the other hand, as one of the major alternatives to silicon, thin-film cadmium telluride cells represent 5% of PV production they are a lot cheaper to make, but also a lot less efficient (they convert less sunlight to power) and have struggled to compete with silicon on overall cost. In 2014 a scientist Professor Jon Major from the United Kingdom went in search of an alternative to cadmium which would be Tofu. The chemical used to make tofu and bath salts could also replace a highly toxic and expensive substance used to make solar cells, a new study has revealed. Cadmium chloride is currently a key ingredient in solar cell technology used in millions of solar panels around the world. This soluble compound is highly toxic and expensive to produce, requiring elaborate safety measures to protect workers during manufacture and then specialist disposal when panels are no longer needed (Greenpeace, 2017).

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About solar power technology. (2019, Oct 30). Retrieved February 29, 2024 , from

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