The future of solar power and its importance


Since the inception of thermal power plants and solar panels the researchers have been very positive about its future. Both the economists and scientists have said that this is the key behind industrial growth. Researchers have always been on the lookout for a cheaper solution that can keep the environment protected. Solar power has come up as a cheaper alternative that has various advantages when it comes to energy consumption. The cost of setting up a solar power plant can be higher but it surely reduces energy costs in the long term. Since it acts as a natural alternative for energy consumption one does not need to pay for energy requirements.

There is a new form of technology named “perovskite” that has come up as a face of solar power. It has increased the prospects of solar energy and it has also come up as a viable business for most of the people. Solar cells are available in different forms and the silicon panels are the most common cells. Though the silicon cells are the most common solar panels available in the market there have been questions raised on their viability. Since the efficiency of silicon cells was far from efficient the researchers were on the lookout for a nice alternative that could be cost effective too.

One of the biggest solutions to get proper outcome from solar panels is to set them up properly. If the panels are not setup effectively and they don’t get proper sun rays then they would not be able to give effective outcome. It is important to contact professionals that have the experience in setting up roofs that can be good enough for all uses. The roof is one of the most important part of the house and you must make sure you contact professional companies like in order to get proper protection.

As mentioned above, “perovskite” has been one of the best and the most efficient solar panel developed by professionals. Researchers term it as the future of solar energy and they are highly positive about its prospects. This is a material made up of special crystal structure and it contains calcium titanium oxide. It acts as a good conductor to solar energy and has a high conversion rate. There have been various innovative materials being developed in recent times and perovskite is one of them. Though these panels are not available for commercial use at present but they have been highly successful in their trial run.

Two of the most advantageous points about perovskite is that they are cost effective and they can be developed at room temperatures. When compared with the silicone panels that can only be manufactured at higher temperatures, perovskites can easily be prepared at room temperature.  Along with that, they provide stiff competition to silicon panels when it comes to conversion rates. In recent times, the conversion rates of silicon panels had dropped to 17-18% but with perovskites one can expect to get a conversion rate that is more than 50%.

Importance of Solar Thermal Systems


As the different non-renewable energy sources like fossil fuels, groundwater, metal ores, and earth minerals continue to get depleted at an alarming rate, the significance of renewable energy sources is rising with every passing day. Geothermal heat, waves, tides, rain, wind, and sunlight are the staple renewable energy sources. Renewable sources of energy are largely harnessed for generating electricity, heating or cooling fluids, and for promoting locomotion. It is estimated that 19% of the global energy demand is being met by energy generated via the aforementioned natural elements. The renewable sources of energy are more evenly distributed throughout the planet in stark contrast to non-renewable energy sources concentrated in a few specific countries.

Distinct benefits accruing from the use of renewable sources are encouraging governments all over the world to exploit the same. For instance, solar thermal energy is being increasingly tapped for producing electricity that in turn is being used for heating water, heating up rooms and buildings and also for cooling (air-conditioning) or refrigeration. The advantages of using solar thermal systems are numerous and varied. Firstly, since the conversion process (from thermal energy to electrical energy) is completely natural, the environment doesn’t get polluted. Compared to the non-renewable sources, exploitation of the renewable sources does not lead to the release of greenhouse gases or hazardous chemicals.

Solvents or chemicals that are used for manufacturing the photovoltaic cells may cause a certain degree of pollution but that does not lead to a significant detrimental impact on the ecosystems. Then again, maintaining and running the different thermal solar systems in the long run turn out to be more economical than sustaining the systems and equipment used for making use of non-renewable resources. Thermal solar systems are extremely versatile as the same can be taken advantage of to power a watch or to produce sufficient electricity for lighting up an entire city.



Viability of Solar Power


If the ‘International Energy Agency’ based in Paris is to be believed, solar power will be the chief source of energy fuelling more than 90% of the world’s electricity requirements. On one hand, as demand for tapping solar energy to generate electricity keeps on rising with every passing day with rising unit costs of harnessing the non-renewable energy sources on the other, the economic viability or feasibility of the former process is being increasingly debated. It is also worth noting that the continuously perpetuating demand for solar energy will lead to an investment boom (for manufacturing photovoltaic cells and other types of solar heat collectors) estimated to be around $44 trillion.

On a comparative basis, the $900 billion that is being pumped in for the mining and extraction of fossil fuels is peanuts. However, this welcome news scoop has not yet encouraged angel investors and budding industrialists or large corporations around the world to weigh the pros and cons of building a solar thermal plant or system. It is only in a few select industrialized nations like Norway, Denmark, Iceland, France and USA that stakeholders have made themselves busy banking upon acquiescent administrative regimes and on subsidies doled out by them.

The IEA has also iterated that prices of photovoltaic panels will tumble by 70% for power generation firms and 60% for households resulting in considerable economy of scales. Furthermore, the cost of installing a solar panel has come down to $0.80 from $4 per watt in 2008. The years to watch will be between 2025 and 2030 when carbon (the source of fossil fuels) will cost about $50 a ton as against the $100 per MWh (megawatt hour) solar power cost. Carbon costs are expected to shoot up to $150 (per ton) by 2050 presuming that the lonely planet will use fossil fuels restrictively. More long-run PPAs (purchase power agreements) for setting up solar plants are being signed than PPAs for setting up fossil fuel plants which strongly indicates solar power will be economically reasonable in the near future.

History and Inception of Solar Energy


Spiraling costs of mining, extracting and harnessing non-renewable energy sources are compelling individuals and institutions to explore the viability of using renewable sources of energy as an alternative. Though many individuals feel that the US started to look for alternative sources to generate electricity for powering homes and cities as well as for catering to transportation needs after the 1970 ‘energy crisis’, attempts to manufacture devices for tapping sunlight, wind, and geothermal heat began about a century back. It was in the year 1876 that Richard Day along with his teacher William Grylls Adams first generated electricity from the sun’s rays using selenium cells.

Cut back to 1953 when three Americans design the first prototype of a solar or photovoltaic cell for the first time using silicon. This cell was powerful enough to generate sufficient electricity to run a small electrical device. In 1965, solar cells are available for sale but are prohibitively expensive. These cells slowly and gradually were being used to play a radio or power a toy. In the subsequent decades the two reigning superpowers USA and USSR (now Russia and CIS) extensively harnessed solar cells to running space programs and satellites. From the seventies of the last century, widespread use of the photo cells leads to a massive reduction in their unit costs-from $100 to about $20 for every watt.

Oil rigs situated off-shore heavily used solar-powered lighting to illuminate tops of the towers. Subsequently, these cells began to be used for heating water in homes and offices, for heating tap water, for running automobiles, and for lighting up homes. Solar power is being used for flying planes, supplying electricity to desert areas, for powering microwave towers, running watches and calculators, heating up microwave ovens and so on and so forth. With every passing day, photovoltaic cells are finding new applications.