Solar energy technology is a method of converting the energy that is emitted from the Sun into usable energy. There are several types of solar technology that are available on the market. Some of these solar technologies convert sunlight directly into electricity, while others harness solar heat. Both types can generate electricity and can be stored in thermal or battery storage. Solar panels and energy storage systems are growing in popularity as a way to reduce the world’s dependence on fossil fuels.
The amount of sunlight that strikes the earth’s atmosphere is around 1.75 x 105 TW, and 60% of that light reaches the surface continuously. If one percent of that light is converted into electricity at 10% efficiency, it would create a resource base of 105 TW. By 2050, the global energy demand is predicted to be about 25-30 TW. Single solar cells have achieved 20 percent efficiencies and concentrating PV systems can achieve 40% efficiency.
Perovskites were first discovered in 1839, and have made their way to the forefront of solar energy technology. These materials are relatively common and could be used to generate thousands of megawatts of power from the sun every hour. Professor David Mitzi of Duke University has been researching perovskites since the 1990s. These materials can be applied to glass windows and other surfaces without compromising their properties. These materials can also be used to print thin films on other materials, like cloth.
In addition to providing the skills necessary to design and install solar systems, graduates from the Solar Energy Technology program can expand their career opportunities into other fields. With this training, they can become energy analysts, journeyperson electrician/plumbers, project managers, and solar engineers. Ultimately, solar energy is a game changer, so don’t miss this opportunity. And get started by learning the basics of solar energy technology. You’ll be happy you did.
Passive solar architecture utilizes passive solar design techniques. Passive solar architecture makes use of passive principles such as a sun-shading roof and thermal mass. Combined with solar energy technology, these techniques can create well-lit spaces with a comfortable temperature range. Passive solar technologies are also available with active solar equipment, such as switchable windows. In order to take full advantage of these technologies, solar power systems must be paired with effective ways of storing the energy they generate.
In addition to supplying electricity to large cities and industrial sites, photovoltaics are also available for use on a small scale. Photovoltaics are so efficient that the International Space Station (ISS) uses two solar array wings to provide all of its electricity. Today, photovoltaic power stations have been constructed all over the world, with the largest ones in the United States, India, and China. This technology will continue to be a lifesaver in the future.
As solar energy continues to evolve, new materials and technologies are being discovered all the time. Perovskites are one such material. The combination of this material with silicon allows for more efficient PV systems. Perovskites have the potential to turn windows into energy-producing devices, and they are even being investigated as photovoltaic inks. Increasing production capacity of solar panels is an excellent way to lower the costs for consumers and businesses.
Federal support for solar technology has come in the form of ITCs and property tax credits. PTCs are incentives that provide investors with a partial tax write-off on the cost of solar panels. PTCs are also available for facilities that produce hydropower, municipal solid waste, and biomass in the U.S. With the help of these incentives, many businesses have invested in solar energy and are reaping the benefits. It may be a long time before the solar industry grows to become the largest renewable energy source in the world. However, as solar technology continues to expand, more people are converting to solar power.
While solar energy technologies have numerous advantages, they are limiting in certain regions. In areas closer to the equator, solar radiation is much higher. Using photovoltaics that follow the Sun’s position helps expand the solar energy potential even further. Another limitation is the time variation of the day. For example, solar radiation decreases during the night, limiting the amount of energy a solar panel can absorb in a single day. Moreover, clouds block the incoming light of the Sun, reducing the amount of energy that solar cells receive.
Photovoltaic cells are solar panels that convert light directly into electricity. A photovoltaic cell is a semiconductor that converts light directly into electrical current. The electrons knocked loose by sunlight flow through the material, creating electricity. The solar cell technology can generate energy as small as two watts in a single panel. Large solar-panel arrays, however, can generate hundreds of kilowatts of electricity.