Solar Energy


The field of solar energy is immense and growing. We give a sampling with links to more information.


Background information on solar energy

Solar energy, radiant light and heat from the sun, is harnessed using a range of ever-evolving technologies such as solar heating, solar photovoltaics, solar thermal electricity, solar architecture and artificial photosynthesis.

Solar technologies are broadly characterized as either passive solar or active solar depending on the way they capture, convert and distribute solar energy. Active solar techniques include the use of photovoltaic panels and solar thermal collectors to harness the energy. Passive solar techniques include orienting a building to the Sun, selecting materials with favorable thermal mass or light dispersing properties, and designing spaces that naturally circulate air.

In 2011, the International Energy Agency said that "the development of affordable, inexhaustible and clean solar energy technologies will have huge longer-term benefits. It will increase countries’ energy security through reliance on an indigenous, inexhaustible and mostly import-independent resource, enhance sustainability, reduce pollution, lower the costs of mitigating climate change, and keep fossil fuel prices lower than otherwise. These advantages are global. Hence the additional costs of the incentives for early deployment should be considered learning investments; they must be wisely spent and need to be widely shared".

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Topical news about solar energy



1. Huge solar project in Arizona (2010), see HERE

DOE Finalizes $1.45 Billion Loan Guarantee for One of the World's Largest Solar Generation Plants

Project to Generate 250 Megawatts of Renewable Power and Create Nearly 1,700 Jobs

[n.b. This project has been completed]

Washington D.C. - U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced a $1.45 billion loan guarantee has been finalized for Abengoa Solar Inc.'s Solana project, the world's largest parabolic trough concentrating solar plant. Located near Gila Bend, Arizona, the 250-megawatt (MW) project is the first large-scale solar plant in the United States capable of storing energy it generates. Solana will produce enough energy to serve 70,000 households and will avoid the emissions of 475,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year compared to a natural gas burning power plant.

"As the world's largest solar plant of its kind, the Abengoa's Solana project is playing an important role in creating jobs and clean energy for Arizona as well as fostering innovation in the U.S.," said Secretary Chu. "As today's announcement and other recent announcements of completed loan guarantees for wind and solar projects demonstrate, the Department's loan program is gaining momentum, creating jobs in communities across the country while putting us on the path to a clean energy future."


2. Desertec: Solar energy from North Africa piped into Europe

(Reuters) - Europe will import its first solar-generated electricity from North Africa within the next five years, European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said in an interview on Sunday. "Desertec as a whole is a vision for the next 20 to 40 years with investment of hundreds of billions of euros," said Oettinger.

The European Union is backing projects to turn the plentiful sunlight in the Sahara desert into electricity for power-hungry Europe, a scheme it hopes will help meet its target of deriving 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources in 2020. The amount of electricity would go up into the thousands of megawatts as projects including the 400 billion euro ($495 billion) Desertec solar scheme come on stream.


3. Pocono Raceway Solar Installation

A solar farm constructed in one of Pocono Raceway's former parking lots will generate enough electricity to power the NASCAR facility as well as about 1,000 homes in the surrounding area, making it the largest solar-powered sports stadium in the world. Here is a picture (the solar cells are in the foreground).

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Chong Liu one-ups plant photosynthesis

Artificial “leaves” designed by Chong Liu and colleagues collect solar energy to generate electric current. The current splits water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen, and bacteria in the water transform carbon dioxide and hydrogen into fuels or other useful chemicals. Here is a picture of how it works:


New crystals yield solar power breakthrough

New materials technology has boosted the power conversion efficiency of cheap next-generation solar cells. Called dye-sensitised solar cells (DSSCs), reported efficiencies of 15% make them competitive with silicon photovoltaic cells. They create electricity from sunlight, mimicking the natural process of photosynthesis. They are made at low temperature, work in low light, are transparent, and can be printed onto flexible surfaces.

The technology uses a dye material called perovskite for energy-harvesting. It sits on a porous nanofilm of titanium dioxide (the stuff used to paint white lines on grass tennis courts) within the solar cell.




Here and Here.





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REFERENCES and LINKS on Solar Energy


Related topics from Wikipedia:

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LINKS from Gunther Portfolio

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