Tag Archives: Sun energy

Solar Power Comes of Age – How Harnessing the Sun Got Cheap and Practical

By Dickon Pinner and Matt Rogers

Solar power has been declared a winner before, only to flounder. It’s easy to remain skeptical today, given that solar power accounts for less than one percent of the global energy supply. But it is also expanding faster than any other power source, with an average growth rate of 50 percent a year for the past six years. Annual installations of photovoltaic panels increased from a capacity of less than 0.3 gigawatts in 2000 to 45 gigawatts in 2014—enough to power more than 7.4 million American homes. This time really is different: solar power is ready to compete on its own terms.

The momentum behind solar power is a result of innovations in regulation, industry, technology, and financing. In a number of markets, it no longer needs public subsidies to compete on price with conventional power sources, such as coal, natural gas, and nuclear power. The International Energy Agency, which has historically taken a conservative approach to evaluating solar power’s prospects, has projected that by 2050, in the best-case scenario, solar energy could be the single biggest source of power, generating as much as 27 percent of electricity worldwide.

If that happens, the consequences will be profound. Electricity will reach places that have never known what it means to get light or heat on demand. The price of electricity could fall, and utilities will have to figure out how to adapt. But the environmental gains, in terms of lower emissions of particulates, sulphur, and greenhouse gases, would be profound.

Read more » Foreign Affairs
See more » http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/143066/dickon-pinner-and-matt-rogers/solar-power-comes-of-age

Australian-first floating solar farm due to begin construction in SA

PHOTO: Solar panels will be floated at the wastewater facility at Jamestown similar to a current project in France. (Supplied: Infratech Industries)
PHOTO: Solar panels will be floated at the wastewater facility at Jamestown similar to a current project in France. (Supplied: Infratech Industries)

By Matthew Doran

An Australian-first floating solar power plant is expected to be operational in South Australia by early April, with construction about to begin.

The plant will float on a wastewater treatment facility in Jamestown in the state’s mid north.

Felicia Whiting of Infratech Industries said the plant was designed so that much of the construction could be carried out offsite and slotted together at the facility.

“We should see some plant on the site within about two weeks,” Ms Whiting said.

She also explained that as the solar panels were floating they would be kept cool by the water mass, making them about 57 per cent more efficient than land-based solar panels.

“It prevents water evaporation up to 90 per cent of the surface area covered, and for dry states and dry climates that’s a big water saving measure,” Ms Whiting said.

“It prevents the outbreak of blue-green algae by keeping the surface water cool, which is for treated wastewater an issue in water quality.

“By preventing photosynthesis, the energy from the sun goes into the panel rather than into the water.”

Read more » ABC
See  more » http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-05/australian-first-floating-solar-farm-for-sa/6281374