News & Commentary
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Commentary from Industry Pros
I admire the energy of solar enthusiasts, much more than the Sun's light energy converted into electricity by solar panels. Journalists write on solar industries, some of them on some recent claims by PV scientists and technologists, and most importantly academicians, who claim to change the world of solar industry by their recent laboratory results.
In previous postings I have expressed my concerns about the relative return on investment and the economic fairness of roof-top solar panels. But I am also a big fan of solar power which is, after all, the most abundant and the most reliable energy source that we have at our disposal.
The world first single largest Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) Project is now a reality, the multi-million dollar solar project by the government of Abu-Dhabi, the first of its kind has been completed and successfully commissioned.
In this situation demand rose throughout the week as a strong high pressure system spread across the state bringing with it colder temperatures while at the same time shorter days required more lighting. One of the more troublesome realities of meteorology is that large, stable high pressure systems are often responsible for peak electrical demand in both winter and summer because they are associated with clear skies and temperature extremes.
Traditionally, solar power has not received much attention in the Lone Star state. Renewable energy in Texas, for the most part, means wind. No other state comes close to matching the output of West Texas' wind farms. But a heavy reliance on wind has its drawbacks. Wind has a tendency to disappear when you need it most. When the state is baking in typical 100 degree August high temperatures the wind tends not to blow.
In many parts of the world there are significant financial incentives for homeowners to install roof-top solar panels. This can include capital grants for the equipment, tax write-offs and/or Feed-In-Tariffs that guarantee that electricity produced by the solar panel will be purchased by the local utility at above-market prices. In Hawaii the annual cost of these incentives is at least $200 million. In Germany it is now in the $billions.
The Energy Chronicles is a three part series examining why we believe that carbon emissions cause climate change. In Part One we looked at the history of electricity and how it is generated. In Part Two we looked at the efficiency of various generation methods and the pollutants they leave behind. Now in Part Three, we'll examine the effects of those pollutants, and what they mean for our planet.
This document outlines a roadmap to reduce carbon emissions by a significant tonnage, initially across one nation and then globally. This will be achieved by refactoring and redeploying existing technology. It will not involve the development of entirely new or novel technologies to achieve this goal.
The Obama administration has made strides in trying to curb the output of carbon emissions in the US. While some of the EPA regulations have moved forward, some have stalled out for the time being. The Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) was set to replace the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), but was vacated by the courts in late 2011 due to aggressive legal challenges.
The Energy Chronicles is a series examining the evidence that supports the assumption of climate change caused by carbon emissions. In Part One, we looked at the history of electricity production and the various ways electricity is generated now. In Part Two we will examine the relative efficiency of these various generation methods and what they produce, other than electricity.