Solar energy is the direct conversion of sunlight into electricity. Solar cells are made from semiconductor material, similar to computer chips, which absorb incoming light and discharge electrons. The electrons form an electric current that can do work such as heat water or power a factory. Solar cells are combined into solar arrays and the arrays form solar panels. Once the energy from the sun reaches us, it can be turned into ‘usable energy’ in our homes and commercial spaces.
Almost no energy is wasted as ‘usable energy’ is penetrating every part of our lives. Solar energy created electricity, used to power homes and commercial spaces, through a process known as photovoltaics or PV. The PV panels capture the sun’s photons and convert them into electricity. If you want to use solar energy but having doubts about it, the following reasons can help change your mind right away.
Applications in a Variety of Fields
Solar energy can be used for a variety of things. You can make use of photovoltaics to generateheat or electricity. Solar energy can be used to power satellites in space, produce electricity in zones where there is no access to electricity, purify water in areas where clean water is scarce, and so much more. This is why solar power is becoming fast popular these days.
Reduces the Cost of Electricity
Your electricity bills will reduce since you can meet some of your electricity requirements with the electricity produced by your solar power system. The amount of money you save on your electricity or heating bill will be determined by the size of your solar power system and the amount of energy you use.
If you like solar power installed in your office, check out solar power installers Sydney has reliable solar power installers you can work with. Changing to commercial solar panels, for example, can save you a lot of money because the large size of the system can cover a large portion of your energy costs, so it is a good idea to make the switch.
Create New Jobs
Solar energy has a number of benefits, one of which is the creation of new jobs. The installation of solar panels accounts for a significant portion of the total cost of a solar system. This aids in the creation of local jobs. The use of solar energy systems has a positive impact on the community as well as the country’s economy.
Costs of Maintenance are Low
In most cases, solar energy systems do not require a lot of upkeep.You only need to clean them once or twice a year to keep them in good shape.
Peak Hours Energy Production
Peak energy production demand tends to be higher early in the evening and other times. As you might expect, this is when the price of electricity is at its highest. Solar energy is at its peak during those hours, and it is at its most productive. The solar power industry’s technology is always improving, and this will continue to happen in the future.
Education is not only limited to the four walls of the classroom. Real education starts with the classroom but it must not end there it must be echoed at the realistic real-life level. Thus, the idea of ecofriendly lifestyle that will be introduced to the children will not only start at home but it should be reflected within schools and later on in the outside real world. Through this, future generations will have the initiative and the knowledge to take care of the environment. Here are some direct and indirect ways to introduce such concepts to children at schools.
Model Responsible Behaviour
Responsible behaviour by teachers affects the perception of children when it comes to taking the responsibility of being able to maintain cleanliness and take care of their own trash. Responsible behaviour also teaches children to be responsible with their use of resources at school and even at home. Modelling helps validate and reflect the values that we want to impress on the children.
Embrace New Technology
Teaching children to embrace technology given them the ability to be critical on the use of technology especially with the ones which helps promote ecofriendly lifestyle. Introducing to children to the mechanisms of such technology gives them insight and appreciation to the ecofriendly new trends in technology. For example, one could teach children on how a solar powered street lights work or how wind turbines generate electricity for the building and the city.
Recycling as Class or School Initiative
Schools can initiate a recycling initiative where they collect as much recyclable materials around the campus or at home and at the end of the project it’s either they enjoy the earnings from selling the recycled materials or they donate the proceeds for a greater cause, either way it will encourage a sense of togetherness with the children as to working together to commit to a specific goal. This would help children appreciate more their capacity not only to help save mother earth but also to work together for a common good.
With carpooling adults can teach kids on the value of fuel and that in the act of saving fuel one can ride with other people towards a certain destination. This will help students realize the value of fuel saving and also it could be a lesson for socialization and cooperation. Carpooling with friends and classmates is also fun in a sense that you will take turns on who will have their carpooled the next day. Instead of having a lot of cars in the road, adults can explain that fewer cars could also help lessen traffic and pollution in their area.
Young children are the future of our world because they carry with them the potential to correct the wrongs and rectify the wrong ways of living that has been corrupting the past generations, thus in pushing for the agenda of the environment it always pays to include the children in such plans and movements.
The remarkable price drop in solar power over the last decade has seen large utility-scale solar power plants sprout up all over the world. From solar panels to concentrated solar towers to gigantic arrays of parabolic throughs, these projects come in various shapes and sizes. They do however all have one feature in common: they represent hope and belief in the fact that one day the world can and will be powered by renewable energy. Below we explore the world’s twenty largest solar power projects, ranked by total output.
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Meuro Solar Park facility is the largest of Germany’s 28 solar park power stations. With approximately 636,000 solar panels, it generates 166MW of power. It was named the 2012 international solar project of the year by Power-Gen. The park is located in Muero and Schipkau and was built on a former brown coal mine. Brown coal produces about 45 percent of Germany’s electrical power, but the use of coal is declining to meet the European Council’s goal of a 20 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.
19. Centinela Solar Energy facility – 170MW
Location: California, USA Type: Photovoltaics Completed: 2013
About 82,500 residences can be powered with the 170MW generated using photovoltaic solar panels at the Centinela Solar Energy Project facility. The facility is in the Imperial Valley region of California on 2,067 acres of land that was privately owned near the Baja California border of Mexico. In California, solar power industry is a fast growing sector. In addition to high insolation, solar power enjoys wide-spread community support because the state is mandated to have 25 percent of its electricity come from renewable resources by 2016 and 33 percent by 2020 .
18. Golmud Solar Park facility – 200MW
Location: Golmud, Qinghai, China Type: Photovoltaics Completed: 2011
Golmud Solar Park in the Quinhai province won the 2012 China Quality Power Project Award. A total of 570MW of solar parks are in Golmud, and many of them are in the Golmud Desert Cluster, including this 5.64km2 facility. The centrally located facility can conveniently distribute the 317.2GWh of green energy that it produces annually.
Solaben 3 is a parabolic trough thermal solar facility in the Solucar complex of Logrosan, Spain, which includes both solar thermal and photovoltaic facilities. Employing 12,960 Schott heat collector elements, Solaben can generate an estimated 100,000MWh/yr, which can supply power to about 94,000 residences.
16. Mesquite Solar I facility – 207MW
Location: Arizona, USA Type: Photovoltaics Completed: 2013
Tucked away in Arlington near the southwest corner of Arizona, the Mesquite Solar 1 construction began in 2011 and was completed in 2013 at a cost of about $600 million. Mesquite generates approximately 350 gigawatt-hours, an average of about 40MW of electricity annually. That provides annual offsets of about 200,000 tons of carbon emissions.
15. Charanka Solar Park facility – 221MW
Location: Patan, India Type: Photovoltaics Completed: 2012
The Charanka Solar Park facility is part of the Gujarat Solar Park, which hosts about 19 different projects by different developers that together will generate 500MW. Charanka alone is one of the world’s largest solar facilities. The site spans 4,900 acres and consists of 17 flat panel thin-film photovoltaic power systems that output 221MW at peak power. Together, the Gujarat Solar Park facilities will generate 968.5MW of power when all phases have been completed.
14. Genesis Solar Energy Project facility – 250MW
Location: California, USA Type: CSP Completed: 2014
Thermal power has been around for decades. Shuman built the world’s first solar thermal power station, which used parabolic troughs, in Egypt between 1912 and 1913. Shuman’s technology was revived in the 1970s when interest grew in replacing coal as a way to generate electricity. The goal is to have fewer emissions and for less need to import energy resources such as gas and oil. One large, updated iteration of Shuman’s invention is the Genesis Solar Energy Project facility. The project is a concentrated solar power station consisting of two 125MW sections. The facility is in the lower Colorado River Valley west of Blythe, California and is situated on 1,920 acres belonging to the Bureau of Land Management. Because Genesis is constructed within the Sonoran Desert habitat, there is ongoing concern about the project’s impact on bird populations.
13. Mount Signal Solar facility – 265.7MW
Location: California, USA Type: Photovoltaics Completed: 2014
Near the Mexican border, the Mount Signal Solar facility, formerly known as Imperial Valley Solar 1, resides in the city of Calexico, California. The facility cost about $365 million to build, but owner Silver Ridge Power expects Mount Signal to generate enough solar power for 72,000 San Diego area residences. The more than three million solar modules reside on 801 hectares of land replacing what used to be low productivity farmland.
12. Antelope Valley Solar Ranch facility – 266MW
Location: California, USA Type: Photovoltaics Completed: 2013
Another California photovoltaics project, The Antelope Valley Solar Ranch facility in northern Los Angeles County, generates 266MW, enough power for about 75,000 California homes. In car-dependent Los Angeles, this project displaces about 140,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually, which is the equivalent of taking 30,000 cars off the road each year.
11. Mojave Solar Project facility – 280MW
Location: California, USA Type: CSP Completed: 2014
Mojave Desert’s California plentiful solar thermal energy allows the Mojave Solar Project facility to generate steam, which goes through a steam turbine generator to produce electrical power. There are independently operable twin solar fields that each feed a 125MW power island. The electricity generated is expected to be enough to power 88,000 households and prevent more than 430 kilotons of carbon dioxide emission annually.
10. Solana Generating Station facility – 280MW
Location: Arizona, USA Type: Thermal Completed: 2013
When Solana Generating Station, a solar power plant by Abengoa, was commissioned, it was to be the largest parabolic trough plant in the world, but it lost the title to Ivanpah. Solana, completed in 2013, is located on 1,920 acres near Gila Bend, Arizona, about 70 miles southwest of Phoenix, the largest population center in Arizona. With a capacity of 280MW, there should be enough power for 70,000 Phoenix area residences. It will also offset 475,000 tons of carbon dioxide every year.
In February 2012, Agua Caliente won the project of the year award. The 290MW photovoltaic power station in Yuma County, Arizona uses series 3 Cadmium Telluride photovoltaic panels manufactured by a U.S. company, First Solar. The U.S. Department of Energy provided a $967 million loan guarantee.
8. California Valley Solar Ranch facility – 292MW
Location: California USA Type: Photovoltaics Completed: 2012
The California Valley Solar Ranch is aptly named, as it is located on 1,966 acres of former grazing land in Carrizo Plain, northeast of California Valley. The photovoltaic power plant, generates 250MW with SunPower’s high-efficiency, crystalline photovoltaic panels and about 88,000 tracking devices. It is expected to power about 100,000 residences. Although the plant only has actual output of 25 percent of its total capacity, it generates the power mid-day when electricity is most in demand and the price is much higher.
7. Longyangxia Dam Solar Park facility – 329MW
Location: Qinghai, China – 320MW Type: Photovoltaics Completed: 2013
Longyangxia Dam Solar Park is part of the hydro-solar project, designed and built by POWERCHINA. The facility is located in China’s Qinghai Province at the Longyangxia Dam on the Yellow River. Construction took a surprisingly short nine months from its start in March 2013 to testing in December. The solar portion of the park generates up to 320MW of power. Hydro generation units coupled with the solar photovoltaic outputs are regulated to mitigate any solar power fluctuations, giving this facility an advantage over solar-only facilities.
6. Solar Energy Generating Station facility – 354MW
Location: California, USA Type: CSP Completed: 1984
The Solar Energy Generating Systems (SEGS), concentrated solar power facilities, together generate 354MW from three locations. There are nine solar power plants with a total of 936,384 mirrors on more than 1,600 acres in the Mojave Desert of California. SEGS I and II generate 44MW at the Daggett site; SEGS III-VII generate 150MW at the Kramer Junction site; and SEGS VIII-IX generate 160MW at the Harper Lake site. The plants at Kramer Junction and Harper Lake are partially owned and operated by NextEra Energy Resources. The solar plants provide enough power for 232,500 residences, and displace 3,800 tons of pollution annually from avoiding the use of fossil fuels such as oil to produce electricity.
5. Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System facility – 397MW
Location: California USA Type: Thermal Completed: 2013
The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System also is located in the California Mojave Desert, 40 miles southwest of Las Vegas, Nevada. Although the project was scaled back from the original design to avoid building on the desert tortoise’s habitat, it still is in the top five of the largest global solar facilities. It can generate 397MW of power in the concentrated solar thermal plant. The 173,500 two-mirror heliostats focus solar energy on boilers in three solar power towers. A downside to the site is that clouds, jet contrails and weather kept the plant from producing about half of its expected annual output in 2014.
4. Desert Sunlight Solar Farm facility – 550MW
Location: California, USA Type: Photovoltaics Completed: 2015
The Desert Sunlight Solar Farm is yet another large project in the Mojave Desert of California. It was built in two phases on more than six square miles next to Joshua Tree National Park. This solar farm is a 550MW photovoltaic power station with about 8.8 million First Solar thin-film cadmium telluride modules. The U.S. Department of Energy partially guaranteed approximately $1.46 billion in loans for this facility.
3. Topaz Solar Farm facility – 550MW
Location: California, USA Type: Photovoltaics Completed: 2014
Located in the U.S., built and maintained a U.S. company, First Solar, the Topaz Solar Farm Facility is the world’s third largest and one of the most expensive solar facilities so far. Upon completion in 2014, the construction cost was $2.5 billion. Topaz captures the California sun with 9 million thin-film Cadmium Telluride photovoltaic modules and generates 550MW of power. That power can help California utilities meet mandates to get 33% of their energy from renewable sources by 2020.
2. Solar Star facility – 579MW
Location: California, USA Type: Photovoltaics Completed: End of 2015
In 2011, the U.S. Department of Energy issued a $646 million loan guarantee, so construction began on the Antelope Valley Solar Ranch 1, another large facility located in the western Mojave Desert of southern California. The plant will use about 3.8 million solar panels. About 20% of those will be mounted on single-axis tracking racks. By generating 579MW of electricity, the project will power the equivalent of 75,000 residences per year and displace carbon emissions the equivalent of taking 30,000 cars off the road.
1. Gujarat Solar Park facility – 856.81 MW
Location: Gujarat, India Type: Photovoltaics Completed: 2011, 2012