Solar power generation more powerful in Europe this century

Dec 16, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Climate change will increase the amount of electricity generated by solar power in some parts of the world while decreasing it in others.

The University of Leeds findings, published in the journal Energy and , have major impacts for countries looking at what type of solar power to build, where to build it and financial rates of return.

One of the study's authors, Professor Piers Forster from the School of Earth and Environment, said: " are now good enough for making continental scale predictions of several types of change, making them an increasingly useful tool for developing adaption strategies."

The study showed that projected changes in temperature and insolation () during 2010-2080 will affect two fast-growing solar technologies: concentrated solar power (CSP) and photovoltaics (PV).

For Europe, there were positive results for both photovoltaics and CSP outputs.

Dr Rolf Crook from the Energy and Resources Research Institute, another of the study's authors, said the relative contribution from changes in insolation and temperature to changes in solar power output depended on the location - for example, in Europe the increased output is largely caused by increased insolation.

In mainland Europe, outputs of CSP, an industry-scale solar power that uses mirrors to focus large amounts of sunlight on a small area, will increase by about 10% (5.5% in the UK).

Outputs of PV, large flat panels that convert sunlight directly into , will increase in mainland Europe by about 3.5% (1.2% in the UK), the study found.

In other parts of the world, PV output will increase by a few percent in China, see little change in and Australia, and decrease by a few percent in western USA and Saudi Arabia.

CSP output will increase by several percent in China and a few percent in Algeria and Australia, and decrease by a few percent in western USA and .

Even an increase of a few percent in CSP outputs in North Africa could have substantial benefits for the two billion euro Desertec (EU-MENA) project, the world's most ambitious solar power plant, incorporating CSP, PV and wind technology across 12 sq kilometres.

Desertec aims to provide half the electricity used by Europe, the Middle East and northern Africa by 2050. Building work is due to start next year in Morocco. A similar concept has been proposed for Australia and Asia.

The study found CSP is more sensitive to than PV.

Dr. Crook said the findings would be significant as solar power increasingly contributed to electricity generation in a low-carbon economy.

The findings come at the same time the government withdraws subsidies for households planning to install PV solar panels.

Dr. Crook said: "We have shown, perhaps surprisingly, that climate change will have a positive impact on the output of solar power plants in many parts of the world. This further strengthens the case for research and investment in solar power today. Subsidies play a vital role in driving down the cost of solar technology. Cutting subsidies would only have a negative effect."

Regions were selected for the study on account of existing or planned large PV or CSP solar power plants.

The findings are linked only to climate changes impacts; whether countries own or plan to own a large or small quantity of infrastructure was included in the calculations.

Explore further: Morocco raises 1.7 bn euros for solar plants

More information: The article Climate change impacts on future photovoltaic and concentrated solar power energy output'is published in Energy & Environmental Science DOI: 10.1039/c1ee01495a

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

World Bank musters $5.5 billion for solar projects

Dec 09, 2009

The World Bank announced Wednesday 5.5 billion dollars would be invested in solar energy projects in five countries of the Middle East and North Africa in a bid to combat climate change.

Will Europe Be Powered by the Sahara

Nov 04, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Europe has long been interested in developing alternative energy sources. And, one of the more interesting places that some Europeans are looking for solar power is the Sahara. With the vast ...

Desert power: A solar renaissance

Apr 01, 2008

What does the future hold for solar power? “Geotimes” magazine looks into more efficient ways of turning the sun’s power into electricity in its April cover story, “Desert Power: A Solar Renaissance.”

Is solar power cheaper than nuclear power?

Aug 09, 2010

One of the issues associated with shifting from using fossil fuels to alternative energy sources is the cost. While adherents of alternative energy tout its benefits, many are skeptical, pointing out that ...

Recommended for you

The state of shale

16 hours ago

University of Pittsburgh researchers have shared their findings from three studies related to shale gas in a recent special issue of the journal Energy Technology, edited by Götz Veser, the Nickolas A. DeCecco Professor of Che ...

Website shines light on renewable energy resources

Dec 18, 2014

A team from the University of Arizona and eight southwestern electric utility companies have built a pioneering web portal that provides insight into renewable energy sources and how they contribute to the ...

Better software cuts computer energy use

Dec 18, 2014

An EU research project is developing tools to help software engineers create energy-efficient code, which could reduce electricity consumption at data centres by up to 50% and improve battery life in smart ...

Cook farm waste into energy

Dec 17, 2014

It takes some cooking, but turning farm waste into biofuels is now possible and makes economic sense, according to preliminary research from the University of Guelph.

User comments : 14

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Nanobanano
1 / 5 (4) Dec 16, 2011
I'm not sure how climate models make long term generalized predictions, but here's an idea for seeing extremes:

Why not take an good existing global WEATHER and Tropical Cyclone model, like the Top 10 used by Europe, NHC, Canada, and Japan, and take all the data from the past 10 years in global meteorology, and then increase SST and lower troposphere temps in the models by average 1C (graded for latitude), and see what the "weather" models predict?

This would allow you to possibly simulate how bad droughts, hurricanes, and tornado outbreaks could be.

Of course, you wouldn't actually be able to see tornados form, but you would be able to see the jet stream and low pressure system conditions that might lead to them...

Some of the models are very good at predicting extreme precip events as well, so if you put in the data, you would at least get ball park figures based on a REAL scenario adjusted for future temperatures...
Nanobanano
1 / 5 (3) Dec 16, 2011
Admittedly, the main problem with that approach is Climate change involves more than just changes in extremes.

Climate change involves major changes in global ocean currents, jet stream patterns, and trade wind patterns, all of which will significantly impact weather and storm forecast TRACKS for all seasons of the year.

That is, climate change is not just the intensity of a high or low pressure system, but also the path(s) they are likely to take, and how fast they are likely to be moving, or how long they are likely to stall, and how often per decade such events are likely to happen.

But my idea was at least a baseline to see what might be "possible".

I mean, why doesn't hte NHC at least take the HWRF and GFDL intensity models, and take "typical" 2000 to 2010 global hurricane season data, adjusted by the predicted rise in SST for each future decade, and SHOW people the consequence?

At least that would be somewhat meaningful...
antialias_physorg
2 / 5 (1) Dec 16, 2011
you would at least get ball park figures based on a REAL scenario adjusted for future temperatures...

And how exactly do tornados affect insolation?
(Or tropical cyclones which aren't an issue in Canada, Northern Africa, China, Australia, the US or Europe - and likely will not be - even with global warming)
rawa1
1 / 5 (4) Dec 16, 2011
The price of solar energy indicates, this way of energy production is very material demanding. Now the word is running out of energy, but we are just replacing the increased energy consumption with accelerated raw material sources consumption. We should implement completely new paradigm worth of 21 century for not to destroy the life environment and the rest of raw material sources - and the only viable option is the cold fusion by now.
CanadaSolarPower
1 / 5 (1) Dec 16, 2011
I mean, why doesn't hte NHC at least take the HWRF and GFDL intensity models, and take "typical" 2000 to 2010 global hurricane season data, adjusted by the predicted rise in SST for each future decade, and SHOW people the consequence?

At least that would be somewhat meaningful...


Unfortunately, it often doesn't matter how compelling the evidence is; people see what they want to see.
Nanobanano
2 / 5 (2) Dec 16, 2011
And how exactly do tornados affect insolation?
(Or tropical cyclones which aren't an issue in Canada, Northern Africa, China, Australia, the US or Europe - and likely will not be - even with global warming)


Ok, you clearly know nothing about the subject of Weather history, much less climate change.

Some of the worst natural disasters in Canada's history are related to and even directly caused by Tropical Cyclones.

Australia also has a LONG history of some of the most powerful Tropical Cyclones on record, including Cyclone Monica (which has an unofficial Dvorak intensity greater than Super Typhoon Tip,) and just last year, Cyclone Yasi, which was one of the biggest IKE cyclones ever seen...

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclone_Yasi

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclone_Zoe

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclone_Monica#Aftermath_and_records

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Australian_history/Cyclone_disasters#Major_events
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Dec 16, 2011
Let me ask again: How exactly does this affect insolation in the studied areas much?

If you check your link: For Australia that's about one major cyclone every two years on average.

Even if you double that due to global warming it won't change insolation by any appreciable amount.

That cyclones have, on occasion, caused great damage is not in dispute. In dispute is that modeling their increased occurrence will have any effect on the issue which is at the core of this study.
Nanobanano
1 / 5 (3) Dec 16, 2011
(Or tropical cyclones which aren't an issue in Canada, Northern Africa, China, Australia, the US or Europe - and likely will not be - even with global warming)


Wait, what kind of dumb fuck are you?

Did you just say Cyclones aren't an issue in the U.S.?

Cyclones WILL be an issue in Europe, you idiot.

The mediterranian already has "sub-tropical" lows every several years. If 30N to 45N heats by 2 to 4C, as climatologist predict it will, mediterranian will get true hurricanes. England, Spain, France, and Portugal will get them off the atlantic as well.

Hurricanes obviously affect insolation, have you ever looked at a visible satellite image? But that's not even the bad part, it's the fact they'll destroy the wind and solar farms is the real problem...

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Canada_hurricanes

Imagine adding a category or two to all of those since SST will be 2 to 4 C higher at relevant latitudes...
Nanobanano
1 / 5 (2) Dec 16, 2011
That cyclones have, on occasion, caused great damage is not in dispute. In dispute is that modeling their increased occurrence will have any effect on the issue which is at the core of this study.


If average convection goes up, that means cloud cover goes up, which also applies to hurricanes/TC as well as any other low pressure system.

Many "remnant lows" from hurricanes, Tropical storms, and even "invests" end up eventually re-curving into western Europe. So if these remnats will be stronger on average, that will increase average cloud cover in Europe...

wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2002

Yesterday's article is pretty good.

Already knew this from a good while back, but the point is it supports my position.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Dec 16, 2011
Wait, what kind of dumb fuck are you?

Did you just say Cyclones aren't an issue in the U.S.?

Cyclones WILL be an issue in Europe, you idiot.

Hmm..From your use of language I assume you concede a loss on this issue. I accept.
Pirouette
1 / 5 (4) Dec 16, 2011
@Nano. . . .actually, Cyclones are NOT an issue in North America, except maybe after effects on the West coast of Mexico, U.S. and Canada where the winds in the South Pacific MIGHT influence other weather patterns. The issues are hurricanes that form off western Africa and eastern Mexico in warmer latitudes. But cyclones are different from hurricanes in that cyclones do not blow in a spiral pattern as do hurricanes. Cyclones tend to blow straight across a land mass instead.
As far as I know, cyclones do not occur in the U.S. We get tornadoes that can start and end anywhere, and hurricanes move up and/or across in any direction. The last bad hurricane we had moved up the East coast of the U.S. and did a lot of damage and flooding. I think it might also have hit a part of Canada, if I'm not mistaken.
unknownorgin
1 / 5 (2) Dec 16, 2011
All climate models assume that the solar output is set in stone and economys will not shift and wars will not end or new wars start all of witch change the number of new solar power plants and many other varibles.
COCO
1 / 5 (1) Dec 19, 2011
I thought AGW was NFG.
rubberman
not rated yet Dec 21, 2011
I thought AGW was NFG.


As in a "Now For Gone" conclusion. It is.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.