Related topics: energy · solar panels · solar cells · solar energy · megawatts

Daylight damage-saving time

Researchers at Kanazawa University have performed a detailed investigation of the molecular mechanisms by which organic solar cells suffer damage as they are exposed to sunlight. This research has important implications for ...

Carbon intensity of power sector down in 2019

Engineers from Carnegie Mellon University's Scott Institute for Energy Innovation have compiled carbon emissions for the U.S. electric power sector for the second quarter (Q2) of 2019 as part of the CMU Power Sector Carbon ...

New solar power generator to be deployed to space station

A new solar power generator prototype developed by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and research teams in the United States, will be deployed on the first 2020 NASA flight launch to the International Space Station.

Shipping firms look to sail into the future

Global shipping firms under pressure to cut carbon emissions are experimenting with an age-old technology: sails to harness ocean winds and reduce reliance on costly fuels.

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Solar power

Solar power is the result of converting sunlight into electricity. Sunlight can be converted directly into electricity using photovoltaics (PV), or indirectly with concentrating solar power (CSP), which normally focuses the sun's energy to boil water which is then used to provide power. The largest solar power plants, like the 354 MW SEGS, are concentrating solar thermal plants, but recently multi-megawatt photovoltaic plants have been built. Completed in 2008, the 46 MW Moura photovoltaic power station in Portugal and the 40 MW Waldpolenz Solar Park in Germany are characteristic of the trend toward larger photovoltaic power stations. Much larger ones are proposed, such as the 550 MW Topaz Solar Farm, and the 600 MW Rancho Cielo Solar Farm.

Solar power is a predictably intermittent energy source, meaning that whilst solar power is not available at all times, we can predict with a very good degree of accuracy when it will and will not be available. Some technologies, such as solar thermal concentrators with an element of thermal storage, have the potential to eliminate the intermittency of solar power, by storing spare solar power in the form of heat; and using this heat overnight or during periods that solar power is not available to produce electricity. This technology has the potential to make solar power "dispatchable", as the heat source can be used to generate electricity at will. Solar power installations are normally supplemented by storage or another energy source, for example with wind power and hydropower.

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