Tag Archive | energy

Historical Advances In Producing Electricity From The Sun

When politicians start talking about renewable energy, you know we have problems. Solar energy is a significant renewable energy and here is an overview of how the technology has developed.

First Practical Solar Cell
Solar electricity is simply energy produced by harnessing the sun. It comes in many forms including electricity production through panels, home heating through passive systems and mobile packets for powering devices like laptops and RVs to mention only a few platforms.

Historically, sunlight has been used by mankind to produce heat ever since we first built structures. Without electricity, mankind soon learned to orient structures to capture the heat of the sun during the day and store it in ceramic or mud materials much like a blacktop parking lot will radiate heat after the sun has gone down. Early Greek structures show a particular use of this solar strategy as do Egyptian structures.

The production of electricity using sunlight is a much more recent phenomena. In 1901, Nicolas Tesla was the first person to receive a patent related to solar electricity, but he called it radiant heating. He sought a patent for a machine to capture the radiant heat, but nothing much came of the invention.

In 1904, some unknown physicist named Albert Einstein published a paper on the potential electricity production from sunlight. In 1913, William Coblentz received the first patent for a solar cell, but he could never make it work. In 1916, Robert Millikan was the first to produce electricity with the cell. For the next forty years or so, nobody made much progress because the cells were highly inefficient at converting sunlight to energy.

In the 1950s, Bell Labs got involved with NASA. Bell was charged with coming up with a solar platform to power spacecraft once they were in orbit. The solar industry would never be the same.

Gerald L. Pearson, Daryl M. Chapin, and Calvin S. Fuller started researching different areas related to solar, but not active parts of the NASA project. By luck, they meet and exchanged ideas. While their individual projects were failures, their combined efforts produce a much more efficient cell using crystallized silicon to convert sunlight into electricity. The efficiency rate of the cells was roughly 6 percent, a marked improvement over previous technology. In 1958, NASA launched the Vanguard Spacecraft, which was powered by solar panels.

In the following years, solar technology grew in leaps and bounds. Solar panels today are roughly 15 percent efficient, but also much smaller than they use to be. More importantly, companies are abandoning the panel platform and coming out with amazing new products. The first are shingles that look exactly like regular roof shingles and perform as such. Nanotechnology is also offering amazing possibilities with quantum dots, which are essentially solar panels on the quantum level. Eventually, these dots will be incorporated in things such as paint. Yes, the paint on the walls of buildings and homes will eventually also produce all the electricity needed for the structures.

Man has used the power of the sun for heat for a very long time. Only now, however, are we starting to master the technology to turn it into large amounts of free electricity.

RenewableUK Lays Out Renewable Energy Future For “Powering Britain”

The United Kingdom’s trade body for wind, wave, and tidal energy, RenewableUK, has published its manifesto outlining the role renewable energy can play in building a strong energy future for the country. Published in the lead-up to the UK’s surprise …#renewables #energy #renewableenergy #solarpower #greenenergy #climatechange

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Solar and clean energy jobs easily outpace oil sector

Just in case anyone thought Tesla Motors chief Elon Musk couldn’t get more ink in these pages, he appears to be at the center of a trend that can complement his electric-vehicle development. Musk’s SolarCity solar-panel distributor competes in a green-energy sector that’s now said to be growing far faster than old-line natural-resource sectors like oil and coal. #solarenergy
#solar #energy #forex #fx #auspol #climatechange

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Tesla unveils its solar roof and Powerwall 2

The company wants you to harness the power of the sun.

 

At Universal Studios in Los Angeles Tesla CEO Elon Musk showed off the company’s solar roof-top panels, new $5,500 Powerwall 2 high-capacity residential battery pack and Powerpack 2 for businesses.

Musk and company have been teasing the photovoltaic cell-embedded rooftop panels for a few weeks. The event was probably timed as an grand explanation for why its important the automaker acquire Solar City. Musk said that if the merger doesn’t go through, the launch of the new tiles will be difficult.

During the event, Musk sort of talked about the price of the panels. He said that the “installed cost is less than a normal roof and the cost of electricity.” But there was no concrete pricing announced noting that it’s difficult to put a price on what it’ll cost for every house. Of course a price per square foot would have been helpful. The company will sell the tiles directly to customers instead of working with home builders.

They did install non-operational tiles on the Desperate Housewives’ homes before the event. While everyone waited for Musk to take the stage, no one took notice of the homes because they seemed so normal. That’s exactly what Tesla and Solar City want to achieve.

In fact, Musk also showed off a Tuscan-style house with glass tiles on the roof of the garage that to the naked eye, you would be hard-pressed to notice was actually sucking up the energy of the sun. The rest of the house had its original tiles and Tesla noted that this sort of installation gives home owners the opportunity to only place only the solar panels they need while keeping their abodes looking good. “People love their homes and we want them to be better,” Musk said.

Of course the entire equation requires batteries to keep the humming along when the sun goes down. With that in mind, Tesla also introduced a new version of its Powerwall. The company said the two 14 kWh lithium-ion battery packs inside each pack (over double the capacity of the previous version) will power a four bedroom house with lights, refrigerator and other appliances for an entire day.

The new Powerall also now includes a built-in power inverter. The previous version required a separate piece of hardware. That inverter works directly with the solar roof tiles to convert sunlight into electricity.

Musk said they will start installing the glass tiles in summer 2017 and insisted that the roofs will last a very, very long time. “We expect this to have two or three times the longevity of asphalt. It’s really never going to wear out. It’s got a quasi-infinite lifetime. It’s made of quartz,” he said.

Tesla has just come off an impressive quarter where it posted a profit for the first time in two years. It also announced earlier this month that all vehicles produced going forward would have the hardware capable of full autonomous driving.