Energy & Green Tech

Researchers close to turning point with solar power research

Dr. Nathaniel Davis from Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington's School of Chemical and Physical Sciences says he and his research team are at a significant turning point in their solar power research.

Energy & Green Tech

Renewables rescue stability as the grid loses spin

The high-altitude Atacama Desert of northern Chile is a surprising location for scientific insights: Its dry and dusty likeness to Mars makes it ideal for interplanetary testing, and distant worlds are particularly visible ...

Energy & Green Tech

Climate change impact on green energy production

As the climate of the planet is changing, as evidenced by record-setting hot summers and extreme weather events, many researchers are looking to more renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind farms.

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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.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA