Photovoltaic Solar Energy – Clean New Energy

Photovoltaic Solar Energy – Clean New Energy

Photovoltaic solar energy uses the photoelectric effect, where sunlight strikes a semi-conductor material such as silicon and generates electricity. The smallest photovoltaic systems power calculators and wristwatches; larger ones generate electricity for homes or business.

PV cells are linked together to form panels; several panels are grouped to create a solar array. These arrays can be plugged into the electric grid or used on rooftops to produce all or part of a home’s electricity needs.

Solar Power

Solar energy is a clean, renewable resource that can help to mitigate climate change and improve our environment and human health. It reduces emissions of greenhouse gases, Clean new energy photovoltaic solar energy including carbon dioxide, that contribute to global warming. It can also decrease the amount of pollution and waste from fossil fuels, as well as reduce water use for energy production. This can lower the risk of heart disease and asthma attacks, as well as protect wildlife habitats.

Photovoltaic (PV) cells, made of silicon or other semiconductor material installed in panels that are wired together, transform sunlight directly into electricity. This is the technology behind the solar panels you see atop many residential and commercial rooftops, as well as on the wings of the International Space Station. These solar panels provide all the electricity to operate the station, allow astronauts to live safely in space for months at a time and conduct scientific and engineering experiments.

Grid-tied PV systems are often eligible for utility incentives, such as net metering. During peak daylight hours, a typical grid-tied PV system produces more energy than it needs and feeds this excess into the grid. This allows you to save on your utility bill and receive credits for the energy you export back into the grid.

Solar energy is a key part of the U.S.’s complex, interrelated electricity system and can be built as distributed generation (located at or near the point of use) or as central-station, utility-scale solar power plants that supply our national energy grid, much like fossil fuel and nuclear power plants. As the cost of PV continues to decline, these large-scale power plants will be able to compete on price with coal and other fossil fuels.

Wind Power

Using sunlight to generate electricity is an inexhaustible resource that can provide a significant portion of the world’s energy needs. It produces clean, renewable energy without greenhouse gases or air pollutants and does not deplete fossil fuel reserves. It can be deployed locally as distributed generation (solar PV), or at utility-scale as a central power plant with solar + storage technologies. It can also be integrated with other forms of renewable energy to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

Wind energy is a form of green energy that produces electricity by harnessing the natural power of wind. This form of energy can be used to power homes and businesses and is a great way to help combat climate change. Wind turbines can be small (5 kilowatt size) for use in residential settings, or large (20 kW or more) for larger commercial or industrial applications. They can either stand alone or be connected to the larger electricity distribution grid, and many electric utilities offer homeowners a way to receive payments for surplus electricity they produce- a practice known as net metering.

Unlike traditional energy sources, wind power doesn’t pollute the environment and it is a much safer source for wildlife. In fact, it only causes 0.01% of all bird deaths. Moreover, it has one of the lowest water-consumption footprints of any power-generating technology.

Hydroelectric Power

It’s a clean and renewable energy source that taps into the Earth’s natural systems using innovative methods. Solar power transforms sunlight directly into electricity, utilizing panels made of silicon or other semiconductor material. Wind energy harnesses the kinetic power of winds to turn turbines that generate electricity. Hydroelectric power uses flowing rivers and streams, and dams that hold back water to run through pipes and then spin turbines to produce energy. And geothermal power accesses the Earth’s heat with plants built on hot water deposits or deep wells.

The oldest and most widely used source of renewable electricity in the United States is hydropower. People have been using hydropower for thousands of years to run paddle wheels at grain mills and lumber factories. And hydropower is one of the most reliable forms of energy because it can be easily scaled and is a baseload source of power.

Hydropower can also provide energy for peak demand times and add to system flexibility with pumped storage. It is the biggest renewable energy source worldwide and will likely continue to lead through 2030.

Large, fast-flowing rivers are the best sources for hydropower. The Columbia River, for example, produces more than a million megawatts of power each year. Other sources include tidal energy and falling waters like Niagara Falls.

Geothermal Power

Geothermal energy draws heat from the Earth’s core into its deepest reservoirs of hot water and steam to generate electricity. It requires wells that are drilled up to a mile (1.6 kilometers) or more underground to tap the steam and hot water, which then drives turbines that are linked to electricity generators. These generators produce the power that is used to run lights, appliances, and electrical equipment in homes, schools, businesses, and factories.

Geothermal plants provide consistent energy that is “always on,” meaning it is not affected by the time of day or weather conditions. They operate year-round at over 90% of their rated capacity. Solar PV plants, on the other hand, produce intermittently following diurnal and seasonal patterns at around 20-30% of their rated capacity.

There are many geothermal resources available in the United States, with some coproducing both marine electricity and thermal energy. As Enhanced Geothermal Systems technologies (EGS) continue to advance and costs come down, more of these unused resources could become available for electricity generation.

Geothermal power plants use a combination of steam and hot water to drive turbines that generate electricity, which is then used to run appliances, heating and cooling, and industrial processes. It can also be used for direct-use applications to directly heat buildings or to run hot water systems and provide space heating, or even to melt ice on sidewalks.

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