Solar Generated Electricity Now Mainstream
It is difficult to keep up with the change. Solar generated electricity was just for hobbyists, but since the dramatic rise in the cost of coal generated power and the equally dramatic fall in the cost of solar generated power, solar-cell-panels are now commonplace. This website provides much of the information prospective users of solar-cell-panels need to make informed decisions. Here we answer many of the questions you may have and provide general information.
Different System Configurations
There are essentially three different ways to apply the power generated from solar cell technology:
- As a stand- alone source, that is not in any way connected with existing commercial power suppliers.
- With feed to the commercial power grid. (sometimes referred to as gross)
- With any excess to current usage fed to the grid. (sometimes referred to as net)
With or Without Storage Batteries
One particular characteristic of the above is that you do not need to have storage batteries in configurations 2 or 3, but in configuration 1 you either use power when the sun is shining and power is being generated, which is collected by solar cell panels, or you need to provide a storage medium such as batteries. It is worth mentioning that again there have been vast technological improvements in the performance and cost effectiveness of storage batteries.
Leading Academic Developments
The reality is that “gains in efficiency can reduce the cost of solar systems, so that we can produce electricity from the solar panels that’s cheaper than (energy from) coal.” Stated by PhD student Brett Hallam, referring to the use of laser-doping technology, patented by UNSW professors Martin Green and Stuart Wenham. Reference UNSW Alumni Magazine June 2012.
Time to Get Involved
So, should we wait until these new developments are completed? This is a question many PC users would have wrestled with over the years. The fact is that you will never adopt the new technology if you wait for the conclusion of endless development. Immediately, there is opportunity for cost effective adoption of current technology, and that is even understated if you benefit from rebate incentives offered by many governments.
Get With The Trend
In a changing world where renewable energy or sustainable energy, depending on your point of view, is available in the form of solar supplied power, possibly combined with power from a wind turbine, there is a proven imperative for our planet and perhaps surprisingly, an economic imperative for the user.
When you take into account the long term continual payback from systems that will likely continue to perform for in excess of 25 years, it is a “no brainer.” Then when you take into account the constant inflationary value of money over the next 25 years the payback from getting involved is well justified. At least a staged implementation can hedge your bets, so you get to add future technology developments too. In short, it now simply makes good economic sense to install solar power generation. Just decide what you will install, where and how you will install and ensure an effective installation, especially in regards to best capture of sunlight. A well planned system will integrate into your residential or commercial layout, and it may even add effective shade or other shelter as required.
About the Author: Ronald Heron has academic qualifications BSc(Eng) with Merit (Electrical) and MCom, both from UNSW – Australia.