Solar technologies is a form renewable power that should be efficient and cost competitive with centralized fossil fuel power-generating stations if it is to emerge as a prominent model of electricity production. Solar technologies can be referred as a photovoltaic system since it uses the energy stored or found in light rays from the sun.
Another term used for conservation efficiency is the percentage of energy transformed from one form of energy to another is a fact to consider when dealing with solar technologies. In life-cycle of solar energy the production of raw material, manufacturing, use maintenance, and end-of-life management are factors looked at deeply. The life-cycle design (LCD) framework was majorly developed as a guide to the environmental improvement of a production system while also optimizing performance, cost, and legal requirements. Its major goal is to minimize the harm done to the environment, reduce solid waste generation and human and ecological health effects caused by air or waterborne pollution.
When defining the life-cycle of the photovoltaic energy steps from harvesting of the energy to the point of use are stated. Firstly, we look at the transformation of the light energy from the sun into thermal energy and finally into the needed electric current or energy. Secondly the electricity is changed into alternating current from direct current by use of an inverter. After that, it is transmitted via electricity transmission line or grid into buildings junction box.
The end-of-life of a photovoltaic material is hard to predict since some take to about 30years that are long
History of solar energy
Solar technology is as old as mankind yet use or discovery of solar energy with evidence occurred in 1839 when Alexandre Edmond Becquerel discovered that certain materials produce a small amount of electricity current when exposed to light. In 1876, the efficiency of converting light into electricity by use of photovoltaic cells was 1 to 2 percent. Silicon-based solar cells were used in 1954 to make electricity direct from the sun and thus commenced commercial photovoltaic production that still had a 2 percent efficiency of conversion.
In 1960s, the efficiency had increased to 10 present leading to a dramatic growth of photovoltaic development. In 1979, the construction of the largest photovoltaic manufacturing began producing more than 1 megawatt of photovoltaic in just a year. The growth went on and with deferent companies building solar towers around the world. In 1996 Pacific Gas and Electric Company installed the first grid-supported photovoltaic system in California. The installation brought about a 500-kilowatt distribution of power.
In the future, buildings are viewed to be built with designs enabling them to conserve renewable energy technologies to a point that every building will be in a position to produce its energy supply. By this they will be able to create a new generation of cost-effective buildings that will have zero net annual need for non-renewable energy.Implications for the environment
The estimates for the photovoltaic system of a large utility-scale solar facility ranges from 3.5 to 10 acres per megawatt. This issue has raised concerns about land degradation and habitat loss depending on their location. Unlike wind facilities, it is very rare for solar projects to share the land with agriculture. Due to this it is advisable to set such projects in areas such as abandoned mining land and existing transportation and transmission corridors.
Production of energy by use of silicon keeps the workers at risk when they inhale the silicon dust that is hazardous. Much of that hazardous materials such as hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, nitric acid, acetone and hydrogen fluoride are used in the cleaning of the silicon surface and also in the purification process. Compared to silicon photovoltaic cells used in traditional days, the thin-film photovoltaic cells contain more toxic materials. The materials require careful measures when handling and disposing of as well or else they would pose a far-reaching public health or environmental threats.
Besides the direct impact created by the energy production through photovoltaic cells, there are other stages in the life-cycle associated with global warming emissions. The stages include manufacturing, material transportation, installation, maintenance and decommissioning and dismantlement.
Economic questions and consideration.
The first question that comes into someones mind when he think of setting up a solar equipment and controls to convert sun rays into energy is the large capital required for the installation of the system. The discussion taxes, insurance and maintenance cost. The question that comes about with the desire to preserve the environment or rather to reduce the consumption of petroleum and to freeze it for other uses is a reason for the utilization of solar energy. There exist a question of whether an investment in solar energy conversion system is economically viable in comparison with other investments that also might be made taking into consideration all relevant physical and economic parameters. These include anticipated cost escalation of fuel.
Secondly, if the project is justified which means the investment takes place what is the economic optimum form of the system in terms of location, equipment size, type of fuel and labor costs.
Political and legal influence
Despite all the benefits that associated with it, it is no surprise to see or hear companies fighting the solar installation. These fights happens due to the high capital that is imposed by the process of installation. Taxes imposed on firms that run the solar energy project is large and different countries keep on varying the taxes therefore pushing away investors who may want to take that route. The policy set by various states have greatly affected how renewable energy is used no matter the interest by the customers. Some policies state that a qualified power source provide 18.5 percent to the community and since it is very hard for a starting company to realize that, it ends up discouraging investors who might be interested.
Although the sun offers the most abundant, reliable and pollution-free power in the world. However, it has problems such as its expensive nature during installation, and inconsistent availability have prevented it from becoming a more utilized energy source. To use this God given free energy, we need to discover new materials that would enable us store the energy when the sun is not shining. The problem of cost come in size solar panels uses semiconductors materials to generate electricity directly from the sunlight. The companies with semiconductors face challenges such as the need to be extremely clean and also the expenses of materials used in making the semiconductors causing the outcome product to be relatively expensive.
Besides the high cost, the efficiency of the solar cells is only about 22 percent of the very latest photovoltaic cells having an efficiency of about 43 percent and are expensive to manufacture. There is loss of energy when the rest of the sunlight strikes the panel in the form of heat.
The installation needs experienced people, therefore, adds to the expense of purchasing the requirements. Another challenge that creeps in is building of the large farms in desert regions. This factor has reduced the installation cost since a large scale of the economy is created but in turn the regions are far from the cities where that energy is needed thus ends up costing a lot in the expensive transmission lines that are required to bring the power to the market distance. There is also the issue of maintenance. This is a problem too since every inch of a solar panel needs to be kept clear of debris to avoid drastic drop in efficiency due to blockage in a portion by a leaf or a thin film of dust. It is also affected by clouds at night when they are overhead.
The major problem associated with solar energy is the fact that the sun does not shine every time and, therefore, there is a need to develop storage systems to have or experience a constant supply of power. In this case or due to the time that the solar panels do not produce the energy it takes very long to recoup their installation and maintenance cost.
The moral effects come in since the project is run maintained by people or is in the society. The people that work in these farms are exposed to hazardous chemicals such as sulfuric acid thus the law requires that they are insured a phone any accident that can occur in the day to day activities and also. Also despite the direct contact with the harmful chemicals the location of the farms is affected by the population around it since it should be situated it a place where very fewer people can inhale the silicon powder from the farm.
The social and environmental impact of the solar technology includes respecting the human rights of the workers, the stakeholders and the community as well. There is a need for the industry to have support from investors, community, government agencies and media to enable the sector to grow and have an impact. The company must operate in full compliance with the laws, rules and regulations of the countries in which they operate.
The electrical safety must be looked upon, and the company has to reach the electrical design and standards including when systems are mounted on rooftop environments. The laborers are also supposed to be treated well with the dignity deserved and the human rights upheld as understood by the international community. The laborers should work voluntarily and not forced. The company should make sure its works work in a less injury and illness environment with health measures taken into consideration. In addition the company that implement solar technology should be prepared or should set some resources towards emergency plan and should also have good response procedures including: emergency reporting, employee notification and evacuation procedures, worker training and drills, appropriate fire detection and suspension equipment, adequate exit facilities and recovery plan.
It is also a social responsibility for the company to have a good communication with its customers to avoid issues whereby the customers are complaining of inadequate supply. Management of the business is also a factor since without a smooth and running of the enterprise the stakeholders resources are kept at risk since the company is bound to fall.
The use of solar energy in a cultural heritage building is an issue that brings the trade-off between aspects of use and preservation to a head. On one side, solar energy facilitates long-term use as it makes the building be heated with renewable energy at a lower running cost. On the other side of the issue, the solar collectors and solar cells have a marked impact on their appearance and cultural heritage value.
There is a need for solar energy to be made economical enough to use on a large scale since this would not only ease the environmental impact but also ease political relations of nations feuding over oil. Silicon alone cannot be employed in the making of solar panel despite its availability therefore manufacturing companies have to combine it with some compound in order for it to work in the process of transforming sun rays into electrical energy and thus ending up with a very expensive final product. The other problem with the solar panel is that to reduce the price the efficiency have to reduce or rather they are indirectly proportional. The only...
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