TechBlog3: Why are PV efficiencies so low?

After a bit of a delay, we bring forth the third technical blog for you to learn the science behind solar power. This blog talks about PV solar modules efficiencies and addresses why nature limits them to such low numbers and how scientists are trying to overcome these limitations.   It would probably not have escaped your notice that the efficiencies of the solar PV modules are quite low. You usually see transformers and inverters, other electrical equipments used in solar plants have efficiencies above 95%. And yet, the PV panels have efficiencies < 20%.The most commonly used PV technology, crystalline-Si, has best commercial efficiencies 16-19%. The emerging thin film technologies give at best 12% (CdTe thinfilms). So, almost 80-90% of the energy in the sunlight is not being utilized by the solar cells. Why? And where is this wasted energy going? Read further to find answers to these questions.   Efficiencies are limited by the very nature of energy conversion in solar cells. What does a solar cell do? …

Kerala Solar Policy 2013 – 1500 MW by 2030

The state’s solar policy so far has been unique with its focus on distributed power generation, while the center and many other states announced policies that laid emphasis on utility scale projects. The state had previously announced a 10,000 solar rooftops policy, totaling a small 10MW, for the year 2012-2013. Now in 2013, it has released a solar policy which will be effective from 01/04/2013. This policy sets higher and long term targets for its installed solar capacity. -          500 MW by 2017 -          1500 MW by 2030. This blog is a quick summary of the strategies, incentives offered and obligations imposed by this policy.   Strategies: The policy’s strategies include Supply Side Interventions: Off grid systems at demand points Conversion from inverters, diesel generators to solar Off site generation Storage systems Solar Thermal Collectors: Solar Water Heating Systems Solar Steam Systems Industrial applications Incentives:The policy is offering different incentives for different groups. Off grid- Bank finance at attractive rates. Generation based incentives – not capital subsidy. Probably will discourage use …

Solar Module Specifications

Hello everyone, this is the second blog post on technical aspects of solar cells. This article discusses the specifications manufacturers provide in the datasheets of their solar module. If you ever looked at a data sheet and wondered what these terms meant and want to know more, this blog is for you. Those interested in photovolatics are sure to have seen a solar module datasheet at some point. This blog is to help you understand the different terms in the specifications. These include – “Maximum Power” (Pmax), “Open Circuit Voltage” (VOC), “Short Circuit Current” (ISC), “Maximum Power Point Voltage” (Vmpp), “Maximum power point current” (Impp).   Of course, there would also be other information such as – component details (dimensions, weight, number of cells, some mechanical characteristics), thermal characteristics (thermal coefficient), system integration parameters etc. These other characteristics will be covered in our forthcoming blogs, but in this blog, we will talk about the different currents and voltages. The origin of the current in a solar cell was explained in …

Solar Policies for Rooftop projects in India

Energy consumption in our developing nation is soaring and we are facing severe electricity shortages in several cities and towns. Conventional energy sources are already making a serious environmental impact. So to have an ecologically sustainable growth and to overcome energy security challenges, we have to turn to clean and renewable energies –like solar. It takes approximately 4.5-5 acres to set up a 1 MW solar PV (photovoltaic) generation plant. Although India is quite vast, given our population density, the per capita land availability is low. Exclusive dedication of such large tracts of land for installation of solar arrays will come at the cost of forsaking other necessities that require land. So the best suitable long term design solution for India would be a highly distributed set of individual rooftop power generation systems connected through a local grid. The rooftop power plants offer several other advantages including: -          Decrease in Transmission and Distribution (T&D) losses -          Low gestation time -          Improvement of tail-end grid voltages   The current cost of setting …

How does a Solar Cell work?

Hello everyone this is the first blog among the many technical articles on Solar that we plan to bring out. Hope you will enjoy reading them and find the information useful!   This article is all about solar cell’s functioning. Almost everyone who is in the solar industry would know this much: that a solar photovoltaic (PV) module converts sunlight into electricity. But do you know how it can do this conversion?   ———————————————————————————————————————————————————— The beauty of PV technology lies in the very nature of the universe – the way materials are made up of, the way energy interacts with it, and the way humans tailored the materials to result in this conversion. This blog tries to explain the basic physics behind the solar cell design even to an individual without a technical background.   Why should you bother with physics to understand how a solar cell works? Current means moving charges. A solar cell first has to produce charges and then make them move to generate current. So you have …

Australia introduces controversial carbon tax

Source: bbc.co.uk The law forces about 300 of the worst-polluting firms to pay a A$23 (£15; $24) levy for every tonne of greenhouse gases they produce. The government says the tax is needed to meet climate-change obligations of Australia – the highest emitter per-head in the developed world. But the opposition calls it a “toxic tax” that will cost jobs. The opposition also argues that the tax will raise the cost of living, promising to repeal the legislation if it wins the next election, due in 2013. Environmentalists have broadly backed the scheme, but there have been large public protests against it. ‘Realistic way’ Australia’s mining firms, airlines, steel makers and energy firms are among those expected to be hardest hit by the the Clean Energy Act. Domestic fuel bills are expected to rise as companies pass on the costs to consumers. But the Labor government of Prime Minister Julia Gillard says it is the only realistic way of meeting Australia’s climate-change obligations. It says the that low income earners will …

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2012-03-25

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2012-02-26

Lessons from Kraft and Tesco on Making LCA Count · Environmental Management & Energy News. Environmental Leader: http://t.co/NrS2hJCx # Powered by Twitter Tools

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