Top Five Factors Determining Solar Energy Potential
One of the most confusing things about solar energy is the mysterious link between the installed power and the actual energy output. To put it another way, if you put a 200-watt solar panel on your roof how many watt-hours of electricity would you produce in a day or throughout the whole year? It is very important to underss is location specific. The same 200-watt panel will produce very different amounts of energy if we install it in Seattle, WA and then take it down to Phoenix, AZ. But the real question is: what causes this difference and how can we set realistic expectations about our solar energy potential?
A gentle introduction to solar radiation
Solar radiation, or insolation, is the “fuel” of all solar energy systems. The performance of solar photovoltaic systems which generate electricity and solar thermal systems which produce hot water all depend on the availability and intensity of solar radiation.
For all practical purposes, solar radiation at the top of the atmosphere can be considered a constant. However, the precise location of a site on Earth and atmospheric effects drastically change the level of radiation at the surface of Earth.
Now let’s have a quick look at the top five factors that affect your solar energy potential.
Issues Affecting the Deployment of Solar Power in Nigeria
Energy utilization is a core attribute of humanity. With increasing population also comes an increase in the demand for energy. The IEA in its World Energy Outlook, projects about 83% increase in global energy demand in the next 20 years (IEA 2014a). Although countries naturally turn fossil fuels as part of their energy mix due to its plentiful and reliable nature the same report reveals that there would be significant increase in renewables.
Aside the fact that fossil fuels are exhaustible, their combustion also has immense adverse effect on the climate with (GHG) emissions, capable of bringing the world to an abrupt end. Already, the cost of renewable energy is dropping across several countries, as at 2014, new wind power was cheaper than new coal and gas power in Australia, China and the United States (Sussams, et al 2015). Electricity from roof-top photovoltaic systems is also cheaper than grid supply in many countries and places across the world. (Chen 2014).
Being naturally replenishing resources, the place of renewable energy in the global energy mix is sacrosanct, and tireless effort is required in a bid to perhaps completely transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy.
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