CETC Solar Energy, passion for solar

About Solar

Benefits of Solar
- Why Go Solar?
- Why Is Solar Energy Important?
- What Can Solar Do for You?
Brief History of Solar PV Technologies

What is Solar Energy?

Solar Energy is energy radiated from the sun, mainly in the form of heat and light. It is required for photosynthesis and is also harnessed as a renewable energy source, e.g. in photovoltaics (PV) to provide electricity or as solar thermal energy for heating and cooling systems. Solar energy can be used in homes, businesses, and industry as well as in distributed generation applications, such as street lighting or for back-up electricity generation. On a bright, sunny day, the sun provides approximately 1,000 watts of energy per square meter of the planet's surface, and if we could collect all of that energy we could easily power our homes and offices for free. [back]

Benefits of Solar
Why Go Solar?

1. Solar PV or solar hot water systems reduce, or can completely eliminate, the amount of electricity you have to purchase from your utility or electric service provider to power your home. Using solar power helps reduce our energy reliance on fossil fuels.
2. The electricity generated by your solar power system is clean, renewable and reliable. It will help reduce the amount of greenhouse gases – a major contributor to global climate change.
3. Solar PV or solar hot water systems save you money on your electricity or natural gas bill and act as a hedge against future price increases. Solar power systems can provide owners with fixed energy costs.
4. A growing solar industry provides local jobs and economic development opportunities for states and regions.
5. Using solar PV power helps your community by reducing electricity demand and providing additional electricity for the grid when you generate more than you use during the day, when the demand is highest. [back]

Why Is Solar Energy Important?

Solar energy systems have very little impact on the environment, making them one of the cleanest power-generating technologies available today. While they are converting the sun’s rays into electricity or hot fluids, they produce no air pollution, hazardous waste, or noise. The more electricity and heat that we convert from the sun’s rays decreases our reliance and dependence on fossil fuels and on imported sources of energy. Finally, solar energy can be an effective economic development driver. The PV industry generated over $17 billion in global revenues in 2007 and worldwide PV installations increased to 2,826 MW in 2007, up from 1,744 MW installed during 2006 (Solarbuzz.com). Global cumulative PV capacity in 2006 reached 6,634 MW (EPIA). [back]

What Can Solar Do for You?

Photovoltaic (PV) power systems convert sunlight directly into electricity. A residential PV power system enables a homeowner to generate some or all of their daily electrical energy demand on their own roof, exchanging daytime excess power for future energy needs (i.e. night time usage). The house remains connected to the electric utility at all times, so any power needed above what the solar system can produce is simply drawn from the electric utility. Solar energy technologies can plan an important role in providing an alternative source of electricity, energy, and back-up power for homes, offices, commercial and industrial buildings. It can relieve demand pressures for electricity off from the grid during peak usage, which usually correlates to peak daylight, especially in the warmer months when demand for air conditioning can sky rocket.

Solar energy can also play an important role in lowering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by replacing coal-powered energy sources with clean, renewable solar PV technologies. These GHG emissions reductions will in turn improve air quality and lessen the harmful impacts that contribute to climate change.

Those who are putting solar on their homes, businesses or other buildings are making a difference. [back]

Brief History of Solar PV Technologies

Sunlight is the world’s largest energy source and for thousands of years, it has been human civilization's chief source of light and heat. Today, solar energy technologies are being developed and refined to more effectively use the sun’s power for producing electricity (photovoltaics), as well as steam and hot water for industrial processes (solar thermal technologies). In less than an hour, the U.S. receives more energy in the form of sunlight than it does from the fossil fuels it burns in a year.

The roots of PV energy grew out of experiments done over 150 years ago by the French physicist Antoine-Cesar Becquerel in 1839. He observed that he could produce an electric current by shining light on an electrolytic cell composed on an electrolyte and two electrodes. The German scientist Heinrich Hertz and other observed the PV effect – the conversion of light into electricity – in solids during the 1870’s, and the first primitive PV cells were built in the 1800s, with about 1-2 percent efficiencies. In 1954, Bell Labs in the U.S. introduced the first solar photovoltaic device that produced a useful amount of electricity, and by the late 1950s solar cells were being used in small-scale scientific and commercial applications, especially for the U.S. space program.

Photovoltaics, or PV for short, is a technology in which light is converted into electricity using photovoltaic modules that have no moving parts, operate quietly without emissions, and are capable on long-term use with minimal maintenance. Crystalline silicon, the same material commonly used by the semiconductor industry, is the material used in 94 % of all PV modules today. PV modules generate direct current (DC) electricity. For residential use, the current is fed through an inverter to produce alternating current (AC) that can be used to power the home’s appliances. The main barrier to widespread use of this technology is the initial high equipment cost. PV technology was been advancing over the last few decades and prices have steadily declined. In 1990, worldwide PV sales reached 48 MW, including use in everything from pocket calculators to communications systems. In 2007, world wide solar cell production reached a consolidated figure of 3,435 MW (Solarbuzz.com). [back]


European Commission - Intelligent Energy - PV Legal Final Report


European Commission - Intelligent Energy - 1st PV Legal Status Report


European Commission - Joint Research Centre - PV Status Report 2013


European Commission - Joint Research Centre - PV Status Report 2012, Part 1


European Commission - Joint Research Centre - PV Status Report 2011


European Commission - Joint Research Centre - PV Status Report 2010


European Commission - Joint Research Centre - PV Status Report 2009


European Commission - Joint Research Centre - PV Status Report 2008


European Commission - Joint Research Centre - PV Status Report 2007


European Commission - Photovoltaic Solar Energy 2009


REN21 - Renewables Global Status Report 2015


REN21 - Renewables Global Status Report 2014


REN21 - Renewables Global Status Report 2013


REN21 - Renewables Global Status Report 2012


REN21 - Renewables Global Status Report 2011


REN21 - Renewables Global Status Report 2010


REN21 - Renewables Global Status Report 2009

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