All our power we use comes indirectly from the sun. Fossil fuels were originally plants that over time were converted into coal, oil or natural gas. Wind is the result of unequal heating of the earth's surface. And hydro-electric power is the result of water that evaporated and was deposited at a high altitude. The idea of generating electricity directly from the sun has a lot of appeal.
Photovoltaic generated power is where it is at!.
Primary Reference: Wikipedia
- Electricity generated from photovoltaic panels is the cleanest way to generate power. There are no emissions just electricity.
- Electricity generated by photovoltaic cells is truly sustainable and renewable.
- There is much more power available in the sunlight reaching the earth's surface than being used by humans.
- Photovoltaic cells are silent and readily integrated into urban landscapes.
- Being able to be located close to power users reduces power transmission losses that currently average 7%.
- They integrate into power grids well. Solar power output is at a maximum at the same time the grid is seeing its maximum demand.
- They have no moving parts and consequently operate with little maintenance or intervention after initial setup.
- Once the initial installation investment is recouped, the energy is free.
- New technologies, such as film printing, are progressively making photovoltaic cells less expensive.
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Photovoltaic power is not "the" solution.
Primary Reference: Wikipedia
- The huge capital cost of installing photovoltaic panels results in electricity costing 5 to 10 times more than conventionally produced electricity. Currently the average cost of solar generated electricity is $0.30 per KWH.
- Electricity generated by photovoltaic cells is in the form of DC power. It must be converted to AC power, using expensive inverters, if it is to be used by most electrical devices or supplied to the electric grid.
- The cost justifications do not include the cost of the back-up power (batteries or fossil fuel plants on the grid) that is required when the photovoltaic panels are not producing electricity.
- Photovoltaic systems would not be competitive if it were not for large subsidies provided by federal, state and local governments.
- The panels must be very large. A typical flat solar panel can only produce a 24 hour average power output of 1.5 watts per square foot. This is due to cell inefficiencies, clouds and the daily solar cycle. If adequate storage batteries were provided, it would take about 11,400 square miles of photovoltaic panels to produce all the electricity currently used by the U.S. That is approximately the size of the states of Maryland and Delaware combined.
- Production of the panels themselves can lead to harmful emissions and hazardous waste.
- Disposal costs must be factored in. The photovoltaic panels utilize some toxic materials that eventually will need to be handled when the panels are decommissioned.
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