FM Director Nik Ashworth continues to delve into the world of Energy and this month looks at current energy issues and solar power.
One of the biggest issues with solar panels a few years ago, and especially in domestic applications, was that you couldn’t use the energy you produced during the day if you were out at work. Batteries and storage were still in early development and there was a real-life scenario where ALL the energy produced went back to the grid, great but counter intuitive for you, as an energy consumer.
Solar Energy Storage
With the development of storage technology, we are now breaking new ground in solar usability, meaning you can now use much more of what you produce, when you want it, on-demand, relieving significant pressure on the grid, which in turn creates much-needed grid resilience.
UK Solar Industry
The UK has created it’s own stand alone solar industry and is now free from FIT’s (feed in tariffs), our approach to reducing emissions has not been exemplary but, for a small nation, we have made some great steps to do our part. However, the energy issues we have experienced just in the last few weeks just go to remind us all that far too little investment has been given to our energy infrastructure for far too long, and we run the very real risk of being held to ransom by those countries rich in natural resource.
Energy, COP26 and the Future
Rising CO2 emissions are gaining ever more leverage in the political arena ahead of COP26 in Glasgow, and this a good thing as we all now understand it cannot continue. However, when we look at the global emissions issues, I am afraid it becomes pretty clear where the world needs to focus it’s attention – China and India. When you view the emissions bubble per person across the countries of the world USA, UK and Japan are relatively high, but this is a numbers game and put simply, China and India have vast numbers. These countries since the 1960’s have been building and since the 1 billion population has now been exceeded in both countries, both countries emissions have sky-rocketed well beyond USA and Europe, and they are showing very little sign of slowing down.
Whether we class ourselves responsible for the growth in emissions in these countries because we have been happy for them to be our global workshop for so long now, is open to debate. The time is coming however, when we will have to be more cohesive as a planet in reducing emissions, which will not be an easy pill for anyone to swallow!
Before you embark on a major project to reduce energy consumption, do you know where you currently use energy? That is the vital starting point, as RFM’s Client Services Director Mark Flanagan explains.
Glossary of Terms: Solar Energy
Here is a glossary of terms commonly used in relation to solar energy:
Solar energy: Energy that is generated from the sun’s rays, either directly or indirectly.
Solar panel: A device that converts sunlight into electricity, typically made of photovoltaic cells.
Photovoltaic (PV) cell: A device that converts sunlight into electricity through a process called the photovoltaic effect.
Solar array: A group of solar panels that are connected and mounted together, typically on a roof or in a field.
Solar inverter: A device that converts the direct current (DC) electricity generated by solar panels into alternating current (AC) electricity, which can be used by homes and businesses.
Solar water heater: A system that uses solar energy to heat water for domestic or industrial use.
Solar battery: A device that stores excess solar energy for later use, typically in the form of a lithium-ion battery.
Net metering: A system that allows solar energy users to sell excess electricity back to the grid, typically at the same rate at which it is purchased.
Solar feed-in tariff: A payment made to solar energy users for excess electricity that is sold back to the grid.
Solar panel efficiency: The percentage of sunlight that a solar panel is able to convert into electricity.
Solar radiation: The amount of sunlight that reaches the earth’s surface, typically measured in kilowatts per square metre.
Solar insolation: The amount of solar radiation that is received in a specific location over a period of time, typically measured in kilowatt-hours per square metre.