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Solar Power, with its Potential
Written by Moonseong Kang | Published. 2017.09.06 18:11 | Count : 1215

Why does the world interested in transformation fossil fuel energy into renewable energy? Today’s energy sources are gained from the fossil fuel or nuclear power station. However, studies mention that the nuclear generating stations pollute the global environment which later causes problems like global warming and other major global contamination. 

Studies start to figure out energies that can be produced from nature and cause no harm, which is called renewable energy. Renewable energy is much better than nuclear energy source from the environmental perspective.  However, the renewable energy sources are claimed to be the most expensive energy sources. First Solar statistics shows that the electricity generation cost is much higher than that of the nuclear. But the world still needs to focus on changing energy utility. 

Figure 1. Electricity generation cost by technology, Solar and Nuclear(Source: First Solar, http://www.aguacalientesolarproject.com/en/About-Us/Press-Center/Blog/2016/January/Solar-No-Longer-a-Cost-Compromise, 2016)

Is solar energy the most sustainable energy source? What is solar power energy? There are two main types of solar power energy sources: photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP). Photovoltaic source is mostly used for residential purpose as a form of a solar panel. The other one, CSP is for commercial use, or large power plants collect plenty of solar energy and convert it to heat that later converted to the electricity.I had an email interview with Woohyang Jung, the associate member of Energy Institute in the UK, in order to evaluate the solar energy potential. 

Woohyang Jung, Associate Member of Energy Institute (AMEI)

What is the best advantage in solar energy use?
Solar generation has various applications in the residential, commercial building system and utilities. In a building system, electricity can be generated using PV panel on the roof and stored in an energy storage system, providing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning with combined other technologies such as Heat Pump and energy storage system. This can be also used in a utility scale as a large solar farm, which can provide over 10 MW of electricity into the electricity grid system. 

What can be the disadvantage of the solar installation?
Intermittency. Irregular energy production can be the main drawback of the most of the renewable sources. Furthermore, intermittent energy supply can disturb the existing power grid system. While it is considered as a challenging factor, it can be technically improved by integrating with energy storage system. Energy storage system, batteries, can provide stored energy for the electricity peak demand time, smoothing out the fluctuating energy supply. Battery cell cost and its performance also can be a critical economic factor for integration with renewable deployment. However, Lithium-ion battery cost of, according to the battery storage report of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), has approximately reduced 60% from the period of 2014 to 2017. Furthermore, household solar PV systems supply the extra electricity into an Electric Vehicle charge and the local power grid system. 

Figure 2. Residential Solar PV Roof (Source: Korea Herald, 2014)

Solar power, as I have shown in the interview, has drawbacks of Intermittency, economical factor and maintenance. Considering all the factors, residential solar PV installation has still attractiveness in the domestic scale power generation.In order to relieve this problem, energy storage is necessary with its reduced cost. Economical pressure could be the most difficult part of using solar power energy. Though this technology is quite not easy to be purchased now, scientists figure more diverse ways to have those countries less struggle from economical management. Consequently, economical pressure could be the most difficult part of using solar power energy. Though this technology is not easy to be purchased now, scientists figure out more diverse ways to have this technology be used more efficiently in our daily lives.



Moonseong Kang, 11th
Wilbraham & Monson Academy

Moonseong Kang  student_reporter@dherald.com

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