SOLAR ENERGY Solar energy is the utilization of the radiant energy from the Sun. Solar power is often used interchangeably with solar energy but refers more specifically to the conversion of sunlight into electricity, either by photovoltaics and concentrating solar thermal devices, or by one of several experimental technologies such as thermoelectric converters, solar chimneys and solar ponds. Solar energy and shading are important considerations in building design. Thermal mass is used to conserve the heat that sunshine delivers to all buildings. Daylighting techniques optimize the use of light in buildings. Solar water heaters heat swimming pools and provide domestic hot water. In agriculture, greenhouses expand growing seasons and pumps powered by solar cells (also known as photovoltaics) provide water for grazing animals. Evaporation ponds are used to harvest salt and clean waste streams of contaminants. Solar energy is the fastest growing form of energy production. Solar distillation and disinfection techniques produce potable water for millions of people worldwide. Family-scale solar cookers and larger solar kitchens concentrate sunlight for cooking, drying and pasteurization. Clotheslines are a common application of solar energy. More sophisticated concentrating technologies magnify the rays of the Sun for high-temperature material testing, metal smelting and industrial chemical production. A range of prototype solar vehicles provide ground, air and sea transportation.


Solar Energy and its Uses



Earth receives 174 petawatts (PW) of incoming solar radiation (insolation) at the upper atmosphere. Approximately 30% is reflected back to space while the rest is absorbed by the clouds, oceans and land masses. The spectrum of the solar light at the surface of Earth is mostly split between the visible and nearinfrared ranges with a small part in the near-ultraviolet. The absorbed solar light heats the land surface, oceans and atmosphere. The warm air containing evaporated water from the oceans rises driving atmospheric circulation or convection. When the ascending air reaches a high altitude, where the temperature is low, the water vapoir condenses forming various types of clouds. Eventually all evaporated water rains down on to the surface closing what is known as the water cycle. The latent heat of the water condensations amplifies the convection producing such atmospheric phenomena as cyclones and anti-cyclones. The winds are observational manifistation of the atmospheric circulation. Sunlight absorbed by the oceans and land masses keeps the surface at an average temperature of 14 °C. The conversion of solar energy into chemical energy via photosynthesis produces food, wood and the biomass from which fossil fuels are derived. Solar radiation along with secondary solar resources such as wind and wave power, hydroelectricity and biomass account for over 99.9% of the available flow of renewable energy on Earth. The flows and stores of solar energy in the environment are vast in comparison to current human energy needs. The total solar energy absorbed by Earth's atmosphere, oceans and land masses is approximately 3,850 zettajoules (ZJ) per year, while global wind energy at 80 m, the minimum height of modern large wind turbines, is estimated at 2.25 ZJ per year. Photosynthesis captures approximately 3 ZJ per year in biomass. In contrast, worldwide electricity consumption was approximately 0.0567 ZJ in 2005, and total worldwide primary energy consumption was 0.487 ZJ in the same year. APPLICATIONS OF SOLAR ENERGY TECHNOLOGY Solar energy technologies use solar radiation for practical ends. Technologies that use secondary solar resources such as

biomass, wind, waves and ocean thermal gradients can be included in a broader description of solar energy but only primary resource applications are discussed here. Because the performance of solar technologies varies widely between regions, solar technologies should be deployed in a way that carefully considers these variations. Solar technologies such as photovoltaics and water heaters increase the supply of energy and may be characterized as supply side technologies. Technologies such as passive design and shading devices reduce the need for alternate resources and may be characterized as demand side. Optimizing the performance of solar technologies is often a matter of controlling the resource rather than simply maximizing its collection. ARCHITECTURE AND URBAN PLANNING Darmstadt University of Technology won the 2007 Solar Decathlon with this passive house designed specifically for the humid and hot subtropical climate in Washington, D.C. Sunlight has influenced building design since the beginning of architectural history. Fully developed solar architecture and urban planning methods were first employed by the Greeks and Chinese who oriented their buildings toward the south to provide light and warmth. The elemental features of passive solar architecture are Sun orientation, compact proportion (a low surface area to volume ratio), selective shading (overhangs) and thermal mass. When these features are tailored to the local climate and environment they can produce well-lit spaces that stay in a comfortable temperature range. Socrates' Megaron House is a classic example of passive solar design. The most recent approaches to solar design use computer modeling to tie together solar lighting, heating and ventilation systems in an integrated solar design package. Active solar equipment such as pumps, fans and switchable windows can also complement passive design and improve system performance. Urban heat islands (UHI) are metropolitan areas with higher temperatures than the surrounding environment. These higher temperatures are the result of urban materials such as asphalt and


Solar Energy and its Uses



concrete that have lower albedos and higher heat capacities than the natural environment. A straightforward method of counteracting the UHI effect is to paint buildings and roads white and plant trees. Using these methods, a hypothetical "cool communities" program in Los Angeles has projected that urban temperatures could be reduced by approximately 3 °C at an estimated cost of US$1 billion, giving estimated total annual benefits of US$530 million from reduced air-conditioning costs and healthcare savings. AGRICULTURE AND HORTICULTURE Agriculture inherently seeks to optimize the capture of solar energy, and thereby plant productivity. Techniques such as timed planting cycles, tailored row orientation, staggered heights between rows and the mixing of plant varieties can improve crop yields. While sunlight is generally considered a plentiful resource, there are exceptions which highlight the importance of solar energy to agriculture. During the short growing seasons of the Little Ice Age, French and English farmers employed fruit walls to maximize the collection of solar energy. These walls acted as thermal masses and accelerated ripening by keeping plants warm. Early fruit walls were built perpendicular to the ground with a south facing orientation but over time sloping walls were developed to make better use of sunlight. In 1699, Nicolas Fatio de Duillier even suggested using a tracking mechanism, which could pivot to follow the Sun. Solar energy applications in agriculture, aside from growing crops, include pumping water, drying crops, brooding chicks and drying chicken manure. Greenhouses convert solar light to heat enabling year-round production and the growth (in enclosed environments) of specialty crops and other plants not naturally suited to the local climate. Primitive greenhouses were first used during Roman times to produce cucumbers year-round for the Roman emperor Tiberius. The first modern greenhouses were built in Europe in the 16th century to keep exotic plants brought back from explorations abroad. Greenhouses remain an important part of horticulture today, while plastic transparent materials have also been used to similar effect in polytunnels and row covers.

The history of lighting is dominated by the use of natural light. The Romans recognized a right to light as early as the 6th century and English law echoed these judgments with the Prescription Act of 1832. In the 20th century artificial lighting became the main source of interior illumination. Daylighting systems collect and distribute sunlight to provide interior illumination; they are passive systems. These systems directly offset energy use by replacing artificial lighting, and indirectly offset non-solar energy use by reducing the need for airconditioning. The use of natural lighting also offers physiological and psychological benefits compared to artificial lighting, Although difficult to quantify. Daylighting design implies careful selection of window types, sizes and orientation; exterior shading devices may also be considered. Individual features include sawtooth roofs, clerestory windows, light shelves, skylights and light tubes. These features may be incorporated into existing structures, but are most effective when integrated into a solar design package that accounts for factors such as glare, heat flux and time-of-use. When daylighting features are properly implemented they can reduce lighting-related energy requirements by 25%. The most important of the active solar lighting methods is the hybrid solar lighting (HSL). HSL systems collect sunlight using focusing mirrors that track the Sun and use optical fibers to transmit the light into a building's interior to supplement conventional lighting. In single-story applications, these systems are able to transmit 50% of the direct sunlight received. Although daylight saving time is promoted as a way to use sunlight to save energy, recent research has been limited and reports contradictory results: several studies report savings, but just as many suggest no effect or even a net loss, particularly when gasoline consumption is taken into account. Electricity use is greatly affected by geography, climate and economics, making it hard to generalize from single studies. SOLAR THERMAL Solar thermal technologies can be used for water heating, space heating, space cooling and process heat generation.

heating swimming pools is the dominant application of solar hot water. The most common types of solar water heaters are evacuated tube collectors (44%) and glazed flat plate collectors (34%) generally used for domestic hot water. Double slope stills are the most economical for decentralized domestic purposes while active multiple effect units are more suitable for large-scale applications. Solar heating. Individual still designs include single-slope. and unglazed plastic collectors (21%) used mainly to heat swimming pools. cement and water. These materials have historically been used in arid climates or warm temperate regions to keep buildings cool by absorbing solar energy during the day and radiating stored heat to the cooler atmosphere at night. Performance can be improved by using glazing and thermal mass materials in a way that mimics greenhouses. the leaves provide shade during the summer while the bare limbs allow light and warmth to pass during the winter. Israel is the per capita leader in the use of solar hot water with 90% of homes using this technology. COOLING AND VENTILATION In the United States. with an installed capacity of 18 GW as of 2005. Since bare. When planted on the southern side of a building. These systems have been in use since Roman times and remain common in the Middle East.700 L per day and operated for 40 years. daylighting and shading conditions. The size and placement of thermal mass should consider several factors such as climate.6 WATER HEATING Solar Energy and its Uses Introduction 7 Solar hot water systems use sunlight to heat water.1 EJ) of the energy used in residential buildings. active or hybrid modes. the total installed capacity of solar hot water systems is approximately 154 GW. which had solar collection area of 4.65 EJ) of the energy used in commercial buildings and nearly 50% (10. there is a balance between the benefits of summer shading and the corresponding loss of winter heating. thermal mass maintains space temperatures in a comfortable range and reduces the need for auxiliary heating and cooling equipment. As of 2007. still could produce up to 22. In the context of solar energy. ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems account for 30% (4. When properly incorporated. conical. vertical. In the United States.700 m². multi-wick and multiple effect. The first recorded use was by 16th century Arab alchemists. Exposure times vary depending on weather and climate from a minimum of six hours . thermal mass materials are used to store heat from the Sun. In climates with significant heating loads. deciduous trees should not be planted on the southern side of a building because they will interfere with winter solar availability but they can be used on the east and west sides to provide a degree of summer shading without appreciably affecting winter solar gain. Canada and Australia. Thermal mass. Common thermal mass materials include stone. These stills can operate in passive. leafless trees shade 1/3 to 1/2 of incident solar radiation. As the chimney warms. In low geographical latitudes (below 40 degrees) solar heating system can provide from 60 to 70% of domestic hot water use with temperatures up to 60 °C. cooling and ventilation technologies can be used to offset a portion of this energy. DESALINATION AND DISINFECTION The production of potable water from saline or brackish water using solar energy is called the solar distillation. A solar chimney (or thermal chimney) is a passive solar ventilation system composed of a vertical shaft connecting the interior and exterior of a building. HEATING. inverted absorber. the air inside is heated causing an updraft that pulls air through the building. is any material that has the capacity to store heat. double-slope (or greenhouse type). Solar water disinfection (SODIS) is a method of disinfecting water by exposing water-filled plastic polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles to several hours of sunlight. China is the world leader in the deployment of solar hot water with 70 GW installed as of 2006 and a long term goal of 210 GW by 2020. heating. This plant. Deciduous trees and plants have often been promoted as a means of controlling solar heating and cooling. The first large-scale solar distillation project was constructed in 1872 in the Chilean mining town of Las Salinas. but they can also be used in cold temperate areas to maintain warmth. in the most general sense.

over 2. India used for drying marigolds. clotheshorses. A basic box cooker consists of an insulated container with a transparent lid. India is capable of cooking up to 35. Polar tracking is used to follow the Sun's daily course and the curvature of the reflector is adjusted for seasonal variations in the incident angle of sunlight. Clothes lines. Reflector cookers use various concentrating geometries (dish. Modern uses include concentrating brine solutions used in leach mining and removing dissolved solids from waste streams. Steam is produced in the receiver at temperatures reaching 150 °C and then used for process heat in the kitchen. India. Florida legislation specifically protects the 'right to dry' and similar solar rights legislation has been passed in Utah and Hawaii. A reflector developed by Wolfgang Scheffler in 1986 is used in many solar kitchens. Over two million people in developing countries use SODIS for their daily drinking water needs. including an 860 m² collector in Costa Rica used for drying coffee beans and a 1.8 Solar Energy and its Uses Introduction PROCESS HEAT 9 to two days during fully overcast conditions.000 large Scheffler cookers had been built worldwide. These devices use wind and sunlight instead of electricity or natural gas. Unglazed transpired collectors (UTC) are perforated sun-facing walls used for preheating ventilation air. over 80 systems with a combined collector area of 35. and had a one hour peak load thermal storage. and clothes racks dry clothes through evaporation. from the calculator powered by a . COOKING Solar cookers use sunlight for cooking.300 m² collector in Coimbatore. These cookers reach temperatures of 315 °C and above but require direct light to function properly and must be repositioned to track the Sun. UTCs can raise the incoming air temperature up to 22 °C and deliver outlet temperatures of 45-60 °C. panel cookers and reflector cookers. The short payback period of transpired collectors (3 to 12 years) makes them a more cost-effective alternative than glazed collection systems. This grid-connected cogeneration system provided 400 kW of electricity plus thermal energy in the form of 401 kW steam and 468 kW chilled water. Scheffler reflectors are flexible parabolic dishes that combine aspects of trough and power tower concentrators. The simplest type of solar cooker is the box cooker first built by Horace de Saussure in 1767. Rajasthan. Evaporation ponds are shallow pools that concentrate dissolved solids through evaporation. trough. SODIS is recommended by the World Health Organization as a viable method for household water treatment and safe storage. air conditioning and electrical requirements for a clothing factory. These devices can be grouped into three broad categories: box cookers. Solar concentrating technologies such as parabolic dish. Georgia where a field of 114 parabolic dishes provided 50% of the process heating. The use of evaporation ponds to obtain salt from sea water is one of the oldest applications of solar energy. These cookers can be used effectively with partially overcast skies and will typically reach temperatures of 90-150 °C. SOLAR ELECTRICITY Sunlight can be converted into electricity using photovoltaics (PV). As of 2003. Panel cookers use a reflective panel to direct sunlight onto an insulated container and reach temperatures comparable to box cookers. The first commercial system was the Solar Total Energy Project (STEP) in Shenandoah. As of 2008. concentrating solar power (CSP). and various experimental technologies. PV has mainly been used to power small and medium-sized applications.000 m² had been installed worldwide. These reflectors can reach temperatures of 450-650 °C and have a fixed focal point which improves the ease of cooking. trough and Scheffler reflectors can provide process heat for commercial and industrial applications. Fresnel mirrors) to focus light on a cooking container. drying and pasteurization. The solar bowl is a unique concentrating technology employed by the Solar Kitchen in Auroville.000 meals a day. The world's largest Scheffler reflector system in Abu Road. The solar bowl is a stationary spherical reflector that focuses light along a line perpendicular to the sphere's interior surface and a computer control system moves the receiver to intersect this line.

established net metering guidelines. off-shore oil rigs. Between 1992 and 1994 Japan increased R&D funding. both Ernst Werner von Siemens and James Clerk Maxwell recognized the importance of this discovery. Economies of scale which resulted from increasing production along with improvements in system performance brought the price of PV down from 100 USD/watt in 1971 to 7 USD/watt in 1985. South Korea and the US have also seen rapid growth recently due to various incentive programs and local market conditions. parabolic dish and solar power tower. A wide range of concentrating technologies exist.5-6%. CSP use lenses or mirrors and tracking systems to focus a large area of sunlight into a small beam. Nevada and the 20 MW site in Beneixama. and by the late 1960s PV had become the established source of power for satellites. Early terrestrial uses included powering telecommunication stations. Installed PV capacity has risen from 100 MW in 2000 to approximately 4. These early solar cells cost 286 USD/watt and reached efficiencies of 4. These methods vary in the way they track the Sun and focus light. The concentrated light is then used as a heat source for a conventional power plant. Germany has become the leading PV market worldwide since revising its Feed-in tariff system as part of the Renewable Energy Sources Act. The earliest significant application of solar cells was as a backup power source to the Vanguard I satellite. These and other off-grid applications have proven very successful and accounted for over half of worldwide installed capacity until 2004. Steadily falling oil prices during the early 1980s led to a reduction in funding for photovoltaic R&D and a discontinuation of the tax crs associated with the Energy Tax Act of 1978. CONCENTRATING SOLAR POWER Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) systems is divided into Concentrating solar thermal (CST) and Concentrating PV (CPV). the most developed are the solar trough. The high cost of solar cells limited terrestrial uses throughout the 1960s. Following the fundamental work of Russell Ohl in the 1940s. Calvin Fuller and Daryl Chapin created the silicon solar cell in 1954.2 MW in 1994 to 318 MW in 1999. and is then used for power generation or energy storage. researchers Gerald Pearson. leadership in the PV sector has shifted from the US to Japan and Germany. and introduced a subsidy program to encourage the installation of residential PV systems. PV installations in the country climbed from 31. The first solar cell was constructed by Charles Fritts in the 1880s. Spain has become the third largest PV market after adopting a similar feed-in tariff structure in 2004. and worldwide production growth increased to 30% in the late 1990s. The successful operation of solar cells on this mission was duplicated in many other Soviet and American satellites. which allowed the satellite to continue transmitting for over a year after its chemical battery was exhausted.10 Solar Energy and its Uses Introduction 11 single solar cell to off-grid homes powered by a photovoltaic array.150 MW at the end of 2007. PHOTOVOLTAICS A solar cell (or photovoltaic cell) is a device that converts light into direct current using the photoelectric effect. A solar trough consists of a linear parabolic reflector that concentrates light onto a receiver positioned along the reflector's focal line. Photovoltaics went on to play an essential part in the success of early commercial satellites such as Telstar and continue to remain vital to the telecommunications infrastructure today. The 1973 oil crisis stimulated a rapid rise in the production of PV during the 1970s and early 1980s. the 14 MW power station in Clark County. Spain are characteristic of the trend toward larger photovoltaic power stations in the US and Europe. Since the mid-1990s. These factors moderated growth to approximately 15% per year from 1984 through 1996. In all these systems a working fluid is heated by the concentrated sunlight. As a result. navigational buoys and railroad crossings. Although the prototype selenium cells converted less than 1% of incident light into electricity. Completed in 2007. while France. This changed in the early 1970s when prices reached levels that made PV generation competitive in remote areas without grid access. For large-scale generation. The reflector is made to follow the Sun during the . Italy. CSP plants like SEGS have been the norm but recently multi-megawatt PV plants are becoming common.

immersed in an . but can be divided into thermochemical or photochemical. which can subsequently be reacted with water to produce hydrogen. The SEGS plants in California and Acciona's Nevada Solar One near Boulder City. As sunlight shines on the greenhouse. Under the direction of Soviet scientist Abram Ioffe a concentrating system was used to thermoelectrically generate power for a 1 hp engine. The CO may then be used to synthesize methanol. Space solar power systems use a large solar array in geosynchronous orbit to collect sunlight and beam this energy in the form of microwave radiation to receivers (rectennas) on Earth for distribution. Photoelectrochemical cells or PECs consist of a semiconductor. The Solzinc process under development at the Weizmann Institute uses a 1 MW solar furnace to decompose zinc oxide (ZnO) at temperatures above 1200 °C. SOLAR CHEMICAL Solar radiation stimulated chemical processes use solar energy to drive chemical reactions. A 50 kW prototype was constructed in Ciudad Real. Aside from electrolysis driven by photovoltaic or photochemical cells. The expanding air flows toward the central tower where a turbine converts the air flow into electricity.12 Solar Energy and its Uses Introduction 13 daylight hours by tracking along a single axis. Research in this area is focused on raising the efficiency of these devices from 7-8% to 15-20%. This initial reaction produces pure zinc. The seemingly most direct of these routes uses concentrators to split water at high temperatures (2300-2600 °C). These processes offset energy that would otherwise be required from an alternate source and can convert solar energy into a storable and transportable fuel. EXPERIMENTAL SOLAR POWER A solar updraft tower (also known as a solar chimney or solar tower) consists of a large greenhouse that funnels into a central tower. Solar ponds were first proposed by Dr. The pond consisted of layers of water that successively increased from a weak salt solution at the top to a high salt solution at the bottom. gasoline and jet fuel. but this process has been limited by complexity and low solar-to-hydrogen efficiency (1-2%). A prototype was constructed in 1958 on the shores of the Dead Sea near Jerusalem. thermoelectrics reemerged in the Soviet Union during the 1930s. several thermochemical processes have also been explored. Peter Glaser in 1968 and since then a wide variety of systems have been studied with both photovoltaic and concentrating solar thermal technologies being proposed. This effect was due to salts in the lake's water. the air inside is heated and expands. First proposed as a method to store solar energy by solar pioneer Mouchout in the 1800s. Thermogenerators were later used in the US space program as an energy conversion technology for powering deep space missions such as Cassini. Thermochemical cycles characterized by the decomposition and regeneration of reactants present another avenue for hydrogen production. A solar pond is a pool of salt water (usually 1-2 m deep) that collects and stores solar energy. Solar induced chemical reactions are diverse. Sandia's Sunshine to Petrol (S2P) technology uses the high temperatures generated by concentrating sunlight along with a zirconia/ferrite catalyst to break down atmospheric carbon dioxide into oxygen and carbon monoxide (CO). Spain and operated for eight years before decommissioning in 1989. typically titanium dioxide or related titanates. This solar pond was capable of producing temperatures of 90 °C in its bottom layer and had an estimated solar-to-electric efficiency of two percent. Hydrogen production production technologies involving the use of solar light have been a significant area of research since the 1970s. Rudolph Bloch in 1948 after he came across reports of a lake in Hungary in which the temperature increased with depth. Galileo and Viking. A more conventional approach uses the heat from solar concentrators to drive the steam reformation of natural gas thereby increasing the overall hydrogen yield. which created a "density gradient" that prevented convection currents. Trough systems are the most mature CSP technology. these systems offer the possibility of delivering power approximately 96% of the time. Thermoelectric devices convert a temperature difference between dissimilar materials into an electric current. Although still in the concept stage. Nevada are representatives of this technology. This concept was first proposed by Dr.

developed by BAE Systems. and the sun catamaran made the first solar powered crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in the winter of 2006-2007. ENERGY STORAGE METHODS Storage is an important issue in the development of solar energy because modern energy systems usually assume continuous availability of energy. Plans to circumnavigate the globe in 2009 are indicative of the progress solar boats have made.021 kilometres (1. and the performance of solar power systems is affected by unpredictable weather patterns. Although the thrust is small compared to rockets. shift time-of-use to off-peak hours and reduce overall heating and cooling requirements. Some solar balloons are large enough for human flight. Massachusetts) was the first to use a Glauber's salt heating system. As sunlight shines on the balloon. There are two types of photoelectrochemical cells: photoelectric cells that convert light into electricity and photochemical cells that use light to drive chemical reactions such as electrolysis. therefore. earth and stone. By 1995. is the latest in a line of record-breaking solar aircraft. This was quickly followed by the Solar Challenger which demonstrated a more airworthy design with its crossing of the English Channel in July 1981.860 ft) in 2001. making a 54-hour flight in 2007. The World Solar Challenge is a biannual solar-powered car race. SOLAR VEHICLES Development of a solar powered car has been an engineering goal since the 1980s. Developments then turned back to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) with the Pathfinder (1997) and subsequent designs. the Gossamer Penguin made the first piloted flights powered solely by photovoltaics.14 Solar Energy and its Uses Introduction 15 electrolyte. In 1975.87 kilometres per hour (56. In 1974. The ferric-thionine chemical cell is an example of this technology. the first practical solar boat was constructed in England. In 1987. The "Dover House" (in Dover. solar sails require no fuel. Well-designed systems can lower peak demand. the unmanned Sunrise II inaugurated the era of solar flight. causing an upward buoyancy force. Thermal storage systems generally use readily available materials with high specific heat capacities such as water. Solar energy is not available at night. These materials are inexpensive. A solar balloon is a black balloon that is filled with ordinary air. In 1980. Phase change materials such as paraffin wax and Glauber's salt are another thermal storage media. The winning car averaged 90. . it continues as long as the Sun shines onto the deployed sail and in the frictionless vacuum of space significant speeds can eventually be achieved. When the semiconductor is illuminated an electrical potential develops.524 metres (96. the air inside is heated and expands. These chemical intermediates then react at the electrodes to produce an electric potential. passenger boats incorporating PV panels began appearing and are now used extensively. The 2007 race included a new challenge class using cars which could be a practical proposition for sustainable transport with little modification. Thermal mass systems can store solar energy in the form of heat at domestically useful temperatures for daily or seasonal durations. In 1996.46 mph). in which teams from universities and enterprises compete over 3. much like an artificially-heated hot air balloon. readily available. A photogalvanic device is a type of battery in which the cell solution (or equivalent) forms energy-rich chemical intermediates when illuminated. but usage is limited to the toy market as the surface-area to payload-weight ratio is relatively high. Solar sails are a proposed form of spacecraft propulsion using large membrane mirrors to exploit radiation pressure from the sun. The North American Solar Challenge and the planned South African Solar Challenge are comparable competitions that reflect an international interest in the engineering and development of solar powered vehicles.877 mi) across central Australia from Darwin to Adelaide. the winner's average speed was 67 kilometres per hour (42 mph). Unlike rockets. when it was founded. storage media or back-up power systems must be used. The Zephyr. and can deliver domestically useful temperatures (approximately 64 °C). culminating in the Helios which set the altitude record for a non-rocket-propelled aircraft at 29. Kenichi Horie made the first solar powered crossing of the Pacific Ocean. and month-long flights are envisioned by 2010.

DEPLOYMENT AND ECONOMICS Beginning with the surge in coal use which accompanied the Industrial Revolution. 50% of commercial systems were installed in this manner in 2007 and it is expected that 90% will by 2009. Photovoltaic production growth has averaged 40% per year since 2000 and installed capacity reached 10. Other efforts included the formation of research facilities in the US (SERI. Commercial concentrating solar power (CSP) plants were first developed in the 1980s. solar water heating attracted renewed attention as a result of the oil crises in the 1970s but interest subsided in the 1980s due to falling petroleum prices. have a high specific heat capacity and can deliver heat at temperatures compatible with conventional power systems. excess electricity can be sent to the transmission grid. and utility of fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum. Salts are an effective storage medium because they are low-cost. Pumped-storage hydroelectricity stores energy in the form of water pumped when energy is available from a lower elevation reservoir to a higher elevation one. economy. CARBON NANOTUBES IN PHOTOVOLTAICS Organic photovoltaic devices (OPVs) are fabricated from thin films of organic semiconductors. The 1973 oil embargo and 1979 energy crisis caused a reorganization of energy policies around the world and brought renewed attention to developing solar technologies. global warming concerns (see Kyoto Protocol). PV development has accelerated due to supply issues with oil and natural gas. Nellis Air Force Base is receiving photoelectric power for about 2. As with photovoltaics. Japan (NEDO). is Europe's first commercial CSP system and a total capacity of 300 MW is expected to be installed in the same area by 2013. now NREL). Since 2006 it has been economical for investors to install photovoltaics for free in return for a long term power purchase agreement. and the improving economic position of PV relative to other energy technologies. The Solar Two used this method of energy storage. photovoltaic installations grew rapidly. With grid-tied systems. effectively using the grid as a storage mechanism. but falling oil prices in the early 1980s moderated the growth of PV from 1984 to 1996. and Germany (Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE). and are typically on the order of 100 nm thick.2 ¢/kWh and grid power for 9 ¢/kWh. they are an attractive option for inexpensively covering large areas as well as flexible . Net metering programs give these systems a cr for the electricity they deliver to the grid. completed in late 2005. solar water heating is by far the most widely deployed solar technology with an estimated capacity of 154 GW as of 2007. Between 1970 and 1983. This cr offsets electricity provided from the grid when the system cannot meet demand. energy consumption has steadily transitioned from wood and biomass to fossil fuels. Deployment strategies focused on incentive programs such as the Federal Photovoltaic Utilization Program in the US and the Sunshine Program in Japan. Solar energy can be stored at high temperatures using molten salts.44 TJ in its 68 m³ storage tank with an annual storage efficiency of about 99%. Commercial solar water heaters began appearing in the United States in the 1890s. such as polymers and smallmolecule compounds. The energy is recovered when demand is high by releasing the water to run through a hydroelectric power generator. allowing it to store 1. Off-grid PV systems have traditionally used rechargeable batteries to store excess electricity.6 GW at the end of 2007. DEVELOPMENT. The early development of solar technologies starting in the 1860s was driven by an expectation that coal would soon become scarce. The 11 MW PS10 power tower in Spain. but solar development stagnated in the early 20th century in the face of the increasing availability.16 Solar Energy and its Uses Introduction 17 in 1948. These systems saw increasing use until the 1920s but were gradually replaced by cheaper and more reliable heating fuels. Although generally underestimated. CSP plants such as SEGS project in the United States have a LEC of 12-14 ¢/kWh. Since 1997. Because polymer based OPVs can be made using a coating process such as spin coating or inkjet printing. Development in the solar water heating sector progressed steadily throughout the 1990s and growth rates have averaged 20% per year since 1999.

4ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) and poly(styrenesulfonate) (PSS). doping a higher percentage of SWCNTs into the polymer matrix was believed to cause short circuits. further optimization was thought to be possible.57% under simulated solar irradiation (95 mW cm-2). It was concluded that improved short circuit current density was a direct result of the addition of SWCNTs into the composite causing faster electron transport via the network of SWCNTs. Microwave irradiating a mixture of SWCNT-water solution and C60 solution in toluene was the first step in making these polymer-SWCNT composites.04% under 100 mW cm-2 white illumination was observed for the device suggesting incomplete exciton dissociation at low CNT concentrations of 1. Weak exciton diffusion toward the donor-acceptor interface in the bilayer structure may have been the cause in addition to the fullerene C60 layer possibly experiencing poor electron transport. To supply additional dissociation sites. Along this network. Additionally. compared to cells without SWCNTs. electrons and holes can travel toward their respective contacts through the electron acceptor and the polymer hole donor. More recently. a rather low power conversion efficiency of 0. the main result was improved power conversion efficiency with the addition of SWCNTs. Generally poly(3hexylthiophene) (P3HT) or poly(3-octylthiophene) (P3OT) are used for this purpose. the power efficiency was still relatively low at 0. CARBON NANOTUBE COMPOSITES IN THE PHOTOACTIVE LAYER Combining the physical and chemical characteristics of conjugated polymers with the high conductivity along the tube axis of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) provides a great deal of incentive to disperse CNTs into the photoactive layer in order to obtain more efficient OPV devices.18 Solar Energy and its Uses Introduction 19 plastic surfaces. Enhancements of more than two orders of magnitude have been observed in the photocurrent from adding SWCNTs to the P3OT matrix. These conductive electrodes are usually glass covered with indium tin oxide (ITO) and a 40 nm sublayer of (poly (3. decreasing the density of pinholes and stifling current leakage that occurs along shunting paths. However. Because the lengths of the SWCNTs were similar to the thickness of photovoltaic films. This heating also affects the ordering of the polymeric chains because the polymers are microcrystalline . These blends are then spin coated onto a transparent conductive electrode with thicknesses that vary from 60 to 120 nm.01% under 100 mW cm-2 white illumination. Through thermal evaporation or sputter coating. other researchers have physically blended functionalized MWCNTs into P3HT polymer to create a P3HT-MWNT with fullerene C60 doublelayered device. However. it has been found that heating to the point beyond the glass transition temperature of either P3HT or P3OT after construction can be beneficial for manipulating the phase separation of the blend.0% wt. however. a 20 to 70 nm thick layer of aluminum and sometimes an intermediate layer of lithium fluoride are then applied onto the photoactive material. Improvements were speculated to be due to charge separation at polymer-SWCNT connections and more efficient electron transport through the SWCNTs. Conjugated polymer P3HT was then added resulting in a power conversion efficiency of 0. The interpenetrating bulk donoracceptor heterojunction in these devices can achieve charge separation and collection because of the existence of a bicontinuous network. Photovoltaic efficiency enhancement is proposed to be due to the introduction of internal polymer/ nanotube junctions within the polymer matrix. Overall. The dispersion of CNTs in a solution of an electron donating conjugated polymer is perhaps the most common strategy to implement CNT materials into OPVs. there is a large amount of research being dedicated throughout industry and academia towards developing OPVs and increasing their power conversion efficiency. Multiple research investigations with both multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) and single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) integrated into the photoactive material have been completed. a polymer photovoltaic device from C60modified SWCNTs and P3HT has been fabricated. It was also concluded that the morphology change led to an improved the fill factor. A promising low cost alternative to silicon solar cells. PEDOT and PSS help to smooth the ITO surface. The high electric field at these junctions can split up the excitons. while the SWNT can act as a pathway for the electrons.

theoretically have high thermal conductivities to tolerate heat dissipation.8 to 4.6)phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM)/Al solar cell. and have high radiation resistance.9%. using CNTs in the photoactive layer of OPV devices is still in the initial research stages and there is still room for novel methods to better take advantage of the beneficial properties of CNTs. and Langmuir-Blodgett deposition. low production cost. By dip-coating from a hydrophilic suspension. Other research efforts have shown that films made of arc-discharge CNT can result in a high conductivity and transparency. The transfer from a filter membrane to the transparent support using a solvent or in the form of an adhesive film is another method for attaining flexible and optically transparent CNT films. In fact. photoconversion efficiencies of 1. it has been shown in most of the previous investigations that the control over a uniform blending of the electron donating conjugated polymer and the electron accepting CNT is one of the most difficult as well as crucial aspects in creating efficient photocurrent collection in CNT-based OPV devices. initial research studies demonstrate SWCNT thin films can be used as conducting.7 eV) leading to the expectation that the SWCNT work function should be high enough to assure efficient hole collection. Emerging as another valuable approach for deposition. charge transport. In addition. even though CNTs have shown potential in the photoactive layer. Conductive CNT coatings have recently become a prospective substitute based on wide range of methods including spraying. however. For one.5% confirming that they are comparable to devices fabricated using ITO. Among the best power conversions achieved to date using CNTs were obtained by depositing a SWCNT layer between the ITO and the PEDOT : PSS or between the PEDOT : PSS and the photoactive blend in a modified ITO/PEDOT : PSS/ P3HT : (6. possibilities exist for advancing this research to develop CNT-based transparent electrodes that exceed the performance of traditional ITO materials. the electrical sheet resistance of ITO is an order of magnitude less than the sheet resistance measured for SWCNT films.3% were achieved when SWCNTs were deposited in combination with light harvesting CdS quantum dots and porphyrins.9 eV range (compared to ITO which has a lower work function of 4. it has a number of deficiencies. CARBON NANOTUBES AS A TRANSPARENT ELECTRODE ITO is currently the most popular material used for the transparent electrodes in OPV devices. respectively. compared to 4% without CNTs. Traditional ITO also has unfavorable mechanical properties such as being relatively fragile. But. the work function of SWCNT networks is in the 4. Nonetheless. and charge collection throughout the OPV device.5% efficiency). The hole mobility and power efficiency of the polymer-CNT device also increased significantly as a result of this ordering. SWCNT were deposited after an initially exposing the surface to an argon plasma to achieve a power conversion efficiency of 4. casting. SWCNT films are highly flexible. the use of tetraoctylammonium bromide in tetrahydrofuran has also been the subject of investigation to assist in suspension by exposing SWCNTs to an electrophoretic field. they have not resulted in a solar cell with a power conversion efficiency greater than the best tandem organic cells (6.5% and 1. However. Thus. Therefore. Furthermore. Another benefit is that SWCNT films exhibit a high optical transparency in a broad spectral range from the UV-visual far into the near IR range. Therefore. the combination of costly layer deposition in vacuum and a limited supply of indium results in high quality ITO transparent electrodes being very expensive. do not creep. developing and commercializing a replacement for ITO is a major focus of OPV research and development. Only a few materials retain reasonable transparency in the infrared spectrum while maintaining transparency in the visible part of the spectrum as well as acceptable overall electrical conductivity. it is not very compatible with polymeric substrates due to its high deposition temperature of around 600oC. CNTS IN DYE-SENSITIZED SOLAR CELLS Due to the simple fabrication process. transparent electrodes for hole collection in OPV devices with efficiencies between 1% and 2. However. layer-by-layer. and high efficiency. there is significant interest in dye-sensitized . spin coating. do not crack after bending.20 Solar Energy and its Uses Introduction 21 systems and it improves charge transfer.

Titanium dioxide nanoparticles have been widely used as a working electrode for DSSCs because they provide a high efficiency. A wind up clock stores potential energy (in this case mechanical. Promoting electron transfer through film electrodes and blocking interface states lying below the edge of the conduction band are some of the non-CNT based strategies to enhance efficiency that have been employed. Thus. chemical. and a hydroelectric dam stores power in a reservoir as gravitational potential energy. As a result of treatment. By then entirely surrounding the MWCNTs with titanium dioxide nanoparticles using the sol-gel method. Despite this initial success. there is promise to use various CNT based nanocomposites and nanostructures to direct the flow of photogenerated electrons and assist in charge injection and extraction. Here again. Therefore. Therefore. Another positive aspect was the fact that the reaction gases including CO2 and H2O were nontoxic and could be released safely during the oxidation process. A device that stores energy is sometimes called an accumulator. the negatively charged surface of the MWCNTs improved the stability of dispersion. more than any other metal oxide semiconductor investigated. the addition of MWCNTs was thought to provide more efficient electron transfer through film in the DSSC. thermal energy).22 Solar Energy and its Uses Introduction 23 solar cells (DSSCs). All forms of energy are either potential energy (eg. A relatively low destruction method for removing impurities. in the spring tension). chemical in this case. Research efforts along these lines include organizing CdS quantum dots on SWCNTs.5 (100mWcm2) irradiation reported for this device to date is about 11%. there is an opportunity to facilitate electron transport and increase the photoconversion efficiency of DSSCs utilizing the electronaccepting ability of semiconducting SWCNTs. With recent progress in CNT development and fabrication. . The transport of electrons across the particle network has been a key problem in achieving higher photoconversion efficiency in nanostructured electrodes. an increase in the conversion efficiency of about 50% compared to a conventional titanium dioxide cell was achieved. H2O2 treatment was used to generate carboxylic acid groups by oxidation of MWCNTs. Also. a battery stores readily convertible chemical energy to keep a clock chip in a computer running (electrically) even when the computer is turned off. The enhanced interconnectivity between the titanium dioxide particles and the MWCNTs in the porous titanium dioxide film was concluded to be the cause of the improvement in short circuit current density. Other researchers fabricated DSSCs using the sol-gel method to obtain titanium dioxide coated MWCNTs for use as an electrode. organization of photoactive donor polymer and acceptor fullerene on electrode surfaces has also been shown to offer considerable improvement in the photoconversion efficiency of solar cells. gravitational or electrical energy) or kinetic energy (eg. a popular concept is to utilize CNT networks as support to anchor light harvesting semiconductor particles. pretreatment was necessary for this application. the effort to further enhance efficiency has not produced any major results. it is not adequate to enlarge the oxide electrode surface area to increase efficiency because photo-generated charge recombination should be prevented. Yet the highest conversion efficiency under air mass (AM) 1. To assist the electron transport to the collecting electrode surface in a DSSC. Because electrons encounter many grain boundaries during the transit and experience a random path. Because pristine MWCNTs have a hydrophobic surface and poor dispersion stability. Even food is a form of energy storage. ENERGY STORAGE Energy storage is the storing of some form of energy that can be drawn upon at a later time to perform some useful operation. Including porphyrin and C60 fullerene. Other varieties of semiconductor particles including CdSe and CdTe can induce charge-transfer processes under visible light irradiation when attached to CNTs. improving DSSC efficiency has been the subject of a variety of research investigations because it has the potential to be manufactured economically enough to compete with other solar cell technologies. Charge injection from excited CdS into SWCNTs was documented upon excitation of CdS nanoparticles. H 2O2 exposed MWCNTs have a hydrophilic surface and the carboxylic acid groups on the surface have polar covalent bonding. the probability of their recombination with oxidized sensitizer is increased.

using excess electricity at times of low demand to pump water up to the reservoirs.24 Solar Energy and its Uses Introduction 25 HISTORY Energy storage as a natural process is as old as the universe itself . such as flywheels or compressed air storage in underground caverns. though it was often not explicitly recognized as such. non-thermal (ie. ships and aircraft. for many reasons. or carbon-neutral energy carriers. via brownouts or blackouts) or arranging for a storage technique. An early solution to the problem of storing energy for electrical purposes was the development of the battery. ranging from small engines producing only a few kilowatts to utility-scale generators with ratings up to 800 megawatts. fuel cells were not well developed until the advent of manned spaceflight (the Gemini Program) when lightweight. Energy storage became a dominant factor in economic development with the widespread introduction of electricity and refined chemical fuels. Energy storage systems in commercial use today can be broadly categorized as mechanical. Chemical fuels have become the dominant form of energy storage. propane. Electrochemical devices called fuel cells were invented about the same time as the battery. Unlike other common energy storage used in prior use. However. Chemical fuels in common use are processed coal. Fuel cell development has increased in recent years to an attempt to increase conversion efficiency of chemical energy stored in hydrocarbon or hydrogen fuels into electricity. At this time. kerosene and natural gas in the late 1800s.g. such as some forms of ethanol or biodiesel. an electrochemical storage device. GRID ENERGY STORAGE Grid energy storage lets energy producers send excess electricity over the electricity transmission grid to temporary . A more recent application is the control of waterways to drive water mills for processing grain or powering machinery. and is now being used by humans directly (e. diesel fuel. or boilers or other external combustion engines) used for electrical power generation. both in electrical generation and energy transportation. thermal and nuclear. trucks. Several other technologies have also been investigated. through solar heating). liquid hydrocarbon fuels are the dominant forms of energy storage for use in transportation. A similar possible solution with the same type of problems is the capacitor. electrical. and the energy thus stored used to attack invaders who came within range. butane. gasoline. but to date no widely available solution to the challenge of mass energy storage has been deployed commercially. by growing crops or conversion into electricity in solar cells).g. energy storage has existed since pre-history. and Wales in the United Kingdom are examples) have used geographic features to store large quantities of water in elevated reservoirs. This meant that changes in demand could not be accommodated without either cutting supplies (eg. trains. biological. Electricity is transmitted in a closed circuit. However. such as hydrogen. Carbon-free energy carriers. As a purposeful activity.the energy present at the initial creation of the Universe has been stored in stars such as the Sun. and for essentially any practical purpose cannot be stored as electrical energy. Complex systems of reservoirs and dams were constructed to store and release water (and the potential energy it contained) when required. ethanol. such as gasoline. natural gas. such as wood or coal. then letting the water fall through turbine generators to retrieve the energy when demand peaks. An example of deliberate mechanical energy storage is the use of logs or boulders as defensive measures in ancient forts the logs or boulders were collected at the top of a hill or wall. It has been of limited use in electric power systems due to small capacity and high cost. liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Heat engine powered generators are nearly universal. efficient) sources of electricity were required in spacecraft. are being sought in response to concerns about the possible consequences of greenhouse gas emissions. electricity must be used as it is generated and cannot be stored on anything other than a minor scale. or indirectly (e. chemical. All of these chemicals are readily converted to mechanical energy and then to electrical energy using heat engines (turbines or other internal combustion engines. biodiesel and hydrogen. Some areas of the world (Washington and Oregon in the USA. these produce greenhouse gases when used to power cars.

Several companies are attempting to develop reliable. designs are not sufficiently developed to be routinely mass produced. reliable and commercially available. Hydrogen production in quantities sufficient to replace existing hydrocarbon fuels is not possible. They are also less polluting. The increased thermodynamic efficiency. Sufficiently purified hydrogen can also be used to power electrochemical engines. just like gasoline. Most of the world's production is by the thermal reformation of natural gas (methane) into hydrogen that is used immediately to refine petroleum into gasoline.26 Solar Energy and its Uses Introduction 27 electricity storage sites that become energy producers when electricity demand is greater. Hydrogen fuel cells can be more efficient than hydrogen fueled heat engines. Hydrogen is a widely used industrial chemical that can be produced from any primary energy source. the technology needed to build infrastructure to serve wholesale and retail energy markets is proven. However. hydrogen fuels may become more attractive . hydrogen is not yet in widespread use. say. STORAGE METHODS • Chemical o Hydrogen o Biofuels • Electrochemical o Batteries o Flow batteries o Fuel cells • Electrical o Capacitor o Supercapacitor o Superconducting magnetic energy storage (SMES) • Mechanical o Compressed air energy storage (CAES) o Flywheel energy storage o Hydraulic accumulator o Hydroelectric energy storage o Spring • Thermal o Molten salt o Cryogenic liquid air or nitrogen o Seasonal thermal store o Solar pond o Hot bricks o Steam accumulator o Fireless locomotive HYDROGEN Hydrogen is a chemical energy carrier. and require large capital investment in hydrogen production plants. If the cost of greenhouse gas production is fully included into the market price of hydrocarbon fuels. Grid energy storage is particularly important in matching supply and demand over a 24 hour period of time. diesel fuel and other petrochemicals. The unique characteristic of hydrogen is that it is the only carbon-free or zero-emission chemical energy carrier. such as the proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell. Hydrogen fueled heat engines can be optimized to operate at higher thermal efficiencies than traditional heat engines using traditional hydrocarbon fuels. Such production will require more energy than is currently being used. diesel fluid and hydrogen gas). and reduced pollution. Because hydrogen is produced and distributed in such huge quantities. would be beneficial. The carbon dioxide produced by the reforming process is either captured and processed into liquid carbon dioxide or vented to the atmosphere. Hydrogen can be used as a fuel for all types of internal and external combustion heat engines and turbines (with adjustments to compensate for the difference between. The limited quantities available for purchase are hand made and much more expensive than conventional heat engines. inexpensive PEM fuel cells. ethanol or natural gas. and thus much more efficient than hydrocarbon fuel heat engines. Because of the increased costs. but they are not produced in quantity largely because hydrogen is not industrially available.

future artificial photosynthesis technology. ocean thermal energy conversion. Several companies have done preliminary design work for vehicles using compressed air power. SILICON. Solar photovoltaics. tidal power. are more efficient. this approach may help in the long term to avoid some of the deleterious effects of greenhouse gas emission. Various chemical processes can convert the carbon and hydrogen in coal. Today South Africa produces most of country's diesel from coal for similar reasons. the energy will probably have to come from sunlight using. plant and animal biomass.28 Solar Energy and its Uses Introduction 29 commercially. businesses and vehicles. experimentally. Further development of intermittent renewable power will require some combination of grid energy storage. perhaps. BIOFUELS Various biofuels such as biodiesel. but mechanical methods of storing energy on a large scale are expensive and water pumping systems require considerable capital investment. for instance. with limited access to crude oil supplies. natural gas. existing fuel distribution infrastructures. in compressed air. geothermal power. Disadvantages of hydrogen include a low energy density per volume (even when highly compressed) compared to traditional hydrocarbon fuels. but most of the existing throttling capacity is already committed to handling load variations. To be useful industrially. If electricity distribution loss and costs are managed. A long term oil price above 35 USD may make such synthetic liquid fuels economical on a large scale (See coal). silicon. AND ZINC Boron. or syngas. And compressed natural gas is being used in special circumstances fuel. or in spinning flywheels. high altitude airborne wind turbines. or biomass can be used to replace hydrocarbon fuels. SYNTHETIC HYDROCARBON FUEL Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been. Some of the energy in the original source is lost in the conversion process. and zinc have been proposed as energy storage solutions. many hydrocarbons fuels have the advantage of being immediately usable in existing engine technology and BORON. although technically intermittent. there is a significant loss of energy during the conversion. and organic wastes into short hydrocarbons suitable as replacements for existing hydrocarbon fuels. This diesel source was used extensively in World War II in Germany. Non-intermittent renewable energy sources include hydroelectric power. when the same amount of carbon dioxide returns to the atmosphere. and solar power satellites. and spot pricing. Some production methods. Compared to hydrogen. Intermittent energy sources is limited to at most 20-30% of the electricity produced for the grid without such measures. for instance in busses for some mass transit agencies. And. converted into hydrocarbon fuel with the help of energy from another source. then intermittent power production from many different sources could increase the overall reliability of the grid. changing such things as the volumes of fuel required for equivalent performance. MECHANICAL STORAGE Energy can be stored in water pumped to a higher elevation. produce electricity . for many hydrogen production methods. dimethyl ether. coal itself has been used directly for transportation purposes in vehicles and boats using steam engines. solar thermal. methanol. straight vegetable oil. Historically. Another alternative for the energy is electricity or heat from solar energy or nuclear power. biofuel. Energy tower. providing clean. alcohol fuels. INTERMITTENT POWER Many renewable energy systems produce intermittent power. Other generators on the grid can be throttled to match varying production from renewable sources. efficient power for our homes. electrolytic generation from water. If usable on a wide scale. Manufacturing synthetic hydrocarbon fuel reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere until the fuel is burned. Examples are Fischer-Tropsch diesel. demand response.

as well as aperiodic fluctuations. if any. electrically powered hydrogen production can be set to increase when electricity is being produced beyond current demand (and prices will be lowest).1% or about 1. and hence do reduce the need for peak power generation. Effects on the earth caused by solar activity are called "solar forcing". determined that there has been no net increase in solar brightness since the mid 1970s. and conversely. For example.000 years. There are no direct measurements of the longer-term variation and interpretations of proxy measures of variations differ. although the small fraction in ultra-violet wavelengths varies by a few percent. 2 SOLAR VARIATION Solar variations are changes in the amount of solar radiation emitted by the Sun. A 2006 study and review of existing literature.2% increase in solar irradiance since 1675. The amount of solar radiation received at the outer surface of Earth's atmosphere varied little from an average value of 1. There are periodic components to these variations. which send market pricing signals to consumers (or their equipment). although other sources suggest a 0. effect variations in solar activity have on the Earth. Solar activity has been measured via satellites during recent decades and through 'proxy' variables in prior times.1% variation over the last 2. hot water heaters can be automatically set to a lower temperature when demand is high and pricing is also high.3 W/m² peak-to-trough during the 11 year sunspot cycle. demand response programs. can be a very effective way of managing variations in electricity production. recent results suggest about 0.366 watts per square meter (W/m²). though somewhat unreliably in most areas since weather conditions interfere with terrestrially mounted solar cells. On the demand side. and that changes in solar output . the principal one being the 11-year solar cycle (or sunspot cycle). The combination of solar variation and volcanic effects has very likely been the cause of some climate change. Climate scientists are interested in understanding what. for example during the Maunder Minimum. Total solar output is now measured to vary (over the last three 11-year sunspot cycles) by approximately 0.30 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Variation 31 largely during peak periods (ie. published in Nature. The variations in total solar irradiance (TSI) remained at or below the threshold of detectability until the satellite era. daylight).

13." HISTORY OF STUDY INTO SOLAR VARIATIONS The longest recorded aspect of solar variations are changes in sunspots. Foukal et al. shows these changes to be small. when Abbot was head of the SAO. In 1845. The emission of higher than average amounts of radiation later were observed from the solar faculae. Various studies have been made using sunspot number (for which records extend over hundreds of years) as a proxy for solar output (for which good records only extend for a few decades). and 39 month patterns. when William Herschel noted an apparent connection between wheat prices and sunspot records. about 0. However. But recent work. Later. Glock attempted to connect variation in tree growth to periodic solar variations in the extant record and infer long-term secular variability in the solar constant from similar variations in millennial-scale chronologies.001% (Dziembowski et al. including 7. The first record of sunspots dates to around 800 BC in China and the oldest surviving drawing of a sunspot dates to 1128. They now often involve high-density global datasets compiled from surface networks and weather satellite observations and/or the forcing of climate models with synthetic or observed solar variability to investigate the detailed processes by which the effects of solar variations propagate through the Earth's climate system. 2001). known as the Maunder Minimum. mostly from the Michelson Doppler Imager instrument on SOHO.1% of the total) and was only established once satellite measurements of solar variation became available in the 1980s. Princeton University professors Joseph Henry and Stephen Alexander observed the Sun with a thermopile and determined that sunspots emitted less radiation than surrounding areas of the Sun. Of particular note is the work of Charles Greeley Abbot. Initial study was focused on their nature and behavior.. With the advent of dendrochronology. Abbot was assigned by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) to detect changes in the radiation of the Sun. observations continued.32 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Variation 33 within the past 400 years are unlikely to have played a major part in global warming. Also. dating back at least to 1801. He detected 27 harmonic periods within the 273-month Hale cycles. ground instruments have been calibrated by comparison . The variation is small (of the order of 1 W/m² or 0. (1977) realised that higher values of radiation are associated with more sunspots. it established a solar station at Calama. more subtle influences on climate from cosmic rays or the Sun's ultraviolet radiation cannot be excluded. Around 1900. His team had to begin by inventing instruments to measure solar radiation. Although the physical aspects of sunspots were not identified until the 1900s. Statistical studies that correlate weather and climate with solar activity have been popular for centuries. there was a long enough record of sunspot numbers to infer periodic cycles in sunspot activity. They also add that these influences cannot be confirmed because physical models for such effects are still too poorly developed. the same report cautions that "Apart from solar brightness. say the authors. By the 1800s. SOLAR ACTIVITY SUNSPOTS Sunspots are relatively dark areas on the surface of the Sun where intense magnetic activity inhibits convection and so cools the surface. The number of sunspots correlates with the intensity of solar radiation. the overall effect is that more sunspots means a brighter sun. researchers began to explore connections between solar variations and weather on Earth. 1978) and the Solar Maximum Mission (launched February 14. 1980) detected that because the areas surrounding sunspots are brighter. Chile to complement its data from Mount Wilson Observatory. Based on work by Abbot. Nimbus 7 (launched October 25. He looked for connections to weather by means such as matching opposing solar trends during a month to opposing temperature and precipitation trends in cities. astronomers began using the telescope to make observations of sunspots and their motions. Study was hampered during the 1600s and 1700s due to the low number of sunspots during what is now recognized as an extended period of low solar activity. In 1610. There had been some suggestion that variations in the solar diameter might cause variations in output. scientists such as Waldo S.

Many possible patterns have been suggested. 3940 BC. Other proxy data . and almost all of the earlier high-activity periods were shorter than the present episode. 5260 BC. 2860 BC. 770 BC. only the 11 and 22 year cycles are clear in the observations. et al. 6400 BC. 360 BC. A 2003 study by Ilya Usoskin of the University of Oulu. A list of historical Grand minima of solar activity includes also Grand minima ca. and that the thermal inertial induced a lag of approximately 2.5 times as sensitive to 22 year cyclical forcing relative to 11 year cyclical forcing. (2005).241 years (Damon and Sonnett. 805. • 2. Sunspot activity has been measured using the Wolf number for about 300 years. • There is weak evidence for a quasi-periodic variation in the sunspot cycle amplitudes with a period of about 90 years. called the Schwabe cycle and named after Heinrich Schwabe. et al. The magnetic field of the Sun reverses during each Schwabe cycle. although the luminosity does not change much due to an increase in bright spots (faculae). The Sun was at a similarly high level of magnetic activity for only ~10% of the past 11. 5620 BC.the last period of similar magnitude occurred over 8. 6220 BC.500 years. which acts to damp high frequencies.2 years in cyclic climate response in the temperature data. This index (also known as the Zürich number) uses both the number of sunspots and the number of groups of sunspots to compensate for variations in measurement. 1390 BC. 5990 BC. 8220 BC. 4330 BC. 7040 BC. Braun. 385. mineral layers created in the Castile Formation show cycles of 2. Finland found that sunspots had been more frequent since the 1940s than in the previous 1150 years.500 years from now by a return to altithermal conditions similar to the previous Holocene Maximum. 3630 BC. • 11 years: Most obvious is a gradual increase and decrease of the number of sunspots over a period of about 11 years. The Sun's surface is also the most active when there are more sunspots. 3340 BC.a. (2005) • 210 years: Suess cycle (a. so the magnetic poles return to the same state after two reversals. 5710 BC.400 years have been reconstructed using dendrochronologically dated radiocarbon concentrations.000 years ago. is thought to be an amplitude modulation of the 11-year Schwabe Cycle (Sonnett and Finney. 7520 BC. Scafetta and West (2005) found that the climate was 1. Extrapolation suggests a gradual cooling during the next few centuries with intermittent minor warmups and a return to near Little Ice Age conditions within the next 500 years. • 22 years: Hale cycle. This cool period then may be followed approximately 1. 3500 BC.have been used to infer solar magnetic activity and thus likely brightness.34 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Variation 35 with high-altitude and orbital instruments. These characteristics indicate that the next solar . The sensitivity of climate to cyclical variations in solar forcing will be higher for longer cycles due to the thermal inertia of the ocean. Sunspot numbers over the past 11. Researchers have combined present readings and factors to adjust historical data. 4230 BC. • 87 years (70-100 years): Gleissberg cycle. 1990).300 years: Hallstatt cycle Other patterns have been detected: • In carbon-14: 105. SOLAR CYCLES Solar cycles are cyclic changes in behavior of the Sun. 7310 BC. named after George Ellery Hale. The Babcock Model explains this as being due to a shedding of entangled magnetic fields.such as the abundance of cosmogenic isotopes .Braun. Predictions Based on Patterns • A simple model based on emulating harmonics by multiplying the basic 11-year cycle by powers of 2 produced results similar to Holocene behavior.400 years. 232. The level of solar activity during the past 70 years is exceptional . 1991). 5460 BC. 9170 BC. 690 AD. 504. de Vries cycle). 131.k. named after Wolfgang Gleißberg. 2. • During the Upper Permian 240 million years ago.

there is some evidence that sunshine at the Earth's surface has been decreasing in the last 50 Changes in Ultraviolet Irradiance • Ultraviolet irradiance (EUV) varies by approximately 1. Historical estimates use various measurements and proxies. or changes in the relative amount of radiation reaching regions of the Earth. These have caused variations of as much as 25% (locally. and >100 years have been measured in seasurface temperatures. or insolation. whilst over roughly the same timespan solar output has been nearly constant. over the past 300 years there probably has been an increase of 0.25% increase. The most recent significant event was an axial tilt of 24° during boreal summer at near the time of the Holocene climatic optimum. total radiation.36 Solar Energy and its Uses cycle should have a maximum smoothed sunspot number of about 145±30 in 2010 while the following cycle should have a maximum of about 70±30 in 2023. • Because carbon-14 cycles are quasi periodic. Indeed. or radiation in various frequencies. The equipment used might measure optical brightness.6%.05% per decade trend of increased solar output between solar minima over the short span of the data set. • Changes corresponding to solar changes with periods of 9-13.5 percent from solar maxima to minima. Mordvinov (2003) SOLAR IRRADIANCE OF EARTH AND ITS SURFACE Solar irradiance. SOLAR INTERACTIONS WITH EARTH There are several hypotheses for how solar variations may affect Earth. • Since the Maunder Minimum. global average changes are much smaller) in solar insolation over long periods. Some variations. are presently only of interest in the field of astronomy. including the surface. and clouds and dust also affect it. Hence measurements above the atmosphere are needed to observe variations in solar output. There are two common meanings: • the radiation reaching the upper atmosphere • the radiation reaching some point within the atmosphere. These display a high degree of correlation with solar magnetic activity as measured by Greenwich Sunspot Number. . Cycle length Cycle name Last positive carbon-14 anomaly AD 1922 (cool) AD 1898 (cool) AD 1986 (cool) Next "warming" 232 --?-- AD 2038 MILANKOVITCH CYCLE VARIATIONS Some variations in insolation are not due to solar changes but rather due to the Earth moving closer or further from the Sun. • The variation during recent cycles has been about 0. is the amount of sunlight which reaches the Earth. Wilson. for 200 to 300 nm UV. 18-25. 208 Suess AD 2002 88 Gleisberg AD 2030 Changes in Total Irradiance • Overall brightness may change.1%. within the confounding effects of changes to the atmosphere.1 to 0. such as changes in the size of the Sun. Damon and Sonett (1989) predict future climate: Solar Variation 37 years (see global dimming) possibly caused by increased atmospheric pollution. Various gases within the atmosphere absorb some solar radiation at different wavelengths. • One reconstruction from the ACRIM data show a 0. with climate models often using a 0.

Extreme solar events can affect electrical devices. • Variations in the solar wind affect the size and intensity of the heliosphere. and the Earth's magnetic field. Earth is showered in energetic solar particles (primarily protons) released .3 since 1901. Observational evidence for such a relationship is. Solar Proton Events Energetic protons can reach Earth within 30 minutes of a major flare's peak. at best. Variations in any of these affect aurora displays. Other Effects Due to Solar Variation Interaction of solar particles. cause variations in the particle and electromagnetic fields at the surface of the planet. though these particles do not resemble actual cloud condensation nuclei found in nature. • The Earth's albedo decreased by about 2. EFFECTS ON CLOUDS • Cosmic rays have been hypothesized to affect formation of clouds through possible effects on production of cloud condensation nuclei. leading to stratospheric heating and to poleward displacements in the stratospheric and tropospheric wind systems. • As the solar coronal-source magnetic flux doubled during the past century. but significant effects are not obvious. and an increase 3. the volume larger than the Solar System filled with solar wind particles. inconclusive. GEOMAGNETIC EFFECTS Solar Particles Interact with Earth's Magnetosphere The Earth's polar aurorae are visual displays created by interactions between the solar wind. It has been speculated that a change in cosmic rays could cause an increase in certain types of clouds. 10Be and 36Cl show changes tied to solar activity. as measured by lunar "Earthshine". • Merranean core study of plankton detected a solar-related 11 year cycle. • Cosmogenic production of 14C. • The Sun's total magnetic flux rose by a factor of 1. • 1983-1994 data from the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) showed that global low cloud formation was highly correlated with cosmic ray flux. A considerable reduction in cloud cover is proposed. the Earth's magnetic field. the solar magnetosphere. o UV irradiance increase causes higher ozone production. altering the types of particles reaching the surface. Solar Variation 39 Changes in the Solar Wind and the Sun's Magnetic Flux • A more active solar wind and stronger magnetic field reduces the cosmic rays striking the Earth's atmosphere. the cosmic-ray flux has decreased by about 15%. • Cosmic ray ionization in the upper atmosphere does change. Similar reduction was measured by satellites during the previous cycle. o The 30 hPa atmospheric pressure level has changed height in phase with solar activity during the last 4 solar cycles. Sudden changes can cause the intense disturbances in the Earth's magnetic fields which are called geomagnetic storms. the solar magnetic field. During such a solar proton event. • A proxy study estimates that UV has increased by 3% since the Maunder Minimum. subsequent to this the correlation breaks down.5% over 5 years during the most recent solar cycle. affecting Earth's albedo. Weakening of the Sun's magnetic field is believed to increase the number of interstellar cosmic rays which reach Earth's atmosphere.41 from 1964-1996 and by a factor of 2. • A laboratory experiment conducted by Henrik Svensmark at the Danish National Space Center was able to produce particles as a result of cosmic ray-like irradiation.7 times larger between 1760 and 1950.38 Solar Energy and its Uses • Energy changes in the UV wavelengths involved in production and loss of ozone have atmospheric effects. and the Earth's atmosphere.

GLOBAL WARMING Researchers have correlated solar variation with changes in the Earth's average temperature and climate . In addition to variations in solar activity. Difficulties in interpreting such correlations include the fact that many aspects of solar variability change at similar times.sometimes finding an effect. Therefore. with increased GCR levels during "antiparallel" cycles. The Hallstatt solar cycle length of approximately 2300 years is reflected by climatic Dansgaard-Oeschger events. ionization levels potentially affect levels of condensation.g. and albedo due to clouds. mostly protons and electrons. increased solar activity results in a reduction of cosmic rays reaching the earth's atmosphere and reduces 14C production. Some of these particles spiral down Earth's magnetic field lines.000 years shows that the 14C production was much higher during the mid-Holocene 7. and some climate systems have delayed responses. not all scientists accept . and some that do attribute it to other solar variability (e. Levels of GCRs have been indirectly recorded by their influence on the production of carbon-14 and beryllium-10. Global average cloud cover change has been found to be 1.52%. production of radiocarbon relative to recent wood can be measured and dated. Changes of 3-4% in cloudiness and concurrent changes in cloud top temperatures have been correlated to the 11 and 22 year solar (sunspot) cycles. and the solar magnetic field deflect galactic cosmic rays (GCR). UV or total irradiance variations) rather than directly to GCR changes.40 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Variation 41 from the flare site. the long term trends in carbon-14 production are influenced by changes in the Earth's geomagnetic field and by changes in carbon cycling within the biosphere (particularly those associated with changes in the extent of vegetation since the last ice age). radon is a dominant source of ionization in many areas). As a result. penetrating the upper layers of our atmosphere where they produce additional ionization and may produce a significant increase in the radiation environment. low clouds. the solar wind. Galactic Cosmic Rays An increase in solar activity (more sunspots) is accompanied by an increase in the "solar wind. Paradoxically. A decrease in solar activity increases the GCR penetration of the troposphere and stratosphere. This is because cosmic rays are partially excluded from the Solar System by the outward sweep of magnetic fields in the solar wind. GCR particles are the primary source of ionization in the troposphere above 1 km (below 1 km. Carbon-14 is produced in the upper atmosphere when cosmic ray bombardment of atmospheric nitrogen (14N) changes the Nitrogen into an unusual form of Carbon with an atomic weight of 14 rather than the more common 12. However. the 14C concentration of the atmosphere is lower during sunspot maxima and higher during sunspot minima. Several studies of GCR and cloud cover variations have found positive correlation at latitudes greater than 50° and negative correlation at lower latitudes. Researchers who have found an Cloud Effects Changes in ionization affect the abundance of aerosols that serve as the nuclei of condensation for cloud formation. By measuring the captured 14C in wood and counting tree rings. this correlation as statistically significant. relative humidity. A reconstruction of the past 10." which is an outflow of ionized particles. and sometimes not. Thus the cosmic ray intensity and carbon-14 production vary oppositely to the general level of solar activity. The Earth's geomagnetic field. Carbon-14 Production The production of carbon-14 (radiocarbon: 14C) also is related to solar activity. Clouds formed from greater amounts of condensation nuclei are brighter. and likely to produce less precipitation.000 years ago. longer lived. The 80-90 year solar Gleissberg cycles appear to vary in length depending upon the lengths of the concurrent 11 year solar cycles. from the sun.000 years ago and decreased until 1. and there also appear to be similar climate patterns occurring on this time scale.

2002.This suggest that general circulation model (GCM) simulations of twentieth century warming may overestimate the role of solar irradiance variability..e." This is now however disputed by a recent reply by Svensmark and Friis-Christensen which concludes that tropospheric air temperature records. which shows a constant temperature rise.There is.. Here we show that over the past 20 years. long-term climate change may appear to track the amplitude of the solar activity cycles because the stochastic response increases with the cycle amplitude. . More recently. do show a significant negative correlation between cosmic-ray flux and air temperatures up to 2006. 2007.Solar radiative forcing of climate is reduced by a factor of 5 when the background component is omitted from historical reconstructions of total solar irradiance . . as opposed to the surface air temperature data used by Lockwood and Fröhlich. and downplays the likelihood of significant shifts in solar output over long periods of time.. not because there is an actual secular irradiance change. Lockwood and Fröhlich.) say: Our simulation suggests that secular changes in terrestrial proxies of solar activity (such as the 14C and 10Be cosmogenic isotopes and the aa geomagnetic index) can occur in the absence of long-term (i. . growing empirical evidence for the Sun's role in climate change on multiple time scales including the 11-year cycle . however.In this way. all the trends in the Sun that could have had an influence on the Earth's climate have been in the opposite direction to that required to explain the observed rise in global mean temperatures. . They also point out that Lockwood and Fröhlich present their data by using running means of around 10 years..42 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Variation 43 effect include Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas or Douglass and Clader.Climate response to solar variability may involve amplification of climate modes which the GCMs do not typically include.. The IPCC questions the magnitude of long-term (last hundred or more years) solar variation in section 6... .. However the Lean 1995 value may well be too high: more recently Lean et al (GRL 2002. (1995)..... Geophysical Research Letters. find that there "is considerable evidence for solar influence on the Earth's pre-industrial climate and the Sun may well have been a factor in post-industrial climate change in the first half of the last century.this suggests that total solar irradiance may also lack significant secular trends.11 of the TAR and show various results including Lean et al. a study and review of existing literature published in Nature in September 2006 suggests that the evidence is solidly on the side of solar brightness having relatively little effect on global climate. secular) solar irradiance changes. This reply has so far not been published in a peer-reviewed journal..

. Phy. Damon and Laut report in Eos that the apparent strong correlations displayed on these graphs have been obtained by incorrect handling of the physical data. must still be investigated.44 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Variation Theory 45 3 SOLAR VARIATION THEORY There have been proposals that variations in solar output explain past climate change and contribute to global warming. The most accepted influence of solar variation on the climate is through direct radiative forcing. In 1991. notably those by Svensmark and by Lassen (below). since. The meteorological community has responded with skepticism. Little Ice Age) . Solanki agrees with the scientific consensus that the marked upswing in temperatures since about 1980 is attributable to human activity. the brighter sun and higher levels of so-called "greenhouse gases" both contributed to the change in the Earth's temperature. and their misleading character has not yet been generally recognized. but it was impossible to say which had the greater impact. according to our latest knowledge on the variations of the solar magnetic field. they used sunspot and temperature measurements from 1861 to 1989. Various hypotheses have been proposed to explain the apparent solar correlation with temperatures that some assert appear to be stronger than can be explained by direct irradiation and the first order positive feedbacks to increases in solar activity. the . which is affected by the solar output) such as changes in cloud cover. but later found that climate records dating back four centuries supported their findings. The theories have usually represented one of three types: • Solar irradiance changes directly affecting the climate. This is generally considered unlikely. Sami Solanki.. This relationship appeared to account for nearly 80 per cent of the measured temperature changes over this period (see graph). in part because theories of this nature have come and gone over the course of the 20th century. Many of these speculative accounts have fared badly over time. however. Knud Lassen of the Danish Meteorological Institute in Copenhagen and his colleague Eigil Friis-Christensen found a strong correlation between the length of the solar cycle and temperature changes throughout the northern hemisphere. 2003 p801-812) Peter Laut demonstrates problems with some of the most popular. Atmos." Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas of the Harvard Observatory correlated historical sunspot counts with temperature proxies. the mechanism behind these correlations is a matter of speculation. • Effects mediated by changes in cosmic rays (which are affected by the solar wind. Although correlations often can be found.and that when there are more sunspots the earth warmed. the director of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Katlenburg-Lindau. the significant increase in the Earth's temperature since 1980 is indeed to be ascribed to the greenhouse effect caused by carbon dioxide. Nevertheless. The graphs are still widely referred to in the literature. Germany said: The sun has been at its strongest over the past 60 years and may now be affecting global temperatures. The UV component varies by more than the total. the earth cooled (see Maunder Minimum. • Variations in the ultraviolet component having an effect. Damon and Laut. as the amplitudes of the variations in solar irradiance are much too small to have the observed relation absent some amplification process. They report that when there are fewer sunspots. show that when the graphs are corrected for filtering errors. and Solar-Terr.. Initially. and in a paper "Solar activity and terrestrial climate: an analysis of some purported correlations" (J. • Just how large this role of solar variation is.

It should be noted that their solar forcing included "spectrally-resolved changes in solar irradiance" and not the indirect effects mediated through cosmic rays for which there is still no accepted mechanism . They found that "solar effects may have contributed significantly to the warming in the first half of the century although this result is dependent on the reconstruction of total solar irradiance that is used. Stott's 2003 work mentioned in the model section above largely revised his assessment. New Scientist magazine reported that Lassen and astrophysicist Peter Thejll had updated Lassen's 1991 research and found that while the solar cycle still accounts for about half the temperature rise since 1900. When the period turned out to be wet.") .46 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Variation Theory 47 sensational agreement with the recent global warming. An example was a highly credible forecast of a dry spell in Africa during the sunspot minimum of the early 1930s. and found a significant solar contribution to recent warming. In addition. Something else is acting on the climate." Stott's team found that combining all of these factors enabled them to closely simulate global temperature changes throughout the 20th century. HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE Physicist and historian Spencer R. other words." Thejll said. Weart in The Discovery of Global Warming (2003) writes: The study of sun spot cycles was generally popular through the first half of the century." On May 6. Respected scientists and enthusiastic amateurs insisted they had found patterns reliable enough to make predictions. a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). although still smaller (between 16 and 36%) than that of the greenhouse gases. A graphical representation of the relationship between natural and anthropogenic factors contributing to climate change appears in "Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis". Note that the prior link to "graph" is one such example of this. the study notes "uncertainties in historical forcing" . which drew worldwide attention. we find that anthropogenic increases in greenhouses gases are largely responsible for the observed warming. an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. it fails to explain a rise of 0. Their study looked at both "natural forcing agents" (solar variations and volcanic emissions) as well as "anthropogenic forcing" (greenhouse gases and sulphate aerosols). however. with no evidence for significant solar effects. the authors and other researchers keep presenting the old misleading graph.these ideas are still being fleshed out. If rainfall in England didn't fit the cycle. past natural forcing may still be having a delayed warming effect. a meteorologist later recalled "the subject of sunspots and weather relationships fell into dispute. especially among British meteorologists who witnessed the discomfiture of some of their most respected superiors.. "For a young climate researcher to entertain any statement of sun-weather relationships was to brand oneself a crank. maybe storminess in New England would. balanced by some cooling due to anthropogenic sulphate aerosols.4 °C since 1980." Later that same year. In the latter half of the century. Governments had collected a lot of weather data to play with and inevitably people found correlations between sun spot cycles and select weather patterns. Peter Stott and other researchers at the Hadley Centre in the United Kingdom published a paper in which they reported on the most comprehensive model simulations to date of the climate of the 20th century. "The curves diverge after 1980. has totally disappeared. It has the fingerprints of the greenhouse effect. Sallie Baliunas. Sooner or later though every prediction failed. "and it's a startlingly large deviation." Even in the 1960s he said. They predicted that continued greenhouse gas emissions would cause additional future temperature increases "at a rate similar to that observed in recent decades".. has been among the supporters of the theory that changes in the sun "can account for major climate changes on Earth for the past 300 years. 2000. most likely due to the oceans. including part of the recent surge of global warming..

that this weaker magnetic field is to first . This pattern is best visualized in the form of the so-called butterfly diagram. HISTORY The solar cycle was discovered in 1843 by Samuel Heinrich Schwabe. Individual sunspot cycles are partitioned from one minimum to the next. a time during which very few sunspots were observed. The physical basis of the solar cycle was elucidated in the early twentieth century by George Ellery Hale and collaborators. • modulates the occurrence frequency of flares. The solar cycle. is a real feature. and coincides with the Little Ice Age. the solar cycle • structures the sun's atmosphere. • indirectly modulates the flux of high-energy galactic cosmic rays entering the solar system. Solar maximum and solar minimum refer respectively to epochs of maximum and minimum sunspot counts. and then closer and closer to the equator until solar minimum is reached. Powered by a hydromagnetic dynamo process driven by the inductive action of internal solar flows. or the solar magnetic activity cycle. • is opposite across hemispheres throughout a cycle. and the process is repeated month after month to produce this time-latitude diagram. The period between 1645 and 1715. the Group sunspot number (blue). it remains common usage to speak of the "11-year solar cycle". reconstructing the cycle back to 1745. • modulates the solar irradiance. Rudolf Wolf compiled and studied these and other observations. • reverses itself in both hemispheres from one sunspot cycle to the next. However. but cycles as short as 9 years and as long as 14 years have been observed. In the second half of the nineteenth century it was also noted (independently) by Richard Carrington and by Spörer that as the cycle progresses. Walter and Annie Maunder in the early twentieth century. who extensively researched this peculiar event. and the monthly-averaged fractional surface of sunspots calculated. generally deemed a more reliable reconstruction over this time interval. as seen in variations of the sunspot number index. and other geoeffective solar eruptive phenomena. and. Images of the sun are divided into latitudinal strips. corona and wind. eventually pushing these reconstructions to the earliest observations of sunspots by Galileo and contemporaries in the early seventeenth century. Starting with Wolf. as opposed to an artifact due to missing data. The average duration of the sunspot cycle is about 11 years (about 28 cycles in the 309 years between 1699 and 2008). which continues to be used today. the 1755-1766 cycle is traditionally numbered "1". namely the monthly sunspot number (orange). • modulates the flux of short-wavelength solar radiation. from 1610 to 1750. from ultraviolet to X-Ray. and in 1919 went on to show that the magnetic polarity of sunspot pairs: • is always the same in a given solar hemisphere throughout a given sunspot cycle. Half a century later. is the main source of periodic variation of all solar phenomena driving variations in space weather. who after 17 years of observations noticed a periodic variation in the average number of sunspots seen from year to year on the solar disk. This is plotted vertically as a color-coded bar. solar astronomers have found it useful to define a standard sunspot number index. because very nearly all manifestations of the solar cycle are insensitive to magnetic polarity.48 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Variation Theory 49 SOLAR CYCLE The solar cycle. first constructed by the husband-wife team of E. after Edward Walter Maunder. coronal mass ejections. Following the numbering scheme established by Wolf. sunspots appear first at mid-latitudes. This epoch is now known as the Maunder minimum. and yearly sunspot number (red). Significant variations in amplitude also occur. Hale's observations revealed that the solar cycle is a magnetic cycle with an average duration of 22 years. first noted by Gustav Spörer. who in 1908 showed that sunspots were strongly magnetized (this was the first detection of magnetic fields outside the Earth). the father-and-son team of Harold Babcock and Horace Babcock showed that the solar surface is magnetized even outside of sunspots. Three historical reconstruction are shown.

50 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Variation Theory 51 order a dipole. These various observations established that the solar cycle is a spatiotemporal magnetic process unfolding over the sun as a whole. Recent observations indicate that the primary driver of TSI changes is the varying photospheric coverage of these different types of solar magnetic structures. which then produces a new poloidal component of reversed polarity. SURFACE MAGNETISM Sunspots may exist anywhere from a few days to a few months. EUV and XRay flux varies accordingly. a great many magnetized structures other than sunspots appear on the solar surface and many of them. 3 below). Figure 5 illustrates this variation for soft X-Ray. Interestingly. which later produces a new toroidal component of sign such as to reverse the polarity of the original toroidal field.1 Watt per square meter on timescales of a few days (see Figure 4.1% level. the minimum and maximum levels of solar activity have remained roughly the same from then to now. as observed. Sunspots. They collectively end up slightly overcompensating for the overall irradiance deficit associated with the larger but less numerous sunspots. This is because at solar maximum. Similar cycle-related variations are observed in the flux of solar UV or EUV radiation. and so on. the unmagnetized regions of the Sun's atmosphere emit very little short-wave radiation. for example. are produced from a strong toroidal (longitudinallydirected) magnetic field within the solar interior. up to 1366. It is observed to vary in phase with the solar cycle. SHORT-WAVELENGTH RADIATION With a temperature of 5870 kelvin. on the other hand. EUV and X-Ray radiation . The basic causes of the solar cycle are still under debate. SOLAR IRRADIANCE The total solar irradiance (TSI) is the amount of solar radiative energy impinging on the Earth's upper atmosphere. although contributions from long-timescale variations associated with a deep-seated physical process. and this releases magnetic flux in the solar photosphere. non-flaring solar UV. with fluctuations about the means of about +/ . These transport mechanisms lead to the accumulation of the magnetized decay products at high solar latitudes. as observed by the Japanese satellite YOHKOH. This magnetic field is dispersed and churned by turbulent convection. eventually reversing the polarity of the polar fields. Even though it only accounts for a minuscule fraction of total solar radiation. the Sun is slightly brighter at solar maximum.6 at solar maximum. the level of diffuse. and reaches peak strength at the time of solar minimum. Physically. but they eventually decay. The dipolar component of the solar magnetic field is observed to reverse polarity around the time of solar maximum. even though sunspots are darker than the rest of the solar photosphere. is far too small to affect Earth's climate directly. However. the solar cycle can be thought of as a regenerative loop where the toroidal component produces a poloidal field. yellow and red curves). are brighter than the photosphere. spanning cycle 21 through 23. and solar large-scale flows. cannot be ruled out entirely as yet. such as extreme ultraviolet (EUV) and X-Rays. The min-to-max variation. Since surface coverage of magnetic structures varies markedly in the course of the cycle. such as faculae and active elements of the network. All of solar activity is strongly modulated by the solar magnetic cycle.5 Watt per square meter at solar minimum. with some researchers suggesting a link with the tidal forces due to the gas giants Jupiter and Saturn IMPACTS OF THE SOLAR CYCLE The sun's magnetic field structures its atmosphere and outer layers all the way through the corona and into the solar wind. with yearly averages going from 1365. at the 0. and that this dipole also undergoes polarity reversals with the same period as the sunspot cycle (see Fig. Its spatiotemporal variations lead to a host of phenomena collectively known as solar activity. but it is worth keeping in mind that continuous reliable measurements of the TSI are only available since 1978. magnetized regions emit more short-wave radiation. such as cycle-mediated small changes in the efficiency of convective energy transport. the impact of solar UV. by the SOHO or TRACE satellites. since the latter serves as the energy source and dynamical engine for the former.

It represents a measure of diffuse. Sunspot activity has a major effect on long distance radio communications particularly on the shortwave bands although medium wave and low VHF frequencies are also affected. Flares of any given size are some 50 times more frequent at solar maximum than at minimum. one of these (an X9. or flares.0 flare on Dec 5) stands as one of the brightest on record. This anticorrelation is clearly detected in cosmic ray flux measurements at the Earth's surface. and that Maunder minimum-like epochs of suppressed activity.52 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Variation Theory 53 on the Earth's upper atmosphere is profound. High levels of sunspot activity lead to improved signal propagation on higher frequency bands. . near the peak of the observed solar radio emission. A good recent case in point are the three large X-class flares having occurred in December 2006. of varying durations have occurred repeatedly over that time span. These effects are caused by impact of the increased level of solar radiation on the ionosphere.000 years. nonradiative heating of the coronal plasma trapped by magnetic fields over active regions.7 index is a measure of the solar radio flux per unit frequency at a wavelength of 10. GEOEFFECTIVE ERUPTIVE PHENOMENA The solar magnetic field structures the corona. caused by sudden localized release of magnetic energy driving copious emission of ultraviolet and X-ray radiation as well as energetic particles. the cosmic ray flux in the inner solar system is anticorrelated with the overall level of solar activity.7 cm solar flux can interfere with point-to-point terrestrial communications. As a consequence. Solar UV flux is a major driver of stratospheric chemistry. giving it its characteristic shape visible at times of solar eclipses. For reasons not yet understood in detail.7cm. Complex coronal magnetic field structures evolve in response to fluid motions at the solar surface. Their concentration can be measured in ice cores. Although they also increase the levels of solar noise and ionospheric disturbances. leading to coronal mass ejections into interplanetary space. very near solar minimum. and is the longest direct record of solar activity available. and are the primary drivers of what is now called space weather. Large coronal mass ejections occur on average a few times a day at solar maximum. other than sunspot-related quantities. SOLAR RADIO FLUX Emission from the Sun at centimetric (radio) wavelength is due primarily to coronal plasma trapped in the magnetic fields overlying active regions. The occurrence frequency of coronal mass ejections and flares is strongly modulated by the solar activity cycle. Heliobiology. COSMIC RAY FLUX The outward expansion of solar ejecta into interplanetary space provides overdensities of plasma that are efficient at scattering high-energy cosmic rays entering the solar system from elsewhere in the galaxy. sometimes these structures lose stability. The F10. and Astrobiology. It has been proposed that 10. IMPACT ON BIOSPHERE AND HUMAN CIRCADIAN CYCLE The impact of Solar cycle on living organisms is covered in part by interdisciplinary studies in the fields of science known as Chronobiology. These eruptive phenomena can have a significant impact on Earth's upper atmosphere and space environment. and is an excellent indicator of overall solar activity levels. and emergence of magnetic flux produced by dynamo action in the solar interior. Some of the fission products include radionuclides such as 14C and 10Be. Such reconstructions indicate that the overall level of solar activity since the middle of the twentieth century stands amongst the highest of the past 10. Since the frequency of solar eruptive events is strongly modulated by the solar cycle.7 cm record extends back to 1947. the degree of cosmic ray scattering in the outer solar system varies in step. and increases in ionizing radiation significantly affect ionosphere-influenced temperature and electrical conductivity. Some high-energy cosmic rays entering Earth's atmosphere collide hard enough with molecular atmospheric constituents to cause occasionally nuclear spallation reactions. The solar F10. down to one every few days at solar minimum The size of these events themselves does not depend sensitively on the phase of the solar cycle. which settle down on Earth's surface. allowing a reconstruction of solar activity levels into the distant past.

Originally planned as a two-year mission. the decrease in ultraviolet light received from the sun leads to a decrease in the concentration of ozone. with the result that the object will stay in that relative position. Operations proceeded until 23:16 UTC when SOHO lost lock on the Sun. the point between the Earth and the Sun where the balance of the (larger) Sun's gravity and the (smaller) Earth's gravity is equal to the centripetal force needed for an object to have the same orbital period in its orbit around the Sun as the Earth. This keeps SOHO at a good position for communication with Earth at all times. necessary for pointing the high gain antenna and allowing the downlink of high rate data. In the stratosphere ozone is continuously regenerated by the splitting of O2 molecules by ultraviolet light. NEAR LOSS OF SOHO The SOHO Mission Interruption sequence of events began on 24 June 1998. it is currently the main source of near-real time solar data for space weather prediction. SOHO is one of three spacecraft currently in the vicinity of the Earth-Sun L1 point. In addition to its scientific contributions. and began normal operations in May 1996. ORBIT The 610 kg SOHO spacecraft is in a halo orbit around the SunEarth L1 point. ESA and NASA engineers managed to use SOHO's low gain antennas together with the larger 34 and 70 meter DSN ground stations and judicious use of SOHO's Solid State Recorder (SSR) to prevent total data loss. SOHO is distinguished by being the first three-axis-stabilized spacecraft to use its reaction wheels as a kind of virtual gyroscope. the SOHO satellite is not exactly at L1 as this would make communication difficult due to radio interference generated by the Sun. tracing out an elliptical orbit centered about L1. It is about 1. It stays in this plane.99 astronomical unit (AU)s from the Sun and 0. During a solar minimum.). Gravity from the Sun is 2% (118 µm/s²) more than at the Earth (5. However. with only a slightly reduced data flow every three months. In 2003 ESA reported the failure of the antenna Y-axis stepper motor. The sum of both effects is balanced by the gravity of the Earth. At the time. SOHO currently continues to operate after over ten years in space. the technique was adopted after an on-board emergency in 1998 that nearly resulted in the loss of the spacecraft. 1995 to study the Sun. and entered an emergency attitude control mode called Emergency . while the reduction of required centripetal force is half of this (59 µm/s²). SOLAR AND HELIOSPHERIC OBSERVATORY The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) is a spacecraft that was launched on a Lockheed Martin Atlas IIAS launch vehicle on December 2. Along with the GGS Wind and Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE). It is a joint project of international cooperation between the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA. which in turn produce geomagnetically induced current creating blackouts.54 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Variation Theory 55 UVB VARIATION The amount of UVB light at 300 nm reaching the Earth varies by as much as 400% over the solar cycle due to variations in the protective ozone layer. while L1 itself orbits the sun every 12 months as it is coupled with the motion of the Earth.9 mm/s²). SOHO's data about solar activity are used to predict solar flares. COMMUNICATION WITH EARTH In normal operation the spacecraft transmits a continuous 200 kbit/s data stream of photographs and other measurements via the NASA Deep Space Network of ground stations. Rather it lies in the (constantly moving) plane which passes through L1 and is perpendicular to the line connecting the sun and the Earth.01 AU from the Earth. while the SOHO Team was conducting a series of spacecraft gyroscope calibrations and maneuvers. which is here also 177 µm/s². etc. it was thought that the antenna anomaly might cause two to three week data-blackouts every three months. a point of gravitational balance located approximately 0. allowing increased UVB to penetrate to the Earth's surface.5 million kilometers from the Earth. so electrical grids and satellites can be protected from their damaging effects (mainly. Although sometimes described as being at L1. It orbits L1 once every six months. and because this would not be a stable orbit. In addition to its scientific mission. solar flares may produce geomagnetic storms.

After instrument temperatures were downlinked on August 9. and planning for the SOHO recovery began in earnest. SOHO was spinning. the SOHO spacecraft (bus) returned to normal mode on September 25 at 19:52 UTC.56 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Variation Theory 57 Sun Reacquisition (ESR). temperature and flows in the corona. Attitude control was accomplished with manual thruster firings that consumed 7kg of fuel weekly. INSTRUMENTS The SOHO Payload Module (PLM) consists of twelve instruments. SWAN. and some spacecraft components. Recovery efforts continued. losing electrical power. On July 23. CDS. After nearly a week of spacecraft bus recovery activities and an orbital correction maneuver. the first signal since June 25. 1999. oriented with its side versus the usual front Optical Surface Reflector panel pointing toward the Sun. and the corona. The SOHO Team attempted to recover the observatory. Only one gyro remained operational after this recovery. SOHO was close to its predicted position. After days of charging the battery. EIT. • Making observations of solar wind and associated phenomena in the vicinity of L1. The SOHO Recovery Team began by allocating the limited electrical power. Thawing pipes and the thrusters was next. but SOHO entered the emergency mode for the last time at 04:38 UTC. Days passed without contact from SOHO. After this. but SOHO entered the emergency mode again on June 25 02:35 UTC. SUMER. • Large Angle and Spectrometric COronagraph experiment (LASCO) which studies the structure and evolution of the corona by creating an artificial solar eclipse. CELIAS and CEPAC are used for "in situ" solar wind observations. All contact with SOHO was lost. the Arecibo Observatory and DSN antennas were used to locate SOHO with radar. and the mission interruption had begun. On 3 August a carrier was detected from SOHO. while ESA developed a new gyroless operations mode that was successfully implemented on February 1. • Energetic and Relativistic Nuclei and Electron experiment (ERNE) which studies the ion and electron composition of the solar wind. LASCO. Once SOHO was located. • Extreme ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (EIT) which studies the low coronial structure and activity. and was rotating at one RPM. MDI. data analysis was performed.) • Global Oscillations at Low Frequencies (GOLF) which measures velocity variations of the whole solar disk to explore the core of the sun. and SOHO was reoriented towards the Sun on September 16. transition region. plans for contacting SOHO were formed. and to determine its location and attitude. 1998 with CELIAS. SCIENTIFIC OBJECTIVES The three main scientific objectives of SOHO are: • Investigation of the outer layer of the Sun. Recovery of the instruments began on October 5 with SUMER. (COSTEP and ENRE are sometimes referred to together as the COSTEPERNE Particle Analyzer Collaboration (CEPAC). and VIRGO are used for helioseismology. a successful attempt was made to modulate the carrier and downlink telemetry on August 8. and no longer pointing at the Sun. The instruments are: • Coronal Diagnostic Spectrometer (CDS) which measures density. • Charge ELement and Isotope Analysis System (CELIAS) which studies the ion composition of the solar wind. GOLF. Thawing the frozen hydrazine fuel tank using SOHO's thermal control heaters began on August 12. which consists of the chromosphere. . Expert ESA personnel were immediately dispatched from Europe to the United States to direct operations. and ended on October 24. and UVCS are used for this solar atmosphere remote sensing. SOHO's anomalous orientation in space was determined. • Comprehensive SupraThermal and Energetic Particle analyser collaboration (COSTEP) which studies the ion and electron composition of the solar wind. (See note above in COSTEP entry. and on December 21 that gyro failed. each capable of independent or coordinated observation of the Sun or parts of the Sun. • Probing the interior structure of the Sun.

• Solar Wind ANisotropies (SWAN) which uses telescopes sensitive to a characteristic wavelength of hydrogen to measure the solar wind mass flux. JOP proposals are reviewed at the quarterly Science Working Team ("SWT") meetings. Images taken partly or exclusively with non-visible wavelengths are shown on the SOHO page and elsewhere in false color. The Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory (LMSAL) built the MDI instrument in collaboration with the solar group at Stanford University. Recently. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory built the UVCS instrument. Approximately one-half of all known comets have been discovered by SOHO. • Variability of solar IRradiance and Gravity Oscillations (VIRGO) which measures oscillations and solar constant both of the whole solar disk and at low resolution. As a consequence of its observing the Sun. wired. VC2 (MDI-M) carries MDI magnetogram data. SOHO (specifically the LASCO instrument) has inadvertently discovered comets by blocking out the Sun's glare. again exploring the core of the sun. • UltraViolet Coronagraph Spectrometer (UVCS) which measures density and temperature in the corona. A formal process (the "JOP" . temperature and density in the corona. Others such as spectra and measurements of particles in the solar wind do not lend themselves so readily to this. there is no time formally allocated by the SOHO program for observing proposals on individual instruments: interested parties can contact the instrument teams directly via e-mail and the SOHO web site to request time via that instrument team's internal processes (some of which are quite informal. while a collection of these modules that are mechanically fastened together. map the density of the heliosphere. and VC3 (MDI-H) carries MDI Helioseismology data. plastic or fiberglass. A photovoltaic installation typically includes an array of photovoltaic modules or panels. Solar Variation Theory 59 program) does exist for using multiple SOHO instruments collaboratively on a single observation. sometimes with a glass covering and a frame and backing made of metal. The MDI is the biggest producer of data by far on SOHO. THEORY AND CONSTRUCTION The majority of modules use wafer-based Crystalline silicon cells or a thin film cell based on cadmium telluride or silicon (see photovoltaic cells for details) crystalline silicon. an inverter. which is commonly Observations from some of the instruments can be formatted as images. PHOTOVOLTAIC MODULE In the field of photovoltaics. it discovered its 1500th comet. An installation of photovoltaic modules or panels is known as a photovoltaic array or a solar panel. batteries (for off grid) and interconnection wiring. and observe the large-scale structure of the solar wind streams. For cost and practicality reasons a number of cells are connected electrically and packaged in a photovoltaic module. most of which are also readily available on the internet for either public or research use (see the official website). are known as a photovoltaic panel or simply solar panel. two of SOHO's virtual channels are named after MDI. a photovoltaic module is a packaged interconnected assembly of photovoltaic cells. These images range in wavelength or frequency from optical (H?) to extreme ultraviolet (UV). and designed to be a field-installable unit. also known as solar cells. • Solar Ultraviolet Measurement of Emitted Radiation (SUMER) which measures plasma flows. and JOP time is allocated at monthly meetings of the Science Planning Working Group. Photovoltaic cells typically require protection from the environment. In fact. INSTRUMENT CONTRIBUTORS The Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research contributed to SUMER. Unlike many space-based and ground telescopes. provided that the ongoing reference observations are not disturbed).58 Solar Energy and its Uses • Michelson Doppler Imager (MDI) which measures velocity and magnetic fields in the photosphere to learn about the convection zone which forms the outer layer of the interior of the sun and about the magnetic fields which control the structure of the corona. LASCO and CELIAS instruments.

a whole range of other companies (eg HoloSun.. most of these companies have not yet produced working systems from their design plans. • protected from moisture. Electrical connections are made in series to achieve a desired output voltage and/or in parallel to provide a desired amount of current source capability.g. increased outputs. the cell and the module are manufactured in the same production line. Since cell heating reduces the operating efficiency it is desirable to minimize the heating.. FLEXIBLE THIN-FILM MODULES Flexible thin film cells and modules are created on the same production line by depositing the photoactive layer and other necessary layers on a flexible substrate. New designs of module include concentrator modules in which the light is concentrated by an array of lenses or mirrors onto an array of small cells. amorphous silicon. Another design concept is to split the light into different wavelength ranges and direct the beams onto different cells tuned to the appropriate wavelength ranges. RIGID THIN-FILM MODULES In rigid thin film modules. If it is a conductor then another technique . Amorphous silicon has a sunlight conversion rate of 5-9%. Very few modules incorporate any design features to decrease temperature. This is especially important for wafer-based silicon cells which are brittle. A group of researchers at MIT has recently developed a process to improve the efficiency of luminescent solar concentrator (LSC) technology. called Covalent Solar. The cell is created directly on a glass substrate or superstrate. usually another sheet of glass. which redirects light along a translucent material to PV-modules located along its edge. Gamma Solar. Finally. In order to use the cells in practical applications. NanoHorizons. Hence much of incident sunlight energy is wasted when used for solar panels. micromorphous silicon (alone or tandem). is derived from silicon.60 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Variation Theory 61 used in the wafer form in photovoltaic (PV) modules. they must be: • connected electrically to one another and to the rest of the system • protected from mechanical damage during manufacture. to manufacture and sell their innovation in PV-modules. a relatively multi-faceted element. however installers try to provide good ventilation behind the module. but there are some flexible modules available. This is projected to raise efficiency to 50%. although they can give far higher efficiencies if illuminated with monochromatic light.. The main cell technologies in this category are CdTe.) are emerging which are also offering new innovations in the modules. • electrically insulated including under rainy conditions • mountable on a substructure Most modules are rigid. or CIGS (or variant). a so called "monolithic integration". but cannot cover the entire solar spectrum. Sunlight conversion rates (module efficiencies) can vary from 5-18% in commercial production. If the substrate is an insulator (e. These new innovations include power generation at the front and back side. based on thin film cells. . Diodes are included to avoid overheating of cells in case of partial shading. 3 of the researchers involved have now started their own company. and the electrical connections are created in situ. The substrate or superstrate is laminated with an encapsulant to a front or back sheet. polyester or polyimide film) then monolithic integration can be used. and are mostly still actively improving the technology. The researchers have suggested that efficiency may be improved by a factor of 10 over the old design in as little as three years. However. . which corrodes metal contacts and interconnects. This allows the use of cells with a very high cost per unit area (such as gallium arsenide) in a cost-competitive way. Depending on construction the photovoltaic can cover a range of frequencies of light and can produce electricity from them. wind and snow loads). (and for thin film cells the transparent conductive oxide layer) thus decreasing performance and lifetime. transport and installation and use (in particular against hail impact..

SolarCarbon. • Converting light to heat: Any black on the inside of a solar cooker. a plastic bag or glass cover will trap the heat inside using the Greenhouse Effect. So-called Inverted Metamorphic (IMM) multi-junction solar cells made on compound-semiconductor technology is just be comming commercialized in July 2008. substantially improving the effectiveness of the cooker. but most solar cookers use two or all three of these strategies in combination to get temperatures sufficient for cooking. like a plastic bag or a glass cover. SOLAR HOT CARBON Solar Hot Carbon (also known as Solar Hot CO2. This makes it possible to reach similar temperatures on cold and windy days as on hot days. such as vacuum insulation. the faster the oven will work. humanitarian organizations are promoting their use worldwide to help slow deforestation and desertification. will allow light to enter. Disclaimer: I work for Emcore. The basic principles of solar cookers are: • Concentrating sunlight: Some device. when insulated by a second means. Cooking containers and the inside bottom of the cooker should be dark-colored or black. usually a mirror or some type of reflective metal. TYPES OF SOLAR COOKERS There are many different types of Solar cookers. The University of Michigan's solar car won the North American Solar challenge in July 2008 used IMM thin-flim flexible solar cells. Essentially. although invisible in visible light. Green house gases. Solar Hot Carbon Systems can become as much as 95% efficientclarify although such a system has never been built. Emcore won an R&D 100 award in July 2008 for commericalization of this technology developed at the National Renewable Energy Laboratories (USA). Carbon Panels.62 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Variation Theory 63 for electrical connection must be used. Carbon Dioxide and other green house gases. the better a pan conducts heat. making the energy more concentrated and therefore more potent. The top can usually be removed to allow dark pots containing food to be placed inside. green house gases are thermal insulators and will prevent infrared heat from getting out as well as heat from getting in. Smoky Solar. Also. will improve the effectiveness of turning light into heat. Alone. each of these strategies for heating something with the sun is fairly ineffective. Solar cookers are also sometimes used in outdoor cooking. is used to concentrate light and heat from the sun into a small cooking area. Because they use no fuel and they cost nothing to run. etc. Solar Methane. As a result. • Trapping heat: Isolating the air inside the cooker from the air outside the cooker makes an important difference. as well as certain materials for pots. caused by using wood as fuel for cooking.) is an somewhat uncommon method for capturing solar energy. especially in situations where minimal fuel consumption or fire risk are considered highly important. It is essentially the same as Solar hot water except that the heat carrying medium is carbon dioxide. A black pan will absorb almost all of the sun's light and turn it into heat. when not allowed to convey heat through direct means can hold much more heat than water. but once the light is absorbed and converted to heat. The inside walls should be reflective to reduce radiative heat loss and bounce . The only commercially available (in MW quantities) flexible module uses amorphous silicon triple junction (from Unisolar). The cells are assembled into modules by laminating them to a transparent colourless fluoropolymer on the front side (typically ETFE or FEP) and a polymer suitable for bonding to the final substrate on the other side. SOLAR COOKER A solar oven or solar cooker is a device which uses sunlight as its energy source. Using a clear solid. are very dark or reflective in infrared light. methane or smog. meaning that heat cannot escape as easily through infrared means. The box usually has one or more reflectors with aluminum foil or other reflective material to bounce extra light into the interior of the box. All solar cookers use the sun's heat and light to cook food.

and easier to work with. or soot from a fire. but since most of the heat escapes through the top glass or plastic. However. etc. An added advantage is that the clear lid allows the food to be observed while it is cooking without removing . The panel cooker is placed in direct sunlight until the food is cooked. it may not be needed on very bright. but less durable. The purpose of the plastic bag is to trap heated air next to the pot. or an oven cooking bag. food can be cooked either early or later in the day. it measures about three feet by four feet (1 m by 1.64 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Variation Theory 65 the light towards the pots and the dark bottom. CooKits can also be made entirely from reclaimed materials. The solar box cooker typically reaches a temperature of 150 °C (300 °F). Solar box cookers can be made of locally available materials or be manufactured in a factory for sale. The transparent top is either glass. Developed in 1994 by Solar Cookers International. solar box cookers have only gained popularity since the 1970s. rags. to wood and glass boxes built into the sunny side of a house. Food containing moisture cannot get much hotter than 100 °C (212 °F) in any case. onto a cut and folded backing. if measures (such as sticks or wires) are taken to keep the bag from touching the hot cooking pot and melting to it. easily reaching temperatures high enough to pasteurize water or cook grains such as rice. these can be darkened either with flat-black spray paint (one that is non-toxic when warmed). On a sunny day. PANEL COOKERS Panel solar cookers are very inexpensive solar cookers that use shiny panels to direct sunlight to a cooking pot that is enclosed in a clear plastic bag. so it is not necessary to cook at the high temperatures indicated in standard cookbooks. dry grass. The pot is placed in a clear plastic bag and tied. wool. sheets of cardboard. including used carboard boxes and foil from the inside of cigarette boxes. For faster cooking. but any plastic bag will work. a Swiss naturalist. clipped. very little insulation in the walls is necessary. cheaper. Food is placed in a dark-colored pot. This design has the advantage of very even heating since the sun is able to shine onto the sides and the bottom of the pot during cooking. Using materials purchased in bulk. windless days. A recent development is the HotPot developed by US NGO Solar Household Energy. the typical cost is about US$5. though. can be used to insulate the walls of the cooker. as early as 1767. meat or vegetables to feed a family with up to three or four children. The cooker can be used to warm food and drinks and can also be used to pasteurize water or milk. one CooKit can collect enough solar energy to cook rice. Inc. The CooKit is considered a low-to-moderate temperature solar cooker. which is in contact with the pots. it is often produced locally by pasting a reflective material. or folded shut. covered with a tightly fitted lid. which usually requires several hours for a full familysized meal. It is best to start cooking before noon. Crumpled newspapers. Depending on the latitude and weather. suitable for cooking a single meal when the sun is shining. They range from small cardboard devices. Although invented by Horace de Saussure. If dark pots and/or bottom trays cannot be located. High-temperature plastic bags (oven roasting bags) can be reused for more than a month. BOX COOKERS The inside insulator for the solar box cooker has to be able to withstand temperatures up to 150°C (300 °F) without melting or off-gassing. it is folded into a bowl shape. It is lightweight and folds for storage. which is durable but hard to work with. When completely unfolded. A common model is the CooKit. To use a panel cooker. These surprisingly simple and useful appliances are seen in growing numbers in almost every country of the world. The cooking vessel in this cooker is a large clear pot with a clear lid into which a dark pot is suspended. An index of detailed wiki pages for each country can be found here. the pot can be raised on sticks or wires to allow the heated air to circulate underneath it. Because the food does not reach too high a temperature. but still hot enough to cook food over a somewhat longer period of time.3 m). such as aluminum foil. which is lighter. usually corrugated cardboard. This is not as hot as a standard oven. Larger families use two or more cookers. black tempera paint. it can be safely left in the cooker all day without burning.

such as melting butter or cheese. The container of food is placed inside the solar cooker. if not all. of the parts required to build them can be scavenged from commonly thrown away items. Potatoes. electricity. If solar kettles uses solar vacuum tubes technologies. When a food. since solar vacuum glass tubes work on accumulated rather than concentrated solar thermal energy. are usually cut into bite-sized pieces rather than being roasted whole. but most follow the same basic principles. dark in color. but retain their heat better when the sunlight has declined. They are especially useful for large-scale institutional cooking. since the stagnating temperature of solar vacuum glass tubes is a high 220 degrees Celsius (425 °F). Unlike nearly all concentrating technologies that use tracking reflector systems. If the solar cooker is . the solar bowl uses a stationary spherical reflector. Bread is usually baked as individual rolls instead of large loaves. Typically they use evacuated (or vacuum) solar glass tube technology to capture. The tripod hybrid grill is revolutionary in that many. Hybrid solar ovens are therefore more independent. a lid may not be needed and the food may be placed on an uncovered tray or in a bowl. or other heat sink.000 meals are prepared daily. The HotPot provides an alternative to using plastic bags in a panel cooker. Glass containers and even plain paper bags are also used. the vacuum insulating properties will keep previously heated water hot throughout the night. The prepared food is placed in an appropriately sized heatproof container. they are difficult to construct. including gas. and the solar cooker is placed in direct sunlight. The solar bowl is a unique concentrating technology used by the Solar Kitchen in Auroville. rocks. mainly in China. Parabolic cookers reach high temperatures and cook quickly. A hybrid solar grill consists of an adjustable parabolic reflector suspended in a tripod with a movable grill surface. then they are placed in different containers. However. These outperform solar box cookers in temperature range and cooking times. with a lid that covers the food and reduces moisture loss. solar cookers usually cut the food into smaller pieces than they might otherwise. metal trivet. such as rice. wood. but require frequent adjustment and supervision for safe operation. Pottery and thick metal (such as cast iron) cook food more slowly. then the minimum necessary amount of water is used. but does not completely seal. etc. For very simple cooking. Food is prepared as it would be for an oven or stovetop. Efficient containers are not significantly larger than necessary to hold the food are usually shallow. Besides heating liquids. Solar kettles can also deliver dry heat and function as ovens and autoclaves. needs to be cooked in water. perhaps elevated on a brick. the design uses any conventional fuel as a heat source. they lack the cost advantages of some other types of solar cookers. Several hundred thousand exist. accumulate and store solar energy needed to power the kettle. SOLAR KETTLES Solar kettles are solar thermal devices that can heat water to boiling point through the reliance on solar energy alone. Steam is produced in the solar bowl's receiver at temperatures reaching 150 °C and then used for process heat in the kitchen where 2.66 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Variation Theory 67 the lid. USING A SOLAR COOKER The different kinds of solar cookers have somewhat different methods for use. The most efficient containers are made of thin. If several foods are to be cooked separately. for example. PARABOLIC COOKERS Although these types of solar cookers can cook as well as a conventional oven. Because food cooks faster when it is in smaller pieces. HYBRID COOKERS A hybrid solar oven is a type of solar oven that uses both the regular elements of a solar box cooker as well as a conventional electrical heating element for cloudy days or nighttime cooking. This reflector focuses light along a line perpendicular to the sphere's surface and a computer control system moves the receiver to intersect this line. When solar energy is not available. India. Moreover. solar kettles only need diffused sunlight to work and needs no sun tracking at all. dull metal. and so they have not caught on as much in third world countries.

a desire for energy independence. to turn the cooker to face the sun more precisely and to ensure that shadows from nearby buildings or plants have not blocked the sunlight. heavy.68 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Variation Theory 69 entirely in direct sunlight. the amount of sunlight at the time. Larger quantities of food. Foods that cook quickly may be added to the solar cooker later. For most foods. a family may use one or more solar cookers. The solar cooker is turned towards the sun and left until the food is cooked. For a small solar panel cooker. Cakes are often baked in a pre-heated solar cooker. such as rice. If the food will be left untended for many hours during the day. the typical person would be unable to tell how it was cooked from looking at the final product. Depending on the size of the solar cooker and the number and quantity of cooked foods. dark-colored metal skillet in the solar cooker. without contributing to global warming or heating up the kitchen and placing additional demands on cooling systems. using a solar oven. which may require more than an hour of constant supervision. If wanted. the environmental advantages. For example. The World Health Organization reports that cooking with fuel wood is the equivalent of smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. however: Bread and cakes brown on their tops instead of on bottom. Inhalation of smoke from cooking fires causes respiratory diseases and death. There are some differences. an egg is added to the pan. while still retaining the desirable texture. Many of those meals could be made in an environmentally responsible way. and not heating up the house on a hot day are usually cited as advantages. However. with vegetables. which quickly change from a perfectly cooked bright green to olive drab. Solar ovens allow you to do it all. depending on the local conditions and the solar cooker type. Compared to cooking over a fire. and the quantity of food that needs to be cooked. Finally. instead of towards its current position. One of the solutions advocated to address this problem is solar cooking which makes no smoke at all. both because it is unnecessary and also because opening the solar cooker allows the trapped heat to escape and thereby slows the cooking process. one-third prepare two or more. In the developing world. where it can cook almost as quickly as it might on a stove top. to bake cookies in two hours. and to cook rice for four people in four hours. Nearly threequarters of US households prepare at least one hot meal per day. Certain foods require different cooking techniques. take longer to cook. then the shadow of the solar cooker will not overlap with the shadow of any nearby object. but one that is accessible to a great majority of people. the solar cooker may be checked every one to two hours. In advanced countries. Air temperature. a common method preheats an empty. It is difficult to burn food in a solar cooker. Food cooks faster in the two hours before and after the local solar noon than it does in either the early morning or the late afternoon. or meat added to the solar cooker in the middle of the morning. cheese. A reliable solar oven can be built from everyday materials in just a few hours or purchased ready-made. it might be possible to melt butter in fifteen minutes. ADVANTAGES Solar ovens are just one part of the alternative energy picture. Rice for a midday meal might be started early in the morning. Food that has been cooked even an hour longer than necessary is usually indistinguishable from minimally cooked food. the food does not have a smoky flavor. Then oil or butter is melted in the pan until sizzling hot. these projects could take half as long. The cooking time depends primarily on the equipment beings used. As a result. wind. as well as larger individual pieces of food. food in a solar cooker is generally not stirred or turned over. The exception to this rule is some green vegetables. largely from the stored heat in the pan. Solar ovens can be used to prepare anything that can be made in a conventional oven or stove . other advantages include: .from baked bread to steamed vegetables to roasted meat. perhaps while sitting on a hot brick. to fry an egg in a solar cooker. Unlike cooking on a stove or over a fire. then the solar cooker is often turned to face the sun the point where the sun will be when it is higher in the sky. and latitude also affect performance. or twice as long. only general figures can be given for cooking time.

sponsored the provision of powerful "Sk-14" parabolic solar cookers in 2004. SOLAR FURNACE A solar furnace is a structure used to harness the rays of the sun in order to produce high temperatures. aluminum foil.000 degrees Celsius. The refugees construct the cookers themselves. using the donated supplies and locally purchased Arabic gum. it requires less hands-on time cooking. Intersol. DISADVANTAGES Solar cookers provide hot food during or shortly after the hottest part of the day. Their reliance on sunny weather may mean that they are unlikely to be used as a major source of renewable energy on Earth. enabling small groups of women to build up community bakeries using solar ovens. or make hydrogen fuel. The temperature at the focal point may reach 3. and use them for midday and evening meals. The goal of this project was to reduce the Darfuri women's need to leave the relative safety of the camp to gather firewood. reflecting them on to a larger curved mirror. an Austrian non-governmental organisation.A glass-enclosed sunroom intentionally designed to become hotter than the outside air temperature. The rays are then focused onto an area the size of a cooking pot and can reach 3. so this is often considered a reasonable trade-off. Solar cookers take longer to cook food compared to an oven. a thick pan that conducts heat slowly (such as Cast Iron) will lose heat at a slower rate. Indian Solar Cooker Village Bysanivaripalle. melt steel. Today. It has also significantly reduced the amount of time women spend tending open fires each day. a silk-producing village that is 125 km (80 mi) northwest of Tirupati in the Indian state of in Andhra Pradesh. and plastic bags for well over 10. when people are less inclined to eat a hot meal. is the first of its kind: an entire village that uses only solar cooking. concentrating light (Insolation) onto a focal point. However. the term "solar furnace" has evolved to refer to solar concentrator . It is still in place at Mont Louis. kidnapped. Solar Variation Theory 71 or murdered. and Solar Cookers International. and this heat can be used to generate electricity. near Odeillo. and • less time spent cooking compared to tending a fire or stove. can be used to keep food warm well into the evening. with the results that they are healthier and they have more time to grow vegetables for their families and make handicrafts for export.000 degrees Celsius. combined with the insulation of the oven or an insulated basket. • lower likelihood of starting a fire that could destroy a family's home. raped. • greater safety for children and the cook compared to a fire or stove.70 Solar Energy and its Uses • lower cost compared to firewood or cooking oil. SOLAR COOKING PROJECTS Bakeries in Lesotho Michael Hönes of Germany has established solar cooking in Lesotho. It employs an array of plane mirrors to gather the rays of light from the sun. The solar furnace at Odeillo in the Pyrenees of France was opened in 1970 and is the largest in the world. the Dutch foundation KoZon. The ancient Greek / Latin term "heliocaminus" literally means "solar furnace" .000 solar cookers have been donated to the Iridimi refugee camp and Touloum refugee camps in Chad by the combined efforts of the Jewish World Watch. It has been suggested that solar furnaces could be used in space to provide energy for manufacturing purposes. Use in Darfur Refugee Camps Cardboard. However. which exposed them to a high risk of being beaten. and that. The first modern solar furnace is believed to have been built in France in 1949 by Professor Félix Trombe. This is achieved using a curved mirror (or an array of mirrors) that acts as a parabolic reflector. The Pyrenees were chosen as the site for these furnaces due to sunny weather for up to 300 days a year. Using a solar oven therefore requires that food preparation be started several hours before the meal.

and even smaller amounts where the source water is saline or brackish. A prototype Scheffler reflector is currently being constructed in India for use in a solar crematorium. while still lowering the salinity. water (fresh or saline) can be added inside or along the edges of the still. During the Second Punic War (218 . where it is evaporated by the sun through clear plastic. arranged in the sand beside a cup. SODIS is a cheap and effective method for decentralized water treatment. In Florida and other hurricane target areas that frequently lose power for a few days. and improving the taste. in which the host simply wrapped a plastic bag around a leafy branch on a live tree. However. which uses an inflatable dome as the condensing surface and can be applied in tropical. although the practical limit (due to atmospheric absorption and rapid heat transfer at high temperature differentials) is much lower. The most sophisticated of these are the box-shaped types. such as in remote homes or during power outages. The least sophisticated are the pit types. boxlike. SOLAR WATER DISINFECTION Solar water disinfection. and for solar water pasteurization. Solar stills are occasionally used on a longer term basis in developing world settings. the Greek scientist Archimedes is said to have repelled the attacking Roman ships by setting them on fire with a "burning glass" that may have been an array of mirrors. For cone solar stills. To prevent losing moisture by taking apart the still to retrieve collected water a length of plastic tubing can be used to sip water as it accumulates. especially when distillation equipment is unavailable. a compromise method is to mix the distilled water with the brackish or saline water purified with other methods this gives a more adequate quantity. SOLAR STILL A solar still is a very simple way for distilling water. A few basic types of solar stills are cone shaped. impure water is inserted into the container. also known as SODIS is a method of disinfecting water using only sunlight and plastic PET bottles. Les Stroud created a solar still by using urine for the source of water. Where no water sources are readily available. 1.000 degrees Fahrenheit (538 degrees Celsius) is now commonly achieved. An experiment to test this theory was carried out by a group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2005. Solar stills can extract water from moisture in the ground but to increase the amount of moisture available to a solar still. SODIS is already applied in numerous developing countries. A simpler to put together solar still was presented on the TV show Survivorman. The transpiration from the tree leaves provided the water source. This 50 m² reflector will generate temperatures of 700 °C and displace 200300 kg of firewood used per cremation. rural areas. Solar stills are used in cases where piped or well water is impractical. solar distillation can provide an alternate source of clean water. and the sweat expended in building one can easily exceed its daily output. Nevertheless. the mirrors would not likely have been able to concentrate sufficient solar energy to set a ship on fire under battle conditions. and pit. In the same episode. water dripped straight into the bag. small amount of clean water. urine or shredded vegetation can be used inside the pit. where it is collected and removed. they produce a relatively . If the amount of water is inadequate. powered by the heat of the sun. It concluded that although the theory was sound for stationary objects.72 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Variation Theory 73 heating systems using parabolic mirrors or heliostats. No cup was used. under typical conditions makeshift solar stills rarely produce enough water for survival. The solar furnace principle is being used to make inexpensive solar cookers and solar-powered barbecues. usually applied at the household level and is recommended by the World Health Organization as a viable method for household water treatment and safe storage. Knowing how to put together a solar still is often billed as a useful survival skill and could provide an important means of potable water in the event of a wilderness emergency. The pure water vapor condenses on top and drips down to the side.202 BCE). A larger scale version of the concept of the solar still is the Water Pyramid. The theoretical maximum is the 5778 degree Kelvin surface temperature of the sun .

e. Better temperature effects can be achieved if bottles are placed on a corrugated roof as compared to thatched roofs. labor input and convenience. Suggested T reatm ent S chedule W eather C onditions sunny 50% cloud y 50-100% cloud y continuous rainfall M inim u m T reatm ent D uration 6 hours 6 hours 2 days unsatisfactory perform ance. Three effects of solar radiation are believed to contribute to the inactivation of pathogenic organisms: • UV-A interferes directly with the metabolism and destroys cell structures of bacteria. • Filled bottles are then exposed to the sun. the disinfection process is three times faster.g. • The treated water can be consumed. or iodine. GUIDELINES FOR THE APPLICATION AT HOUSEHOLD LEVEL • Water from contaminated sources are filled into transparent water bottles. Other methods for household water treatment and safe storage exist. However. At water temperatures higher than 45°C (113°F). This dose contains energy of 555 Wh/m2 in the range of UV-A and violet light. then shaken for 20 seconds (with the cap on). supplying bottles may be more difficult than providing equivalent disinfecting tablets containing chlorine. chlorination. . For oxygen saturation.74 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Variation Theory 75 PRINCIPLE Exposure to sunlight has been shown to deactivate diarrheacausing organisms in polluted drinking water. • Infrared radiation heats the water. it may be difficult to guarantee that the water will be left in the sun for the necessary time. and the user's preference. The application of SODIS is limited if enough bottles are not available. treatment costs. The risk of recontamination can be minimized if water is stored in the bottles. The selection of the adequate method should be based on the criteria of effectiveness. corresponding to about 6 hours of midlatitude (European) midday summer sunshine. then filled completely. the co-occurrence of other types of pollution (turbidity. use rainw ater harvesting APPLICATIONS OF SODIS SODIS is an effective method for treating water where fuel or cookers are unavailable or prohibitively expensive. Even where fuel is available. synergetic effects of UV radiation and temperature further enhance the disinfection efficiency. chemical pollutants). At a water temperature of about 30°C (86°F). Additionally. If the water temperatures raises above 50°C. that are believed to also damage pathogens. • UV-A (wavelength 320-400nm) reacts with oxygen dissolved in the water and produces highly reactive forms of oxygen (oxygen free radicals and hydrogen peroxides). Highly turbid water (turbidity higher than 30 NTU) must be filtered prior to exposure to the sunlight. bromine. in some circumstances. the method could be used in disaster relief or refugee camps. The water should be consumed directly from the bottle or poured into clean drinking cups. SODIS is a more economical and environmentally friendly option. a threshold solar radiation intensity of at least 500 W/m2 (all spectral light) is required for about 5 hours for SODIS to be efficient. bottles can be filled three quarters. In theory. different filtration procedures or flocculation/disinfection. 350nm-450nm. Re-filling and storage in other containers increases the risk of contamination. or if the water is highly turbid.

the antimony concentrations found in the bottles are orders of magnitude below WHO and national guidelines for antimony concentrations in drinking water. a joint research project on SODIS is implemented by the following institutions: • Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). Substantial follow-up research was conducted by the research groups of Martin Wegelin at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) and Dr Kevin McGuigan at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. the water may not be safe to drink and could cause illness. However. infectious diseases are also transmitted through other pathways. UV-A radiation is reduced to 50%. However. Polycarbonate blocks all UVA and UVB rays. United Kingdom . HEALTH IMPACT. i. wells. Heavily scratched or old. • Leaching of bottle material: There has been some concern over the question whether plastic drinking containers can release chemicals or toxic components into water. Ireland (coordination) • University of Ulster (UU). If the sunlight is less strong. Currently. due to overcast weather or a less sunny climate. The Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research have examined the diffusion of adipates and phthalates (DEHA and DEHP) from new and reused PET-bottles in the water during solar exposure. and therefore should not be used. SODIS RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT The effectiveness of the SODIS was first discovered by Professor Aftim Acra at the American University of Beirut in the early 1980s . The following issues should also be considered: • Bottle material: Some glass or PVC materials may prevent ultraviolet light from reaching the water. The levels of concentrations found in the water after a solar exposure of 17 hours in 60°C water were far below WHO guidelines for drinking water and in the same magnitude as the concentrations of phthalate and adipate generally found in high quality tap water. with scratches and other signs of wear reducing the efficiency of SODIS. Commercially available bottles made of PET are recommended. Studies on the reduction of diarrhea among SODIS users show reduction values of 30-80%. DIARRHEA REDUCTION It has been shown that the SODIS method (and other methods of household water treatment) can very effectively remove pathogenic contamination from the water. Clinical control trials were pioneered by Professor Ronan Conroy of the RCSI team in collaboration with Dr T Michael Elmore-Meegan. a longer exposure time in the sun is necessary. a process possibly accelerated by heat. These reactive molecules contribute in the destruction process of the microorganisms. Concerns about the general use of PET-bottles were also expressed after a report published by researchers from the University of Heidelberg on antimony being released from PETbottles for soft drinks and mineral water stored over several months in supermarkets. ponds. • Shape of Containers: the intensity of the UV radiation decreases rapidly with increasing water depth.e. Glass also blocks UV rays and therefore would be ineffective. SODIS water is not stored over such extended periods in the bottles. Furthermore. The handling is much more convenient in the case of PET bottles. creeks. • Oxygen: Sunlight produces highly reactive forms of oxygen (oxygen free radicals and hydrogen peroxides) in the water. tap) water contains sufficient oxygen (more than 3 mg Oxygen per litre) and does not have to be aerated before the application of SODIS. Under normal conditions (rivers.76 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Variation Theory 77 CAUTIONS If the water bottles are not left in the sun for the proper length of time. blind bottles should be replaced. • Aging of plastic bottles: SODIS efficiency depends on the physical condition of the plastic bottles. At a water depth of 10cm and moderate turbidity of 26 NTU. PET soft drink bottles are often easily available and thus most practical for the SODIS application. due to a general lack of sanitation and hygiene.

one of them being Prainha do Canto Verde north of Fortaleza. The cars require intensive support teams similar in size to professional motor racing United Kingdom • The International Commission for the Relief of Suffering & Starvation (ICROSS). especially since the temperature during the day can go beyond the 40°C (100°F) and there is a limited amount of shade. Sierra Leone. Ecuador. Spain • Swiss Federal Insitute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag). There. Togo. Spain • University of Leicester (UL). Uzbekistan. Sri Lanka. SODIS projects are funded by. Nicaragua. USA and Australia. South Africa. Rotary Clubs. Such challenges are often entered by universities to develop their students' engineering and technological skills. Ghana. WORLD SOLAR CHALLENGE This race features a field of competitors from around the world who race to cross the Australian continent. among others. Bolivia. They are contested by a variety of university and corporate teams. Corporate teams contest the race to give its design teams experience in working with both alternative energy sources and advanced materials (although some may view their participation as mere PR exercises). WORLDWIDE APPLICATION OF SODIS The Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag). Mozambique. Kenya • University of Santiago de Compostela (USC). Nepal. several Lions Clubs.75 km/h over a distance of 3000 km.03 km/h). Contact addresses and case studies of the projects coordinated by the Swiss Federal Insitute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) are available at sodis. the Dutch Nuna 3 team won this challenge for a 3rd time in a record average speed of 102. Philippines. Uganda. In 2005. South Africa and Kenya. Vietnam. This is especially the case with the World Solar Challenge where sections of the race run through very remote country. Eawag. India. Guinea. and the Michel Comte Water Foundation. These races are often sponsored by agencies such as the US Department of Energy keen to promote renewable energy sources. Switzerland Solar Variation Theory 79 on the surface of the car (solar cars). coordinates SODIS promotion projects in 33 countries including Bhutan. Pakistan. Zimbabwe • Plataforma Solar de Almería (CIEMAT-PSA). Migros. Laos. Guatemala. University teams enter the races because it gives their students experience in designing high technology cars and working with environmental and advanced materials technology. The increasingly high speeds of the 2005 race participants has led to the rules being changed for future . A small number of high school teams participate in solar car races designed exclusively for high school students. The project has embarked on a multi-country study including study areas in Zimbabwe. Senegal.78 Solar Energy and its Uses • CSIR Environmentek. El Salvador. The first solar car race was the Tour de Sol in 1985 which led to several similar races in Europe. Zambia. the SOLAQUA Foundation (). Kenya. It is quite successful.03 km/h) and the University of Michigan (90. Malawi. SODIS has also been applied in several communities in Brazil. SOLAR CAR RACING Solar car racing refers to competitive races of electric vehicles which are powered by solar energy obtained from solar panels NOTABLE DISTANCE RACES The two most notable solar car distance (overland) races are the World Solar Challenge and the North American Solar Challenge. Perú. followed by the Australian Aurora (92. DR Congo. Solar car races are often sponsored by government agencies who are keen to promote the development of alternative energy technology (such as solar cells). Indonesia. Honduras. Switzerland • The Institute of Water and Sanitation Development (IWSD). Cambodia. Cameroon. the villagers have been purifying their water with the SODIS method. through the Department of Water and Sanitation in Developing Countries (Sandec). Ethiopia. Burkina Faso. but many business corporations have entered competitions in the past. and Zimbabwe.

and the NASC 2007 was cancelled. 2008. a yearly track race in Japan. Solar race cars can be designed with a variety of basic configurations by varying the shape of the vehicle. and other variables. DRIVER'S COCKPIT Like many race cars. solar dragsters do not use any batteries or pre-charged energy storage devices. Aside from keeping the car on the road. USA. Unlike long distance solar races. the location of solar cells. alternative energy and automotive industries. part of the Cultural Olympiad in Greece prior to the 2004 Olympics.5 seconds set by the South Whidbey High School team on June 23. which with little modification could be the basis for a practical proposition for sustainable transport and intended to slow down cars in the main event. Racers go head-to-head over a straight quarter kilometer distance. accelerator. for example. The winner again was the Nuna 4 team averaging 90. Major regulation changes were released in June 2006 for this race to increase safety. vehicle weight. rather than a conventional automobile seat which would weigh tens of pounds.87 km/h. • Phaethon. The winner in the Adventure Class (driving under old rules) was the Ashiya University Solar Car Project team averaging 93. bicycle. one championship solar car employed a nylon mesh seat combined with a five-point harness that weighed less than 3 pounds. solar cars are designed with severe energy constraints imposed by the race regulations. Since 1996 the leading WSC cars have tended to have a small canopy in the middle of a curved wing-like array. bringing in Toyota as a primary sponsor for a 2008 race. with less powerful arrays. Currently. the driver's cockpit usually only contains room for one person. the driver's main priority is to keep an eye on these . controllability. features mostly collegiate teams racing in timed intervals in the United States and Canada. The North American solar racing community worked to find a solution. At lower speeds. from Dallas. 2007. weight. although a few cars do contain room for a second passenger. They contain some of the features available to drivers of traditional vehicles such as brakes.80 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Variation Theory 81 solar cars starting in the 2007 race.57 km/h. other configurations are viable and may be easier to construct. A radio for communication with their support crews is almost always included. and ease of manufacture. the number and location of wheels. with 3 wheels. Unlike most race cars. SOLAR DRAG RACES Solar drag races are another form of solar racing. Alberta. The 20th Anniversary race of the World Solar Challenge ran in October of 2007. Before then the cockroach style. These trade off the efficiency of the panel against aerodynamics. • Dell-Winston School Solar Car Challenge is the best-known and longest-running high-school-level race. which could easily exceed the speed limit (110 km/h) in previous years. These rules limit the energy used to only that collected from solar radiation. ventilation. Washington. albeit starting with a full charged battery pack. The world record for this event is 29. Conventional thinking has to be challenged. Other races: • Suzuka. in Wenatchee. entirely covered in cells. As a result optimizing the design to account for aerodynamic drag. Texas to Calgary. as used in the GM Sunraycer with a smooth nose fairing into the panel were more successful. to build a new generation of solar car. funding was cut near the end of 2005. turn signals. rolling resistance and electrical efficiency are paramount. and sometimes cruise control. previously known as the 'American Solar Challenge' and 'Sunrayce USA'. The North American Solar Challenge was sponsored in part by the US Department of Energy. a solar drag race is held each year on the Saturday closest to the summer solstice VEHICLE DESIGN Solar cars combine technology used in the aerospace. However. The next North American Solar Challenge will run from July 13-21. • World Solar Rally. Solar cars are often fitted with gauges as seen in conventional cars. rear view mirrors (or camera). NORTH AMERICAN SOLAR CHALLENGE The North American Solar Challenge.

82 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Variation Theory 83 gauges to spot possible problems. but some have four. on leading cars. Cars without gauges available for the driver will almost always feature wireless telemetry. The popularity of solar car racing has led to some tire manufacturers designing tires for solar vehicles. Many solar cars have complex data acquisition systems that monitor the whole electrical system while even the most basic cars have systems that provide information on battery voltage and current to the driver. Leadacid batteries are less expensive and easier to work with but store less energy for a given mass. electronically commutated. Solar cars are required to meet rigorous standards for brakes. wheel motors. The brake pads or shoes are typically designed to retract to minimize brake drag. One such system utilizes Controller Area Network (CAN). The rear suspension is often a trailing-arm suspension as found in motor cycles. The major design factors for steering systems are efficiency. and equally easy to lose two hours due to reliability issues. and Linz wire for the windings. Solar cars usually have three wheels. Testing is essential to demonstrating vehicle reliability prior to a race. Drivers also have a safety harness. A wide variety of motor types have been used. It is easy to spend a hundred thousand dollars to gain a two hour advantage. The most common front suspension is the double wishbone suspension. reliability and precision alignment to minimize tire wear and power loss. Mechanical and hydraulic brakes are both widely used. Cheaper alternatives include motors from wind turbines. and optionally (depending on the race) a helmet similar to racing car drivers. The most efficient motors exceed 98% efficiency. Solar cars have a wide range of suspensions because of varying bodies and chassis. Disc brakes are the most commonly used due to their good braking ability and ability to adjust. Nickel-Cadmium batteries (NiCd). Steering systems for solar cars also vary. They also protect the batteries from overcharging. the motor controller and the data acquisition system. . titanium and composites to provide a structure that meets strength and stiffness requirements whilst being fairly light. The peak power trackers manage the power coming from the solar array to maximize the power and deliver it to be stored in the motor. or brushed DC motors. ELECTRICAL SYSTEM The electrical system is the most important part of the car's systems as it controls all of the power that comes into and leaves the system. Usually there is a strong relationship between efficiency and cost. The battery pack plays the same role in a solar car that a fuel tank plays in a normal car in storing power for future use. Wireless telemetry allows the driver's team to monitor the car's energy consumption. This has increased overall safety and performance. Typically. The motor controller manages the electricity flowing to the motor according to signals flowing from the accelerator. Power electronics monitor and regulate the car's electricity. Solar cars use a range of batteries including lead-acid batteries. eliminating belt or chain drives. solar energy capture and other parameters and free the driver to concentrate on just driving. Four wheel vehicles are set up like normal cars or similarly to three wheeled vehicles with the two rear wheels close together. Lithium ion batteries and Lithium polymer batteries. MECHANICAL SYSTEMS The mechanical systems are designed to keep friction and weight to a minimum while maintaining strength and stiffness. Steel is used for some suspension parts on many cars. These are brushless three"phase" DC. Three wheelers usually have two front wheels and one rear wheel: the front wheels steer and the rear wheel follows. Designers normally use aluminium. All the top teams now use wheel motors. solar cars use voltages between 84 and 170 volts. nickel-metal hydride batteries (NiMH). with a Halbach array configuration for the neodymium-iron-boron magnets. Components of the power electronics include the peak power trackers.

Everything in this equation can be estimated except u.3 m^2. The total voltage produced is the sum of all cell voltages. monocrystalline silicon. and by minimising the weight of the vehicle. Cars can use a variety of solar cell technologies. For most solar cars the frontal area is 0. To design against this. While Cds as low as 0.10 have been reported. A light vehicle generates less rolling resistance and will need smaller lighter brakes and other suspension components. and values seen in practice. inflated to the right pressure. MASS The vehicle's mass is also a significant factor. ROLLING RESISTANCE Rolling resistance can be minimised by using the right tires. the position of the sun and the capacity of the array. This is the virtuous circle when designing lightweight vehicles. Designing a solar array is more than just stringing a bunch of cells together. or gallium arsenide. The power produced by the solar array depends on the weather conditions. At noon on a bright day. Aerodynamic drag is the main source of losses on a solar race car. most often polycrystalline silicon. Using the power . A solar array acts like many very small batteries all hooked together in series. Many races. The aerodynamic drag of a vehicle is the product of the frontal area and its Cd. going uphill and accelerating). Solving the long form of the equation for velocity results in a large equation (approximately 100 terms). allowing current around the non-functioning cell(s). PERFORMANCE EQUATION The design of a solar car is governed by the following work equation: which can be usefully simplified to the performance equation for long distance races. 0. Another consideration is that the battery itself can force current backwards through the array unless there are blocking diodes put at the end of each panel.6 hp). blocking the current for the entire string of cells. The problem is that if a single cell is in shadow it acts like a diode. This needs a great deal of attention to detail. the left hand side represents the energy input into the car (batteries and power from the sun) and the right hand side is the energy needed to drive the car along the race route (overcoming rolling resistance. Some cars have employed free-standing or integrated sails to harness wind energy. Panels normally have voltages close to the nominal battery voltage.13 is more typical. aerodynamic drag. including the WSC and NASC. Designers encapsulate the cells to protect them from the weather and breakage.75 to 1. so their race regulations allow this practice. The cells are wired together into strings while strings are often wired together to form a panel. Briefly.84 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Array 85 consider wind energy to be solar energy. The main aim is to get as much cell area in as small a space as possible. AERODYNAMICS 4 SOLAR ARRAY The solar array consists of hundreds (or thousands) of photovoltaic solar cells converting sunlight into electricity. a good array can produce over 2 kilowatts (2. array designers use by-pass diodes in parallel with smaller segments of the string of cells. correctly aligned.

energy intake from solar panel. Most solar car races have set starting and stopping points where the objective is to reach the final point in the least amount of total time. In addition. energy consumption. The strategy employed depends upon the race rules and conditions. corresponding to the south-north race alignments. an east-west race alignment might reduce the benefit from having cells on the side of the vehicle. the sun would rise over the driver's right shoulder and finish over his left (due to the east-west apparent motion of the sun). RACE ROUTE CONSIDERATIONS The directional orientation of a solar car race route affects the apparent position of the sun in the sky during a race day. the 1990 and 1993 Sunrayce USA events were won by vehicles with significantly convex arrays. • In an east-west race route alignment. Thus. because the apparent position of the sun in the sky will vary depending various factors which are specific to the vehicle's orientation. Given the varied conditions in all races and the limited (and continuously changing) supply of energy. which in turn affects the energy input to the vehicle. This is significant to designers. by 1997. most teams have race speed optimization programs that continuously update the team on how fast the vehicle should be traveling. most cars in that event had flat arrays to match the change to an east-west route. who seek to maximize energy input to a panel of solar cells (often called an "array" of cells) by designing the array to point directly toward the sun for as long as possible during the race day. the energy the car consumes per second rises cubically (per meter travelled it rises quadratically with speed).86 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Array RACE STRATEGY 87 equation as the arbiter. Since aerodynamic drag force rises quadratically with speed. RACE ROUTE The race route itself will affect strategy. WEATHER FORECASTING A successful solar car racing team will need to have access to reliable weather forecasts in order to predict the power input to the vehicle from the sun during each race day. and because arrays do not usually move in relation to the rest of the vehicle (with notable exceptions). For example. and thus might encourage design of a flat array. for example. For example. • In a south-to-north race route alignment. Because solar cars are often purpose-built. setting in the front of the car. elevation changes over a race route can dramatically change the amount of power needed to travel the route. the sun would rise behind the vehicle. • A hybrid route alignment includes significant sections of south-north and east-west routes together. ENERGY CONSUMPTION Optimizing energy consumption is of prime importance in a solar car race. Some teams employ sophisticated telemetry that relays vehicle performance data to a computer in a following support vehicle. flat-panel versus convex design compromise is one of the most significant decisions that a solar car designer must make. however. . vehicle designers can compare various car designs and evaluate the comparative performance over a given route. Combined with CAE and systems modeling. among other things in real time. and appear to move in the direction of the vehicle's movement. the 2001 and 2003 North American Solar Challenge route crossed the Rocky Mountains. Therefore it is very important to be able to closely monitor the speed. In contrast. this race-route-driven. the power equation can be a useful tool in solar car design. a south-north race car designer might increase the car's total energy input by using solar cells on the sides of the vehicle where the sun will strike them (or by creating a convex array coaxial with the vehicle's movement).

Assemblies of cells are used to make solar modules. In the United States. which may in turn be linked in photovoltaic arrays. Photovoltaic arrays generate a form of renewable electricity. Becquerel. Solar cells have many applications. and "voltaic". limiting the ability of companies to manufacture the GaAs solar cell. The "dual junction" cell was accidentally produced in quantity by ASEC in 1989 as a result of the change from GaAs on GaAs substrates to GaAs on Germanium (Ge) substrates. This resulted in the production of the first practical solar cells with a sunlight energy conversion efficiency of around 6 percent. but used another GaAs-based cell with different doping. Photovoltaics is the field of technology and research related to the application of solar cells as solar energy. Eventually GaAs dual junction cells reached . Russell Ohl patented the modern solar cell in 1946 (U. accidentally found that silicon doped with certain impurities was very sensitive to light.S. The term "photo-voltaic" has been in use in English since 1849. Similar devices intended to capture energy radiated from other sources include thermophotovoltaic cells. This was a crucial development which stimulated funding from several governments into research for improved solar cells. However. ASEC developed the first dual junction cells for spacecraft use in the United States. Sometimes the term solar cell is reserved for devices intended specifically to capture energy from sunlight. Metal Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition (MOCVD. The first spacecraft to use solar panels was the US satellite Vanguard 1.662 . betavoltaics cells. particularly useful in situations where electrical power from the grid is unavailable such as in remote area power systems. with a starting efficiency of approximately 20%. This milestone created interest in producing and launching a geostationary communications satellite. "Light sensitive device"). and optoelectric nuclear battery. Sven Ason Berglund had a prior patent concerning methods of increasing the capacity of photosensitive cells. by Charles Fritts.402. it was not until 1883 that the first solar cell was built. meaning electrical.88 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Cell 89 5 THE SOLAR CELL A solar cell or photovoltaic cell is a device that converts solar energy into electricity by the photovoltaic effect. after whom the measurement unit volt is named. In 1970 the first highly effective GaAs heterostructure solar cells were created by Zhores Alferov and his team in the USSR. Earthorbiting satellites and space probes. Patent 2. The device was only around 1% efficient. demonstrating the potential of using the Ge substrate as another cell. who coated the semiconductor selenium with an extremely thin layer of gold to form the junctions. The photovoltaic effect was first recognized in 1839 by French physicist A. while the term photovoltaic cell is used when the source is unspecified. Individual cells are used for powering small devices such as electronic calculators. Photovoltaic electricity is also increasingly deployed in grid-tied electrical systems. the first 17% efficient air mass zero (AM0) single-junction GaAs solar cells were manufactured in production quantities in 1988 by Applied Solar Energy Corporation (ASEC). launched in March 1958 with solar cells made by Hoffman Electronics. The modern age of solar power technology arrived in 1954 when Bell Laboratories. or OMCVD) production equipment was not developed until the early 1980s. The accidental doping of Ge with the GaAs buffer layer created higher open circuit voltages. As GaAs single-junction cells topped 19% AM0 production efficiency in 1993. E. experimenting with semiconductors. remote radiotelephones and water pumping applications. in which solar energy would provide a viable power supply. HISTORY The term "photovoltaic" comes from the Greek (phos) meaning "light". These cells did not utilize the Ge as a second cell. from the name of the Italian physicist Volta.

Alternative manufacturing techniques such as vapour deposition and electroplating are advantageous as they reduce high temperature processing significantly. currently in qualification. These technologies do hold promise of higher conversion efficiencies. In 2007 First Solar produced 200 MW of CdTe solar cells making it the fifth largest producer of solar cells in 2007 and the first ever to reach the top 10 from production of second generation technologies alone. . These materials THIRD GENERATION Third generation technologies aim to enhance poor electrical performance of second generation thin film technologies while maintaining very low production costs. creating an additive voltage. At present there is concurrent research into all three generations while the first generation technologies are most highly represented in commercial production. allowing light to pass while protecting the semiconductor wafers from the elements (rain. high quality and single junction devices. produce 95% of the world's Triple Junction solar cells which have a commercial efficiency of 38%. Second generation technologies are expected to gain market share in 2008.). • Use of excess thermal generation to enhance voltages or carrier collection.6% of 2007 production. accounting for 89. thin film silicon 5. In 2007. in series or parallel. There are a few approaches to achieving these high efficiencies: • Multijunction photovoltaic cell. copper indium gallium selenide. particularly CIGS-CIS. It is commonly accepted that as manufacturing techniques evolve production costs will be dominated by constituent material requirements. Connecting cells in parallel will yield a higher current. hail. Single junction silicon devices are approaching the theoretical limiting efficiency of 33% and combined with high production costs are unlikely to achieve cost parity with fossil fuel energy generation. In 2006 Spectrolab's cells achieved 40. 28% in 2005. Current research is targeting conversion efficiencies of 30-60% while retaining low cost materials and manufacturing techniques. Modules are then interconnected. Nanosolar commercialised its CIGS technology in 2007 with a production capacity of 430 MW for 2008 in the USA and Germany.90 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Cell 91 production efficiencies of about 22%. Solar cells are also usually connected in series in modules. are applied in a thin film to a supporting substrate such as glass or ceramics reducing material mass and therefore costs. APPLICATIONS AND IMPLEMENTATIONS Solar cells are often electrically connected and encapsulated as a module. SECOND GENERATION Second generation materials have been developed to address energy requirements and production costs of solar cells. or both.7% efficiency in lab testing. First Generation technologies involve high energy and labour inputs which prevent any significant progress in reducing production costs.. FIRST GENERATION First generation cells consist of large-area. • Modifying incident spectrum (concentration). Triple Junction solar cells began with AM0 efficiencies of approximately 24% in 2000. Emcore Photovoltaics and Spectrolab. etc.2% and CIGS 0. whether this be a silicon substrate.5%. or glass cover. two companies in the United States. to create an array with the desired peak DC voltage and current. The most successful second generation materials have been cadmium telluride (CdTe). Among major manufacturers there is certainly a trend toward second generation technologies however commercialisation of these technologies has proven difficult. amorphous silicon and micromorphous silicon. THREE GENERATIONS OF SOLAR CELLS Solar Cells are classified into three generations which indicates the order of which each became prominent.7% of total market share. Wurth Solar commercialised its CIS technology in 2007 producing 15 MW. 26% in 2002. DSC and CdTe offers significantly cheaper production costs. In 2007 CdTe production represented 4. and in 2007 have evolved to a 30% AM0 production efficiency. PV modules often have a sheet of glass on the front (sun up) side .

An array of solar panels converts solar energy into a usable amount of direct current (DC) electricity. CHARGE CARRIER SEPARATION There are two main modes for charge carrier separation in a solar cell: 1. 2. the photon can be absorbed by the silicon. The presence of a missing covalent bond allows the bonded electrons of neighboring atoms to move into the "hole. depending on the band structure. a measurement in watt-hours. A photon need only have greater energy than that of the band gap in order to excite an electron from the valence band into the conduction band. THEORY and hence unable to move far. The complementary positive charges that are also created (like bubbles) are called holes and flow in the direction opposite of the electrons in a silicon solar panel. However. the photon can reflect off the surface. When a photon is absorbed. and in this way a hole can move through the lattice. A common rule of thumb is that average power is equal to 20% of peak power. so that each peak kilowatt of solar array output power corresponds to energy production of 4.92 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Cell 93 The power output of a solar array is measured in watts or kilowatts. Photons in sunlight hit the solar panel and are absorbed by semiconducting materials. batteries are used to store the energy that is not needed immediately. and the dominant mode of separation is via charge carrier diffusion.this is known as a hole. As a simplification. driven by an electrostatic field established across the device 2. if the photon energy is higher than the silicon band gap value. one can . 2. Usually this electron is in the valence band.8 kWh per day. it can be said that photons absorbed in the semiconductor create mobile electron-hole pairs. 3. Electrons (negatively charged) are knocked loose from their atoms. and is tightly bound in covalent bonds between neighboring atoms. 3.called phonons) rather than into usable electrical energy. PHOTOGENERATION OF CHARGE CARRIERS When a photon hits a piece of silicon. In order to calculate the typical energy needs of the application. These higher energy photons will be absorbed by the solar cell. allowing them to flow through the material to produce electricity. the solar frequency spectrum approximates a black body spectrum at ~6000 K. diffusion of carriers from zones of high carrier concentration to zones of low carrier concentration (following a gradient of electrochemical potential). a general electrostatic field has been confirmed to be absent. its energy is given to an electron in the crystal lattice. such as silicon.this (generally) happens for lower energy photons. THE P-N JUNCTION The most commonly known solar cell is configured as a largearea p-n junction made from silicon. SIMPLE EXPLANATION 1. the photon can pass straight through the silicon . in stand alone systems. The energy given to it by the photon "excites" it into the conduction band. the electricity is most often fed into the electricity grid using inverters (grid-connected PV systems). and as such." leaving another hole behind. kilowatt-hours or kilowatt-hours per day is often used. one of three things can happen: 1. but the difference in energy between these photons and the silicon band gap is converted into heat (via lattice vibrations . To make practical use of the solargenerated energy. drift of carriers. Thus. This generates an electron-hole pair and sometimes heat. in non-p-njunction solar cells (typical of the third generation of solar cell research such as dye and polymer thin-film solar cells). The covalent bond that the electron was previously a part of now has one fewer electron . In the widely used p-n junction solar cells. the dominant mode of charge carrier separation is by drift. much of the solar radiation reaching the Earth is composed of photons with energies greater than the band gap of silicon. However. where it is free to move around within the semiconductor.


Solar Energy and its Uses

The Solar Cell


imagine bringing a layer of n-type silicon into direct contact with a layer of p-type silicon. In practice, p-n junctions of silicon solar cells are not made in this way, but rather, by diffusing an n-type dopant into one side of a p-type wafer (or vice versa). If a piece of p-type silicon is placed in intimate contact with a piece of n-type silicon, then a diffusion of electrons occurs from the region of high electron concentration (the n-type side of the junction) into the region of low electron concentration (p-type side of the junction). When the electrons diffuse across the p-n junction, they recombine with holes on the p-type side. The diffusion of carriers does not happen indefinitely however, because of an electric field which is created by the imbalance of charge immediately on either side of the junction which this diffusion creates. The electric field established across the p-n junction creates a diode that promotes current to flow in only one direction across the junction. Electrons may pass from the n-type side into the ptype side, and holes may pass from the p-type side to the n-type side, but not the other way around. This region where electrons have diffused across the junction is called the depletion region because it no longer contains any mobile charge carriers. It is also known as the "space charge region".

in parallel with a diode; in practice no solar cell is ideal, so a shunt resistance and a series resistance component are added to the model. The resulting equivalent circuit of a solar cell is shown on the left. SOLAR CELL EFFICIENCY FACTORS

SUN UNIT "One sun" is a measurement equal to the solar power incident at noon on a clear summer day. I.e. in a 2300 sun system, approximately 230 watts per square centimeter are concentrated onto the cell system. ENERGY CONVERSION EFFICIENCY A solar cell's energy conversion efficiency (h, "eta"), is the percentage of power converted (from absorbed light to electrical energy) and collected, when a solar cell is connected to an electrical circuit. This term is calculated using the ratio of the maximum power point, Pm, divided by the input light irradiance (E, in W/ m²) under standard test conditions (STC) and the surface area of the solar cell (Ac in m²).

CONNECTION TO AN EXTERNAL LOAD Ohmic metal-semiconductor contacts are made to both the ntype and p-type sides of the solar cell, and the electrodes connected to an external load. Electrons that are created on the n-type side, or have been "collected" by the junction and swept onto the n-type side, may travel through the wire, power the load, and continue through the wire until they reach the p-type semiconductor-metal contact. Here, they recombine with a hole that was either created as an electron-hole pair on the p-type side of the solar cell, or swept across the junction from the n-type side after being created there. EQUIVALENT CIRCUIT OF A SOLAR CELL To understand the electronic behavior of a solar cell, it is useful to create a model which is electrically equivalent, and is based on discrete electrical components whose behavior is well known. An ideal solar cell may be modelled by a current source

STC specifies a temperature of 25°C and an irradiance of 1000 W/m² with an air mass 1.5 (AM1.5) spectrum. These correspond to the irradiance and spectrum of sunlight incident on a clear day upon a sun-facing 37°-tilted surface with the sun at an angle of 41.81° above the horizon. This condition approximately represents solar noon near the spring and autumn equinoxes in the continental United States with surface of the cell aimed directly at the sun. Thus, under these conditions a solar cell of 12% efficiency with a 100 cm2 (0.01 m2) surface area can be expected to produce approximately 1.2 watts of power. The losses of a solar cell may be broken down into reflectance losses, thermodynamic efficiency, recombination losses and resistive electrical loss. The overall efficiency is the product of each of these individual losses. Due to the difficulty in measuring these parameters directly, other parameters are measured instead:


Solar Energy and its Uses

The Solar Cell


Thermodynamic Efficiency, Quantum Efficiency, VOC ratio, and Fill Factor. Reflectance losses are a portion of the Quantum Efficiency under "External Quantum Efficiency". Recombination losses make up a portion of the Quantum Efficiency, VOC ratio, and Fill Factor. Resistive losses are predominantly categorized under Fill Factor, but also make up minor portions of the Quantum Efficiency, VOC ratio.

cell is operated under short circuit conditions. External quantum efficiency is the fraction of incident photons that are converted to electrical current, while internal quantum efficiency is the fraction of absorbed photons that are converted to electrical current. Mathematically, internal quantum efficiency is related to external quantum efficiency by the reflectance of the solar cell; given a perfect anti-reflection coating, they are the same. Quantum efficiency should not be confused with energy conversion efficiency, as it does not convey information about the power collected from the solar cell. Furthermore, quantum efficiency is most usefully expressed as a spectral measurement (that is, as a function of photon wavelength or energy). Since some wavelengths are absorbed more effectively than others in most semiconductors, spectral measurements of quantum efficiency can yield information about which parts of a particular solar cell design are most in need of improvement.

THERMODYNAMIC EFFICIENCY LIMIT Solar cells operate as quantum energy conversion devices, and are therefore subject to the "Thermodynamic Efficiency Limit". Photons with an energy below the band gap of the absorber material cannot generate a hole-electron pair, and so their energy is not converted to useful output and only generates heat if absorbed. For photons with an energy above the band gap energy, only a fraction of the energy above the band gap can be converted to useful output. When a photon of greater energy is absorbed, the excess energy above the band gap is converted to kinetic energy of the carrier combination. The excess kinetic energy is converted to heat through phonon interactions as the kinetic energy of the carriers slows to equilibrium velocity. Solar cells with multiple band gap absorber materials are able to more efficiently convert the solar spectrum. By using multiple band gaps, the solar spectrum may be broken down into smaller bins where the thermodynamic efficiency limit is higher for each bin. QUANTUM EFFICIENCY As described above, when a photon is absorbed by a solar cell it is converted to an electron-hole pair. This electron-hole pair may then travel to the surface of the solar cell and contribute to the current produced by the cell; such a carrier is said to be collected. Alternatively, the carrier may give up its energy and once again become bound to an atom within the solar cell without reaching the surface; this is called recombination, and carriers that recombine do not contribute to the production of electrical current. Quantum efficiency refers to the percentage of photons that are converted to electric current (i.e., collected carriers) when the

VOC RATIO Due to recombination, the open circuit voltage (VOC) of the cell will be below the band gap voltage of the cell. Since the energy of the photons must be at or above the band gap to generate a carrier pair, cell voltage below the band gap voltage represents a loss. This loss is represented by the ratio of VOC divided by VG MAXIMUM-POWER POINT A solar cell may operate over a wide range of voltages (V) and currents (I). By increasing the resistive load on an irradiated cell continuously from zero (a short circuit) to a very high value (an open circuit) one can determine the maximum-power point, the point that maximizes V×I; that is, the load for which the cell can deliver maximum electrical power at that level of irradiation. (The output power is zero in both the short circuit and open circuit extremes). A high quality, monocrystalline silicon solar cell, at 25 °C cell temperature, may produce 0.60 volts open-circuit (Voc). The cell temperature in full sunlight, even with 25 °C air temperature, will probably be close to 45 °C, reducing the open-circuit voltage to 0.55 volts per cell. The voltage drops modestly, with this type of


Solar Energy and its Uses

The Solar Cell


cell, until the short-circuit current is approached (Isc). Maximum power (with 45 °C cell temperature) is typically produced with 75% to 80% of the open-circuit voltage (0.43 volts in this case) and 90% of the short-circuit current. This output can be up to 70% of the Voc x Isc product. The short-circuit current (Isc) from a cell is nearly proportional to the illumination, while the open-circuit voltage (Voc) may drop only 10% with a 80% drop in illumination. Lower-quality cells have a more rapid drop in voltage with increasing current and could produce only 1/2 Voc at 1/2 Isc. The usable power output could thus drop from 70% of the Voc x Isc product to 50% or even as little as 25%. Vendors who rate their solar cell "power" only as Voc x Isc, without giving load curves, can be seriously distorting their actual performance. The maximum power point of a photovoltaic varies with incident illumination. For systems large enough to justify the extra expense, a maximum power point tracker tracks the instantaneous power by continually measuring the voltage and current (and hence, power transfer), and uses this information to dynamically adjust the load so the maximum power is always transferred, regardless of the variation in lighting.

Multiplying the spectral differences by the quantum efficiency of the solar cell in question will yield the efficiency of the device. For example, a Silicon solar cell in space might have an efficiency of 14% at AM0, but have an efficiency of 16% on earth at AM 1.5. Terrestrial efficiencies typically are greater than space efficiencies. Solar cell efficiencies vary from 6% for amorphous siliconbased solar cells to 40.7% with multiple-junction research lab cells and 42.8% with multiple dies assembled into a hybrid package. Solar cell energy conversion efficiencies for commercially available multicrystalline Si solar cells are around 14-19%. The highest efficiency cells have not always been the most economical - for example a 30% efficient multijunction cell based on exotic materials such as gallium arsenide or indium selenide and produced in low volume might well cost one hundred times as much as an 8% efficient amorphous silicon cell in mass production, while only delivering about four times the electrical power. However, there is a way to "boost" solar power. By increasing the light intensity, typically photogenerated carriers are increased, resulting in increased efficiency by up to 15%. These so-called "concentrator systems" have only begun to become cost-competitive as a result of the development of high efficiency GaAs cells. The increase in intensity is typically accomplished by using concentrating optics. A typical concentrator system may use a light intensity 6-400 times the sun, and increase the efficiency of a one sun GaAs cell from 31% at AM 1.5 to 35%. A common method used to express economic costs of electricity-generating systems is to calculate a price per delivered kilowatt-hour (kWh). The solar cell efficiency in combination with the available irradiation has a major influence on the costs, but generally speaking the overall system efficiency is important. Using the commercially available solar cells (as of 2006) and system technology leads to system efficiencies between 5 and 19%. As of 2005, photovoltaic electricity generation costs ranged from ~0.60 US$/kWh (0.50 /kWh) (central Europe) down to ~0.30 US$/ kWh (0.25 /kWh) in regions of high solar irradiation. This electricity is generally fed into the electrical grid on the customer's side of the meter. The cost can be compared to prevailing retail electric pricing (as of 2005), which varied from between 0.04 and

FILL FACTOR Another defining term in the overall behavior of a solar cell is the fill factor (FF). This is the ratio of the maximum power point divided by the open circuit voltage (Voc) and the short circuit current (Isc):

COMPARISON OF ENERGY CONVERSION EFFICIENCIES At this point, discussion of the different ways to calculate efficiency for space cells and terrestrial cells is necessary to alleviate confusion. In space, where there is no atmosphere, the spectrum of the sun is relatively unfiltered. However on earth, with air filtering the incoming light, the solar spectrum changes. To account for the spectral differences, a system was devised to calculate this filtering effect. Simply, the filtering effect ranges from Air Mass 0 (AM0) in space, to approximately Air Mass 1.5 on earth.

this means that modern solar cells are net energy producers. CdTe. A general description of silicon wafer processing is provided in Manufacture and Devices. It is the output power under these conditions known as STC: 1. or wafer. In the meantime. most of the work on the next generation of photovoltaics is directed at printing onto low cost flexible polymer film and ultimately on common packaging materials. The materials used in solar cells tend to have the property of preferentially absorbing the wavelengths of solar light that reach the earth surface. the most prevalent bulk material for solar cells is crystalline silicon (abbreviated as a group as c-Si). when silicon cells were twice as thick. . Most c-Si panels are warrantied for 25 years and should see 35+ years of useful life.100 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Cell 101 0. selfsupporting wafers between 180 to 240 micrometers thick are processed and then soldered together to form a solar cell module. some solar cells are optimized for light absorption beyond Earth's atmosphere as well. The main contenders are currently CIGS. and organic polymers) that are deposited on supporting substrates. The following is a current list of light absorbing materials. also known as "solar grade silicon". insolation (solar irradiance) 1000 W/m² 2. listed by configuration and substance-name: BULK These bulk technologies are often referred to as wafer-based manufacturing. and the energy payback time of a modern photovoltaic module is typically from 1 to 4 years depending on the type and where it is used (see net energy gain). (Note: in addition to solar irradiance profiles. Other materials are configured as thin-films (inorganic layers. organic dyes. LIGHT-ABSORBING MATERIALS All solar cells require a light absorbing material contained within the cell structure to absorb photons and generate electrons via the photovoltaic effect. efficiencies were 30% lower than today and lifetimes were shorter. There are many new alternatives to Silicon photocells. solar reference spectrum AM (airmass) 1. such as the sun's incidence angle. Proprietary nano-particle silicon printing processes promises many of the photovoltaic features that conventional silicon can never achieve. cell temperature 25°C SOLAR CELLS AND ENERGY PAYBACK In the 1990s. SILICON By far. while a third group are configured as nanocrystals and used as quantum dots (electron-confined nanoparticles) embedded in a supporting matrix in a "bottom-up" approach. With a typical lifetime of 20 to 30 years. However. Many currently available solar cells are configured as bulk materials that are subsequently cut into wafers and treated in a "top-down" method of synthesis (silicon being the most prevalent bulk material). these costs/kwh calculations will vary depending on assumptions for years of useful life of a system. the measure of watts peak (Wp) is used. It can be printed reel to reel on stainless steel or other high temperature substrates.5 3. in each of these approaches. i. Light absorbing materials can often be used in multiple physical configurations to take advantage of different light absorption and charge separation mechanisms. the technology has progressed significantly. WATTS PEAK Since solar cell output power depends on multiple factors. for comparison purposes between different cells and panels.50 US$/kWh worldwide. DSSC and organic photovoltaics. In other words. Bulk silicon is separated into multiple categories according to crystallinity and crystal size in the resulting ingot. Silicon remains the only material that is well-researched in both bulk and thinfilm configurations.) The chart at the right illustrates the various commercial largearea module energy conversion efficiencies and the best laboratory efficiencies obtained for various materials and technologies. however. ribbon. it may well have cost more energy to make a cell than it could generate in a lifetime.e they generate much more energy over their lifetime than the energy expended in producing them.

gallium is added to replace as much indium as possible due to gallium's relative availability to indium. this is the only technology (apart from amorphous silicon) that can be delivered on a large scale. III and VI in the periodic table. often abbreviated by the chemical formula CuInxGa(1x)Se2.9% with CIGS absorber layer. a heavy metal that is a cumulative poison. and because they are cut from cylindrical ingots. The Solar Cell 103 based solar cells than with silicon photovoltaics and other thinfilm solar cell technologies.or multicrystalline silicon (poly-Si or mc-Si): made from cast square ingots . but save on production costs due to a great reduction in silicon waste. Higher efficiencies (around 30%) can be obtained by using optics to concentrate the incident light. Some investors in solar technology worry that production of CIGS cells will be limited by the availability of indium. thus increasing the open-circuit voltage. Producing 2 GW of CIGS cells (roughly .102 Solar Energy and its Uses 1. CDTE Cadmium telluride is an efficient light-absorbing material for thin-film solar cells.large blocks of molten silicon carefully cooled and solidified. 2. The best efficiency of a thin-film solar cell as of March 2008 was 19. The perception of the toxicity of CdTe is based on the toxicity of elemental cadmium. these cells are best described by a more complex heterojunction model. a solid mixture of the semiconductors CuInSe2 and CuGaSe2. The first large-scale production of CIS modules was started in 2006 in Germany by Wuerth Solar. Compared to other thin-film materials. do not completely cover a square solar cell module without a substantial waste of refined silicon. manufacturing costs of CIS solar cells at present are high when compared with amorphous silicon solar cells but continuing work is leading to more cost-effective production processes. Despite much discussion of the toxicity of CdTe-based solar cells. as this approach does not require sawing from ingots. However. Poly. CIS films (no Ga) achieved greater than 14% efficiency. Hence most c-Si panels have uncovered gaps at the four corners of the cells. The use of gallium increases the optical bandgap of the CIGS layer as compared to pure CIS. These semiconductors are especially attractive for thin film solar cell application because of their high optical absorption coefficients and versatile optical and electrical characteristics which can in principle be manipulated and tuned for a specific need in a given device. 3. Approximately 70% of indium currently produced is used by the flat-screen monitor industry. These cells are less expensive to produce than single crystal cells but are less efficient. This can lead to reduced processing costs from that of bulk materials (in the case of silicon thin films) but also tends to reduce energy conversion efficiency. When gallium is substituted for some of the indium in CIS. CIS is an abbreviation for general chalcopyrite films of copper indium selenide (CuInSe2). These cells have lower efficiencies than poly-Si. although many multi-layer thin films have efficiencies above those of bulk silicon wafers. the material is sometimes called CIGS . THIN FILMS The various thin-film technologies currently being developed reduce the amount (or mass) of light absorbing material required in creating a solar cell. which can be modelled as a simple p-n junction (see under semiconductor). Monocrystalline silicon (c-Si): often made using the Czochralski process. However it has been shown that the release of cadmium to the atmosphere is lower with CdTe- COPPER-INDIUM SELENIDE The materials based on CuInSe2 that are of interest for photovoltaic applications include several elements from groups I. CIGS mentioned below is a variation of CIS. or copper indium/gallium diselenide. CdTe is easier to deposit and more suitable for large-scale production. In another point of view. Single-crystal wafer cells tend to be expensive. Unlike the conventional silicon based solar cell. Ribbon silicon: formed by drawing flat thin films from molten silicon and having a multicrystalline structure.

ORGANIC/POLYMER SOLAR CELLS Organic solar cells and Polymer solar cells are built from thin films (typically 100 nm) of organic semiconductors such as polymers and small-molecule compounds like polyphenylene vinylene. For comparison. and GaInP2. these cells could be beneficial . may consist of the semiconductors: GaAs. These multijunction cells consist of multiple thin films produced using Metalorganic vapour phase epitaxy. In just the past 12 months (12/2006 . their use in terrestrial concentrators might be the lowest cost alternative in terms of $/kWh and $/W. 6N and 7N) and germanium. which can be liquid or solid. and the cell casing is difficult to seal due to the solvents used in assembly. the dyes in these cells also suffer from degradation under heat and UV light. at the ETH. As of 2006. to absorb electromagnetic radiation over a portion of the spectrum.104 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Cell 105 the amount of silicon cells produced in 2006) would use about 10% of the indium produced in 2004. with the potential for lower processing costs than those used for bulk solar cells. Those materials include gallium (4N.7% efficiency under solar concentration and laboratory conditions. However. as compared to approximately 10 m²/g of flat single crystal). Ge. arsenic (4N. The dye-sensitized solar cell depends on a mesoporous layer of nanoparticulate titanium dioxide to greatly amplify the surface area (200-300 m²/ g TiO2. Additionally.12/2007). The semiconductors are carefully chosen to absorb nearly all of the solar spectrum. gallium arsenide GaAs. Switzerland.5% for a tandem cell architecture. GaAs based multijunction devices are the most efficient solar cells to date. for example. and germanium Ge pn junctions. Triple-junction GaAs solar cells were also being used as the power source of the Dutch four-time World Solar Challenge winners Nuna in 2005 and 2007. GALLIUM ARSENIDE (GAAS) MULTIJUNCTION High-efficiency multijunction cells were originally developed for special applications such as satellites and space exploration. loosely speaking. LIGHT-ABSORBING DYES (DSSC) Typically a ruthenium metalorganic dye (Ru-centered) is used as a monolayer of light-absorbing material. The recycling program in Germany is an example that highlights the regenerative industrial paradigm: "From cradle to cradle". Tandem solar cells based on monolithic. thus generating electricity from as much of the solar energy as possible. the cost of 4N gallium metal has risen from about $350 per kg to $680 per kg. these products are critical to the entire substrate manufacturing industry. Selenium allows for better uniformity across the layer and so the number of recombination sites in the film are reduced which benefits the quantum efficiency and thus the conversion efficiency. but at present. copper phthalocyanine (a blue or green organic pigment) and carbon fullerenes. causes it to absorb light most efficiently at a certain color.1% by Tiwari et al. and boron oxide. The photogenerated electrons from the light absorbing dye are passed on to the n-type TiO2. with the highest reported efficiency of 6. are seeing demand rapidly rise. pyrolitic boron nitride (pBN) crucibles for growing crystals. Nanosolar claims to waste only 5% of the indium it uses. 6N and 7N Ga). the best conversion efficiency for flexible CIGS cells on polyimide is 14. Each type of semiconductor will have a characteristic band gap energy which. In spite of the above. A triple-junction cell. The circuit is completed by a redox couple in the electrolyte. and the holes are passed to an electrolyte on the other side of the dye. However. and also by the Dutch solar cars Solutra (2005) and Twente One (2007). this is a popular emerging technology with some commercial impact forecast within this decade. and is typically manufactured by screen printing. germanium metal prices have risen substantially to $1000-$1200 per kg this year. silicon solar cells used up 33% of the world's electronic grade silicon production in 2006. or more precisely. reaching a record high of 40. Energy conversion efficiencies achieved to date using conductive polymers are low compared to inorganic materials. This type of cell allows a more flexible use of materials. series connected. That being said. This technology is currently being utilized in the Mars rover missions. indium can easily be recycled from decommissioned PV modules. gallium indium phosphide (GaInP).

Protocrystalline silicon or 3. These devices differ from inorganic semiconductor solar cells in that they do not rely on the large built in electric field of a PN junction to separate the electrons and holes created when photons are absorbed. CONCENTRATING PHOTOVOLTAICS (CPV) Concentrating photovoltaic systems use a large area of lenses or mirrors to focus sunlight on a small area of photovoltaic cells. In particular. which means it absorbs the visible part of the solar spectrum more strongly than the infrared portion of the spectrum. These cells function as window tinting while generating electricity. the typical exciton diffusion length. The top cell in a-Si absorbs the visible light and leaves the infrared part of the spectrum for the bottom cell in nanocrystalline Si. this can yield: 1. As nc-Si has about the same bandgap as c-Si. tracking . solutions to overcome the limitations of thin-film crystalline silicon have been developed. Additionally. Amorphous silicon has a higher bandgap (1. Using nanocrystals allows one to design architectures on the length scale of nanometers. which results in deep defects (energy levels in the bandgap) as well as deformation of the valence and conduction bands (band tails). Despite the advantages of CPV technologies their application has been limited by the costs of focusing. These types of silicon present dangling and twisted bonds. can improve performance . single-nanocrystal ('channel') devices. but are also less expensive to produce.7 eV) than crystalline silicon (c-Si) (1. The short exciton diffusion lengths of most polymer systems tend to limit the efficiency of such devices. an array of single p-n junctions between the electrodes and separated by a period of about a diffusion length. Thermal processing techniques enhance the crystallinity of the silicon and pacify electronic defects. Depending on the deposition's parameters.1 eV).106 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Cell 107 for some applications where mechanical flexibility and disposability are important. represent a new architecture for solar cells and potentially high efficiency. The active region of an organic device consists of two materials. they may be referred to as Heliostat Concentrator Photovoltaics (HCPV). creating a layered NANOCRYSTALLINE SOLAR CELLS These structures make use of some of the same thin-film light absorbing materials but are overlain as an extremely thin absorber on a supporting matrix of conductive polymer or mesoporous metal oxide having a very high surface area to increase internal reflections (and hence increase the probability of light absorption). The primary attraction of CPV systems is their reduced usage of semiconducting material which is expensive and currently in short supply. Light trapping schemes where the incoming light is obliquely coupled into the silicon and the light traverses the film several times enhance the absorption of sunlight in the films. the charges tend to remain bound in the form of an exciton. cell called a tandem cell. typically in the donor material. sometimes in the form of bulk heterojunctions. A silicon thin film technology is being developed for building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) in the form of semi-transparent solar cells which can be applied as window glazing. and are separated when the exciton diffuses to the donor-acceptor interface. the two material can be combined in thin layers. The solar cells made from these materials tend to have lower energy conversion efficiency than bulk silicon. SILICON THIN FILMS Silicon thin-films are mainly deposited by chemical vapor deposition (typically plasma-enhanced (PE-CVD)) from silane gas and hydrogen gas. one which acts as an electron donor and the other as an acceptor. The quantum efficiency of thin film solar cells is also lower due to reduced number of collected charge carriers per incident photon. Nanostructured interfaces. If these systems use single or dual-axis tracking to improve performance. increasing the concentration ratio improves the performance of general photovoltaic materials. Recently. Nanocrystalline silicon (nc-Si or nc-Si:H). Amorphous silicon (a-Si or a-Si:H) 2. When a photon is converted into an electron hole pair.

are typically next applied.e. it prevents carrier recombination at the surface of the solar cell). The paste is then fired at several hundred degrees Celsius to form metal electrodes in ohmic contact with the silicon. and a grid-like metal contact made up of fine "fingers" and larger "busbars" are screen-printed onto the front surface using a silver paste. and assembled into modules or "solar panels". the solar cells are interconnected in series (and/or parallel) by flat wires or metal ribbons. Poly-crystalline silicon wafers are made by wiresawing block-cast silicon ingots into very thin (180 to 350 micrometer) slices or wafers. Solar power station in Victoria. and developing new materials to serve as light absorbers and charge carriers. To make a solar cell from the wafer. and a polymer encapsulation on the back. Single crystalline wafers which are used in the semiconductor industry can be made into excellent high efficiency solar cells. silicon nitride has gradually replaced titanium dioxide as the antireflection coating of choice because of its excellent surface passivation qualities (i. This plant. On October 25. Although its conversion efficiency is less than the best thin film cells. Tempered glass cannot be used with amorphous silicon cells because of the high temperatures during the deposition process. Some solar cells have textured front surfaces that. The wafer then has a full area metal contact made on the back surface. would be ten times larger than the largest current photovoltaic plant in the world. SILICON SOLAR CELL DEVICE MANUFACTURE Because solar cells are semiconductor devices. 2006. which increase the amount of light coupled into the solar cell.. though in recent years methods of forming them on multicrystalline silicon have been developed. Such surfaces can usually only be formed on single-crystal silicon. typically aluminium. planned to come online in 2008 and be completed by 2013. Antireflection coatings. CURRENT RESEARCH ON MATERIALS AND DEVICES There are currently many research groups active in the field of photovoltaics in universities and research institutions around the world. The wafers are usually lightly p-type doped. they share many of the same processing and manufacturing techniques as other semiconductor devices such as computer and memory chips. LIFESPAN A solar cell must be capable of producing electricity for at least twenty years. Most large-scale commercial solar cell factories today make screen printed poly-crystalline silicon solar cells. like antireflection coatings. Over the past decade. Solar panels have a sheet of tempered glass on the front. It is typically applied in a layer several hundred nanometers thick using plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD).108 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Cell 109 and cooling equipment. but they are generally considered to be too expensive for large-scale mass production. LOW COST SOLAR CELLS This cell is extremely promising because it is made of lowcost materials and does not need elaborate apparatus to manufacture. a surface diffusion of n-type dopants is performed on the front side of the wafer. The rear contact is also formed by screen-printing a metal paste. without a significant decrease in efficiency. its price/ performance ratio should be high enough to allow them to compete with fossil fuel electrical generation. though in some cell designs it is printed in a grid pattern. This research can be divided into three areas: making current technology solar cells cheaper and/or more efficient to effectively compete with other energy sources. This forms a p-n junction a few hundred nanometers below the surface. the stringent requirements for cleanliness and quality control of semiconductor fabrication are a little more relaxed for solar cells. so it can be made in a DIY way allowing more players to produce it than any other type of solar cell. serve to increase the amount of light coupled into the cell. In bulk it should be significantly less expensive than older solid-state cell designs. the Australian federal government and the Victorian state government together with photovoltaic technology company Solar Systems announced a project using this technology. . However. at 154 MW. After the metal contacts are made. Usually this contact covers the entire rear side of the cell. It can be engineered into flexible sheets. developing new technologies based on new solar cell architectural designs.

THIN-FILM PROCESSING Thin-film solar cells use less than 1% of the raw material (silicon or other light absorbers) compared to wafer based solar cells.1 mm. or silica sand. and may therefore offer new opportunities for development of solar cell technologies. with the cost savings of using a thin-film approach. for example. The technique involves taking a silicon wafer. but also to industries surrounding silicon technology as a whole. and making a multitude of parallel. known as carbothermic reduction.110 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Cell 111 SILICON PROCESSING One way of reducing the cost is to develop cheaper methods of obtaining silicon that is sufficiently pure. so that the surfaces corresponding to the faces of the original wafer become the edges of the slivers. is by micromachining wafers into very thin. about 98% pure) is produced with the emission of about 1. Another interesting aspect of thin-film solar cells is the possibility to deposit the cells on all kind of materials. each tonne of silicon (metallurgical grade. In this process. but is normally bound in silica. the interesting laboratory finding is that such electrolytic silicon is in the form of porous silicon which turns readily into a fine powder. (with a particle size of a few micrometres).5 tonnes of carbon dioxide. yielding a total exposed silicon surface area of about 2000 cm² per side. This has the interesting effect of making the cell sensitive from both the front and rear of the cell (a property known as bifaciality). virtually transparent layers that could be used as transparent architectural coverings. There are many research groups around the world actively researching different thin-film approaches and/or materials. it takes over two years for a conventional solar cell to generate as much energy as was used to make the silicon it contains. One particularly promising technology is crystalline silicon thin films on glass substrates. the electrical doping and contacts that were on the face of the wafer are located the edges of the sliver. an ultra-light and flexible cell that converts solar energy . While this new process is in principle the same as the FFC Cambridge Process which was first discovered in late 1996. Silicon is a very common element. typically 1 to 2 mm thick. which opens a new dimension for new applications. leading to a significant price drop per kWh. 2 mm-thick wafer having an exposed silicon surface area of about 175 cm² per side into about 1000 slivers having dimensions of 100 mm x 2 mm x 0. creating a large number of slivers that have a thickness of 50 micrometres and a width equal to the thickness of the original wafer. Solid silica can be directly converted (reduced) to pure silicon by electrolysis in a molten salt bath at a fairly mild temperature (800 to 900 degrees Celsius). Processing silica (SiO2) to produce silicon is a very high energy process . These slices are rotated 90 degrees. The current industrial production of silicon is via the reaction between carbon (charcoal) and silica at a temperature around 1700 degrees Celsius. Another approach is also to reduce the amount of silicon used and thus cost. rather than the front and rear as is the case with conventional wafer cells. including flexible substrates (PET for example). As a result of this rotation.hybrid CIGS cells that are manufactured in layers by using ink-jet and ultrasonic technology to precisely apply metal-organic inks in separate layers directly into common building materials such as metal and glass . . More energy efficient methods of synthesis are not only beneficial to the solar industry. Using this technique. METAMORPHIC MULTIJUNCTION SOLAR CELL The National Renewable Energy Laboratory won another R&D Magazine's R&D 100 Awards for its Metamorphic Multijunction Solar Cell.for 2008. however it remains to be seenvague if these solutions can generate the same space-efficiency as traditional silicon processing. a 150 mm diameter. transverse slices across the wafer. One of the R&D Magazine's prestigious R&D 100 Awards also called the "Oscars of Invention". This technology makes use of the advantages of crystalline silicon as a solar cell material. The result is to convert. one silicon wafer is enough to build a 140 watt current efficiencies. compared to about 60 wafers needed for conventional modules of same power output. has gone to National Renewable Energy Laboratory Hybrid CGIS (or Thin-Film Photovoltaic Manufacturing Process) .

making commercial applications difficult. Additionally. It sounds similar to a project announced by a consortium of German universities. but perhaps are not yet optimized for large-scale photovoltaic production. The dominant conductive thin films used in research now are transparent conductive oxides (abbreviated "TCO"). and also serves as an ohmic contact to transport photogenerated charge carriers away from that light absorbing material. engineering design. operation and cost. It represents a new class of solar cells with clear advantages in performance. embedded in conductive polymers or mesoporous metal oxides. and include fluorine-doped tin oxide (SnO2:F. conventional cells have featured wafers of semiconducting materials with similar crystalline structure. heavy and thick with a bottom layer made of germanium. By varying the size of the quantum dots. The ultra-light. In addition. Meanwhile. or "FTO"). In the new method. thus boosting the overall efficiency. and most have poor transmittance in the infrared portion of the spectrum (e.8 percent under 326 suns concentration). By turning the conventional approach to cells on its head. They require very special deposition conditions at high vacuum. all organic solar cells made to date suffer from degradation upon exposure to UV light. These layers use high-energy materials with extremely high quality crystals. being highly unsaturated and reactive. thin films of many of these materials on conventional silicon solar cells can increase the optical coupling efficiency into the silicon cell. working in concert with Harvard University Science department.g. Researchers at the University of California. Not all of the layers follow the lattice pattern of even atomic spacing. doped zinc oxide (e. Instead. the result is an ultralight and flexible cell that also converts solar energy with record efficiency (40. eg. N. they can sometimes suffer from poor mechanical strength. San Diego have come up with a way of making solar photovoltaic cells more efficient by making them fuzzy with indium phosphide nanowires. Their performance and cost effectiveness is constrained by growing the cells in an upright configuration. the cell includes a full range of atomic spacing.: ITO thin films can also be used as infrared filters in airplane windows). . Alan G. carbon nanotubes or quantum dots. especially in the upper layers of the cell where most of the power is produced. the cells are rigid. which allows for greater absorption and use of sunlight. and hence have lifetimes which are far too short to be viable. TRANSPARENT CONDUCTORS Many new solar cells use transparent thin films that are also conductors of electrical charge. are highly sensitive to atmospheric moisture and oxidation. which carry the charge. However.M.112 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Cell 113 with record efficiency . and indium tin oxide (abbreviated "ITO"). the cell is grown upside down. For decades. The thick. These conductive films are also used in the LCD industry for flat panel displays. quantum dot-modified photovoltaics may be able to achieve up to 42 percent energy conversion efficiency due to multiple exciton generation(MEG). highly efficient solar cell was developed at NREL and is being commercialized by Emcore Corp. rigid germanium layer is removed.. most conductive polymers. POLYMER PROCESSING The invention of conductive polymers (for which Alan Heeger. The present TCO materials are effective for research. the cells can be tuned to absorb different wavelengths. The dual function of a TCO allows light to pass through a substrate window to the active light absorbing material beneath. reducing the cell's cost and 94% of its weight. in partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratories Space Vehicles Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque. MacDiarmid and Hideki Shirakawa were awarded a Nobel prize) may lead to the development of much cheaper cells that are based on inexpensive plastics. These factors make large-scale manufacturing more costly. The conjugated double bond systems in the polymers. of Albuquerque.: ZnO:Al). are always susceptible to breaking up when radiated with shorter wavelengths.g. Although the research is still in its infancy. NANOPARTICLE PROCESSING Experimental non-silicon solar panels can be made of quantum heterostructures.

Those ENERGY DEVELOPMENT Higher electricity use per capita correlates with a higher score on the Human Development Index (1997). the reality is that the photovoltaics market is still dominated by silicon wafer-based solar cells (firstgeneration solar cells). though numerous other nations have or are acquiring significant solar cell production capacity. but those with a balance between low-cost production and efficiency high enough to minimize area-related balance of systems cost. While technologies are constantly evolving toward higher efficiencies. with an almost unlimited supply of sea water uranium available once ground based mining is exhausted. like China and India. Nanotube networks are flexible and can be deposited on surfaces a variety of ways. the timing of worldwide peak oil . Fossil fuels such as petroleum. especially air pollution. IBM has a semiconductor wafer reclamation process that uses a specialized pattern removal technique to repurpose scrap semiconductor wafers to a form used to manufacture siliconbased solar panels. Developing nations score much lower on these variables than developed nations. the most effective cells for low cost electrical production are not necessarily those with the highest efficiency. "Sustainability" also refers to the ability of the environment to cope with waste products. possibly enabling efficient low bandgap solar cells. Nanotube networks are p-type conductors. companies with large scale manufacturing technology for coating inexpensive substrates may. is dependent on a rapid and large expansion of energy production capacity. For example. MANUFACTURERS Solar cells are manufactured primarily in Japan. Therefore.millions or billions of years. The status of nuclear power is controversial. impact on air pollution. and whether or not the source is renewable. The supply of usable uranium might last a very long time. SILICON WAFER BASED SOLAR CELLS Despite the numerous attempts at making better solar cells by using new and exotic materials. but nuclear waste must be stored in a shielded location for hundreds or thousands of years without investment in new reactor designs. Energy development is the ongoing effort to provide sufficient primary energy sources and secondary energy forms to power the world economy. Germany. The aim of the research is to achieve the lowest cost per watt solar cell design that is suitable for commercial production. With some treatment. Renewable energy is sustainable in its production. Major considerations in energy planning include cost. The new process was recently awarded the "2007 Most Valuable Pollution Prevention Award" from The National Pollution Prevention Roundtable (NPPR). This means that most solar cell manufacturers are equipped to produce these type of solar cells. coal. SUSTAINABILITY The environmental movement emphasizes sustainability of energy use and development. nanotube films can be highly transparent in the infrared. the available supply will not be diminished for the foreseeable future . solar. a large body of research is currently being done all over the world to create silicon wafer-based solar cells that can achieve higher conversion efficiency without an exorbitant increase in production cost. Sources which have no direct waste products (such as wind. even with cell efficiencies that are lower than those of single-crystal technologies. The availability of a p-type transparent conductor could lead to new cell designs that simplify manufacturing and improve efficiency. and natural gas are not renewable. China. and hydropower) are seen as ideal in this regard. ultimately be the lowest cost net electricity producers. in fact. It involves both installation of established technologies and research and development to create new energyrelated technologies. whereas traditional transparent conductors are exclusively n-type. Taiwan and the USA .114 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Cell 115 A relatively new area has emerged using carbon nanotube networks as a transparent conductor for organic solar cells. The continued rapid economic growth and increase in living standards in developing nations with large populations.

including renewables. traffic congestion. particularly in a network of integrated global exchange. which are the remains of the decomposition of plants and animals. solar energy itself is the result of the Sun's nuclear fusion. pollution. Except for nuclear fuels. the need to adopt alternative energy sources is also growing. industrial processes. buyers and sellers can adapt to changes in supply and demand conditions in a decentralized way. PROS • The technology and infrastructure already exist for the use of fossil fuels. or converted to mechanical energy for vehicles. Heat from burning fossil fuel is used either directly for space heating and process heating. ventilation. energy economy is to shift use from petroleum to electricity (electrification). He suggests instead that the objective should be energy resilience: resilience goes hand in hand with adaptability. although the application of energy efficiency and conservation approaches allows a certain degree of mitigation of the dependence. ENERGY RESILIENCE Andy Grove argues that energy independence is a flawed and infeasible objective. Energy conservation is an alternative or complementary process to energy development. Geothermal power from hot. leading to concerns about global warming if consumption is not reduced. This energy allows people. gasoline. and natural gas. and LPG are easy to distribute. resilience is one of the best features of market processes. to live under otherwise unfavorable climatic conditions through the use of heating. in terms of energy. production. Fossil fuels are also a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. DEPENDENCE ON EXTERNAL ENERGY SOURCES AND ENERGY RESILIENCE Technologically advanced societies have become increasingly dependent on external energy sources for transportation. or electrical power generation. involve the burning of coal or hydrocarbon fuels. convenience. is principally derived from the production of natural gas. Increased levels of human comfort generally induce increased dependence on external energy sources. FOSSIL FUELS Fossil fuels. that is sticky and can be produced using multiple sources of energy. the production of many manufactured goods. and it also is reflected in important market ideas like substitutability. liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). In fact. as do the climate. His suggestion for how to increase the resilience of the U. and the delivery of energy services. • Commonly-used fossil fuels in liquid form such as light crude oil. hardened rock above the magma of the earth's core is the result of the accumulation of radioactive materials during the formation of Earth which was the byproduct of a previous supernova event. but it has already happened in some countries. • Petroleum energy density in terms of volume (cubic space) and mass (weight) is superior to some alternative energy . respectively. all terrestrial energy sources are from current solar insolation or from fossil remains of plant and animal life that relied directly and indirectly upon sunlight. Level of use of external energy sources differs across societies. It reduces the demand for energy by using it more efficiently. Another fossil fuel. the information transmission function of prices means that individual PRIMARY ENERGY SOURCES Primary energy sources are substances or processes with concentrations of energy at a high enough potential to be feasibly encouraged to convert to lower energy forms under human control for human benefit. petroleum.116 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Cell 117 production is being actively debated. Fossil fuels also make up the bulk of the world's current primary energy sources. and greenhouse gas emissions of each society. in general. And ultimately. With global demand for energy growing.S. Wise energy use therefore embodies the idea of balancing human comfort with reasonable energy consumption levels by researching and implementing effective and sustainable energy harvesting and utilization measures. tidal energy and geothermal energy. and/or air conditioning. There are three main types of fossil fuels: coal.

a power plant may need to be shut down or operate at a reduced power level. Energy density is important in land-and-air transportation fuel tanks. toxic volatile organic compounds (VOC). and trace amounts of uranium.118 Solar Energy and its Uses sources (or energy storage devices. Extraction of fossil fuels results in extensive environmental degradation. and go further out to sea. but we are using them up at a rate approximately 100. o 720 tons of carbon monoxide (CO). at a time of peak demand. aggravated asthma. waste heat disposal becomes an issue at high ambient temperature. like a battery (electricity)). such as the strip mining and mountaintop removal of coal.200 tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx). resulting in headaches and additional stress on people with heart disease. those in light green are constructing their first reactor. • The combustion of fossil fuels leads to the release of pollution into the atmosphere. o 220 tons of hydrocarbons. Extraction of fossil fuels is becoming more expensive and more dangerous as mines get deeper and oil rigs must drill deeper. (Fossil fuels are actually slowly forming continuously. Extracting fossil fuels is becoming more difficult as we consume the most accessible fuel deposits. with dire consequences to societies that remain highly dependent on them. un-sustainable resources. o 10. The heat and gaseous pollution emissions harm our environment. • The inefficient atmospheric combustion (burning) of fossil fuels in vehicles. Oil dependence in particular has led to war.000 times faster than they are formed. the leading cause of acid rain. a typical coal plant produces in one year: o 3. as sometimes do nuclear power plants.) The Moss Landing Power Plant burns natural gas to produce electricity in California. major funding of radical terrorists. for the same reasons. which will cause cancer in one out of 100 people who drink water containing 50 parts per billion. o 10. o 500 tons of small airborne particles. (from hightemperature atmospheric combustion). • • • • o 225 pounds (102 kg) of arsenic. burning lung tissue making people more susceptible to respiratory illness. NUCLEAR ENERGY The status of nuclear power globally. where just 1/70th of a teaspoon deposited on a 25 acre lake can make the fish unsafe to eat. Dependence on fossil fuels from volatile regions or countries creates energy security risks for dependent countries. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists. monopolization. other toxic heavy metals. and socio-political instability.8 kg) of cadmium. which form ozone. Since these power plants are thermal engines. The Solar Cell 119 CONS • Petroleum-powered vehicles are very inefficient. which will eventually decline in production and become exhausted. The rest of the fuel-source energy is inefficiently expended as waste heat.700. those in light yellow are considering . Only about 15% of the energy from the fuel they consume is converted into useful motion. those in dark yellow are considering new reactors. and are typically quite large. and premature death. o 170 pounds (77 kg) of mercury.000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). and power plants contributes to urban heat islands. Fossil fuels are non-renewable. buildings. which result in chronic bronchitis. in addition to haze-obstructed visibility. leading to formation of ozone (smog) which inflames the lungs. could be the primary cause of global warming. Nations in dark green have reactors and are constructing new reactors. o 114 pounds (52 kg) of lead.000 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2). Thus. 4 pounds (1.

The People's Republic of China intends to build breeders. China has plans to build pebble bed reactors configured to produce hydrogen. Some nuclear engineers think that pebble bed reactors. those in blue have reactors but are not constructing or decommissioning. Depending on the type of fission fuel considered. Thorium is three times more abundant in Earth's crust than uranium. leading to energy waste. the fast breeder reactors at Dounreay in Scotland. and that the assertion that a higher price will yield more uranium is overly optimistic. the atoms of which are split in the process of fission. in which each nuclear fuel pellet is coated with a ceramic coating. while the yields are decreasing) of extraction rises very fast. Nuclear reprocessing or burning the fuel better using different reactor designs would reduce the amount of waste material generated and allow better use of the available resources. As opposed to current light water reactors which use uranium-235 (0. have all had difficulties and were not economically competitive and most have been decommissioned. The possibility of nuclear meltdowns and other reactor accidents. more expensive. fast breeder reactors convert the more abundant uranium-238 (99. those in light blue are considering decommissioning and those in red have decommissioned all their commercial reactors. more precisely. It has been estimated that there is anywhere from 10. heats water to create steam. for example a rough estimate predicts that the extraction of uranium from granite will consume at least 70 times more energy than what it will produce in a reactor. such as lower-grade ores. reprocessed and then used as fuel). However. from sources such as granite and seawater. As a consequence an eventual doubling in the price of uranium will give a marginal increase in the volumes that are being produced. and only Canada has mines left which produce better than 1% concentration ore. if the price of natural gas was doubled. The reactor uses uranium rods. On the other hand. India has run out of uranium and is building thermal breeders that can convert Th-232 into U-233 and burn it. are inherently safe and are the best solution for nuclear power. and if prices increased enough.7 percent of all natural uranium). which spins a turbine generator. Current light water reactors burn the nuclear fuel poorly. The nuclear industry argue that the cost of fuel is a minor cost factor for fission power. At the present use rate. in particular. bred into Uranium-233. there are (as of 2007) about 70 years left of known uranium-235 reserves economically recoverable at a uranium price of US$ 130/kg. such as the Three Mile Island accident and . Another alternative would be to use thorium as fission fuel. but as the ores' concentration becomes smaller. more difficult to extract sources of uranium could be used in the future. a doubling in the cost of natural uranium would increase the total cost of nuclear power by 5 percent. estimates for existing supply at known usage rates varies from several decades for the currently popular Uranium-235 to thousands of years for uranium-238. releasing a large amount of energy. As many as eleven countries have depleted their uranium resources.120 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Cell 121 their first reactor. They can also be configured to produce hydrogen for hydrogen vehicles. The process continues as a chain reaction with other nuclei. India has around 32 percent of the world's reserves of thorium and intends on using it for itself because the country has run out of uranium. Fast breeder technology has been used in several reactors. The heat released. Monju in Japan and the Superphénix at Creys-Malville in France. Brown indicates that the country has declared itself free of nuclear power and weapons. Increasing the price of uranium would have little effect on the overall cost of nuclear power. Opponents on the other hand argue that the correlation between price and production is not linear.3 percent of all natural uranium) into plutonium for fuel. and much more of the thorium can be used (or.000 to five billion years worth of Uranium-238 for use in these power plants. the cost of gas-fired power would increase by about 60 percent. producing electricity. NUCLEAR FISSION Nuclear power stations use nuclear fission to generate energy by the reaction of uranium-235 inside a nuclear reactor. Seawater seems to be equally dubious as a source. the difficulty (energy and resource consumption are increasing.

Depending on the source different energy return on energy investment (EROI) are claimed. according to a report 'World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2007' presented by the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament. Opponents claim that it depends on the grades of the ores the fuel came from. Several countries have considered using underground repositories. have caused much public fear. coal and hydropower power generation have both been the cause of more deaths per energy unit produced than nuclear power generation. with current legislation. Comparison with other power generation methods is strongly dependent on assumptions about construction timescales and capital financing for nuclear plants. which is considered very inexpensive (see Economics of new nuclear power plants). nuclear does not have to pay anything because nuclear does not emit toxic gases such as CO2. CO. including nuclear power plants. Spent fuel rods are now stored in concrete casks close to the nuclear reactors.122 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Cell 123 the Chernobyl disaster. This would drive up current prices. • The cost of making nuclear power. and thus are relatively impervious to terrorist attack or adverse weather conditions (see Nuclear safety in the U. for less than 0. Subcritical reactors may also be able to do the same to already existing waste. SO2. There are currently 32 nuclear power plants under construction or in the pipeline. The only way of dealing with waste today is by geological storage. See Economics of new nuclear power plants. The amounts of waste could be reduced in several ways. The long-term radioactive waste storage problems of nuclear power have not been fully solved. .5 million kilograms of coal. sealed. and liquified natural gas tankers. including nuclear power plants but especially nuclear weapons. On the other hand. In 1983. Typical new reactor designs have a construction time of three to four years. The report outlines that the proportion of nuclear energy in power production has decreased in 21 out of 31 countries. Advocates (using life cycle analysis) argue that it takes 4-5 months of energy production from the nuclear plant to fully pay back the initial energy investment. the yield is less then 50%). Historically. Various kinds of energy infrastructure might be attacked by terrorists. is equivalent to about 3. Developing countries like India and China are rapidly increasing their nuclear energy use. Both nuclear reprocessing and fast breeder reactors could reduce the amounts of waste. Nuclear waste takes up little space compared to wastes from the chemical industry which remain toxic indefinitely.02% ores. 20 fewer than at the end of the 1990s. arsenic. so a full payback can vary from 10 to 18 years. etc. a Council on Foreign Relations report on nuclear energy argues that a rapid expansion of nuclear power may create shortages in building materials such as reactor-quality concrete and steel. and that the advocates' claim was based on the assumption of high grade ores (the yields are getting worst. with five less functioning nuclear reactors than five years ago. if spent nuclear fuel is reprocessed and fully utilized. The economics of nuclear power is not simple to evaluate. If a carbon tax is applied. • Nuclear power plants are guarded with the nuclear reactor inside a reinforced containment building. Pros • The energy content of a kilogram of uranium or thorium. 43 plants were being built. skilled workers and engineers. as the ores are leaner.S. New technology like SSTAR ("small. nuclear energy is in decline. Advocates also claim that it is possible to relatively rapidly increase the number of plants. Subcritical reactors or fusion reactors could greatly reduce the time the waste has to be stored. Nuclear proliferation is the spread from nation to nation of nuclear technology. before an unexpected fall in fossil fuel prices stopped most new construction. Research is being done to lessen the known problems of current reactor technology by developing automated and passively-safe reactors. NO. autonomous reactor") may lessen this risk. is about the same as making coal power.). However. transportable. hydropower plants. that are emitted by coal power plants. and safety controls by skilled inspectors. however. in stark contrast to the claims of the nuclear industry and its talk of a renaissance. because of high capital costs for building and very low fuel costs.

The Solar Cell 125 • There can be connections between nuclear power and nuclear weapon proliferation. while wind and hydro are sometimes ranked higher (by life cycle emissions). AND VEGETABLE OIL Biomass production involves using garbage or other renewable resources such as corn or other vegetation to generate electricity. • Waste produced from nuclear fission of uranium is both poisonous and highly radioactive. no commercial fusion reactor is expected before 2050. Vegetation and . then the known current lithium reserves would last 3000 years. wind. and a more complicated fusion process using only deuterium from sea water would have fuel for 150 billion years. Depending on the report. • Since nuclear power plants are typically quite large power plants. However. hydro. as do large coal-fired plants. if nuclear fuel is reprocessed. • The human. waste heat disposal becomes an issue at high ambient temperature. and are. the separated radioactive fission product waste will decay to such a level of radioactivity in 300-500 years. • For the same amount of electricity. Thus. at a time of peak demand. Proposed fusion reactors commonly use deuterium. requiring maintenance and monitoring at the storage sites.124 Solar Energy and its Uses • Because of the fear of a nuclear disaster. lithium from sea water would last 60 million years. BIOFUELS. despite research having started in the 1950s. for the same reasons. BIOMASS. Nuclear energy is much safer per capita than coal derived energy. NUCLEAR FUSION Fusion power could solve many of the problems of fission power (the technology mentioned above) but. and geothermal are sometimes ranked lower. a power reactor may need to be shut down or operate at a reduced power level. making it sustainable. as fuel and in most current designs also lithium. RENEWABLE SOURCES Renewable energy is the alternative to fossil fuels and nuclear power. • The limited liability for the owner of a nuclear power plant in case of a nuclear accident differs per nation while nuclear installations are sometimes built close to national borders. Cons • The improper operation of a badly designed nuclear reactor with no containment vessel near human settlements can be catastrophic in the event of an uncontrolled power increase in the reactor. it contributes only a small amount to global warming or acid rain. where large areas of Europe were affected by moderate radioactive contamination and the parts of the Ukraine and one fifth of Belarus continue today to be affected by radioactive fallout as of 2008. Many technical problems remain unsolved. an isotope of hydrogen. • According to a Stanford study. and economic costs from a successful terrorist attack on a nuclear power reactor that results in the release of substantial quantities of radioactive material to the environment could be great. thermal engines. as shown by the Chernobyl disaster in the Ukraine (former USSR). • Nuclear power does not produce any primary air pollution or release carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere. Assuming a fusion energy output equal to the current global output and that this does not increase in the future. Therefore. fundamentally. fast breeder reactors have the potential to power humans on earth for billions of years. the methane produced is captured in pipes and later burned to produce electricity. nuclear safety has become a major issue. since many reactor designs require large-scale uranium enrichment facilities. • Coal mining is the second most dangerous occupation in the United States. the life cycle emissions of nuclear is about 4% of coal power. environmental. When garbage decomposes.

The steam that shoots back up the other hole(s) is purified and is used to drive turbines. the consumption of ethanol to replace only the current U. • Direct competition with land use for food production and water use. • Since CO2 is first taken out of the atmosphere to make the vegetable oil and then put back after it is burned in the engine. a fact that should alleviate energy pressures in third world nations. • Biomass is abundant on Earth and is generally renewable. and a higher carrying capacity for Earth because non-renewable fossil fuels are not consumed. ethanol fuel production results in a net loss of energy after one accounts for the fuel costs of petroleum and natural-gas fertilizer production. because we are continuously producing them. . In theory. • Algaculture has the potential to produce far more vegetable oil per acre than current plants. using NO fossil fuels at all). • Vegetable oil has a higher flash point and therefore is safer than most fossil fuels. • There is a long list of reasons why even non-food based cellulosic ethanol cannot solve our energy crisis or global warming problems. and straight vegetable oil takes relatively minor modifications. • When methods of biomass production other than direct combustion of plant mass are used. so we have experience making it. This type of recycling encourages the philosophy that nothing on this Earth should be wasted. Vegetable oil can also be transesterified to make biodiesel. petroleum use would require three quarters of all the cultivated land on the face of the Earth. such as fermentation and pyrolysis. farm equipment. there is little effect on the environment. • Even with the most-optimistic current energy return on investment claims. like fossil fuels.S. • Current production methods would require enormous amounts of land to replace all gasoline and diesel. or processed to form alcohols. which burns like normal diesel. When the water temperature is below the Pros • Biomass production can be used to burn organic waste products resulting from agriculture. Straight vegetable oil works in diesel engines if it is heated first. The result is less demand on the Earth's resources. which power electric generators. • The World already produces more than 100 billion gallons a year for food industry. • Infrastructure for biodiesel around the World is significant and growing. biomass is found throughout the world. GEOTHERMAL ENERGY Geothermal energy harnesses the heat energy present underneath the Earth. Two wells are drilled. The hot rocks heat the water to produce steam. it is not feasible for biofuels to replace the demand for petroleum. we will never run out of organic waste products as fuel. With current technology. • Transitioning to vegetable oil could be relatively easy as biodiesel works where diesel works. It is safer to use and store than gasoline or diesel as it has a higher flash point.126 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Cell 127 wood can be burned directly to generate energy. Cons • Direct combustion of any carbon-based fuel leads to air pollution similar to that from fossil fuels. One well injects water into the ground to provide water. • Some researchers claim that when biomass crops are the product of intensive farming. Vegetable oil is generated from sunlight and CO2 by plants. there is no net increase in CO2. in order to use 100% solar energy to grow corn and produce ethanol (fueling machinery with ethanol. distilling with heat from burning crop residues. and the distillation process. In addition. Alcohols and other fuels produced by these alternative methods are clean burning and are feasible replacements to fossil fuels.

Geothermal energy does not produce air or water pollution if performed correctly. Using enhanced geothermal technology.128 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Cell 129 boiling point of water a binary system is used. • • • Cons • The construction of a dam can have a serious environmental impact on the surrounding areas. • Hydroelectricity can only be used in areas where there is a sufficient supply of water. This is because water can be accumulated above the dam and released to coincide with peak demand. even causing earthquakes strong enough to damage buildings. they run continuously day and night with an uptime typically exceeding 95%. • Some geothermal stations have created geological instability. • Cons • Geothermal power extracts small amounts of minerals such as sulfur that are removed prior to feeding the turbine and re-injecting the water back into the injection well. and have a lesser impact on the environment than tidal or hydroelectric plants. • Electricity can be generated constantly. and land-based. • Hydroelectricity assists in securing a country's access to energy supplies. it's possible to drill deeper and inject water to generate geothermal power. A small amount of energy is required in order to run a pump. the local habitat of many species are destroyed. Economically feasible in high grade areas now. • Hydropower is a renewable resource. which affects plant life both aquatic. Because geothermal technology does not rely on large bodies of water. large generating stations can be avoided without losing functionality. so long as sufficient water is available. The resulting anaerobic decomposition of the carboniferous materials releases methane. small. the energy produced from the station is practically free. like geysers. The amount and the quality of water downstream can be affected. such as in Africa. Pros • • • • Geothermal energy is base load power. Once a geothermal power station is implemented. . HYDROELECTRIC ENERGY In hydro energy. Low deployment costs. • Hydroelectric power produces no primary waste or pollution. but rather. Geothermal is now feasible in areas where the earth's crust is thicker. Pros • Hydroelectric power stations can promptly increase to full capacity. while people living nearby may have to relocate their homes. Geothermal power stations are relatively small. • Flooding submerges large forests (if they have not been harvested). Geothermal power plants have a high capacity factor. Because a river valley is being flooded. but powerful jets of water. A low boiling point liquid is used to drive a turbine and generator in a closed system similar to a refrigeration unit running in reverse. • Geothermal power requires locations that have suitable subterranean temperatures within 5km of surface. This creates a location where concentrated pressure and flow can be used to turn turbines or water wheels. although this pump can be powered by excess energy generated at the plant. a greenhouse gas. which drive a mechanical mill or an electric generator. • Much hydroelectric capacity is still undeveloped. the gravitational descent of a river is compressed from a long run to a single location with a dam or a flume. unlike other types of power stations.

8 kwh/m²/day. e. and over 6. • In sunny countries. China is building large subsidized off-the-grid solar-powered cities in Huangbaiyu and Dongtan Eco City. and at 20% efficiency.S. m (around 700 square miles) would need to be covered with solar panels to replace all current electricity production in the US with solar power. using sunlight hitting a parabolic mirror to heat water (producing steam). Arizona area. assuming $500/meter². As long as the Sun exists. using sunlight hitting solar thermal panels to convert sunlight to heat water or air. the average annual solar radiation is 5. The Solar Cell 131 SOLAR POWER Solar power involves using solar cells to convert sunlight into electricity. and possibly in a relatively short time period. Cons • Solar electricity is currently more expensive than grid electricity.S. • Solar energy can be used very efficiently for heating (solar ovens.5 kWh/m²/ year. • Distributed point-of-use photovoltaic systems eliminate expensive long-distance electric power transmission losses. therefore. It would be advantageous to place solar panels in the regions of highest solar radiation. is 3. The cost.7 kWh/m²/day. an area of approximately 3500 square miles (3% of Arizona's land area).130 Solar Energy and its Uses • Dams can contain huge amounts of water. flooding. • Solar power generation releases no water or air pollution. and the U. but reaches 89 kWh/m²/day in parts of Southwest. would be about $5-10 trillion dollars. isolated places can receive electricity. • Global warming is causing reduced rainfall in some regions. at 100% efficiency. or using sunlight entering windows for passive solar heating of a building. Hence cheap solar. the production capacity is rapidly rising. • Solar heat and electricity are not available at night and may be unavailable due to weather conditions. Thus. Significant international investment capital is flowing into China to support this developing regions of Africa. Electricity demand in the continental U. like a wind turbine. a storage or complementary power system is required for off-the-grid applications. solar energy is abundant in regions that have the largest number of people living off grid . Much of the design was done by Americans such as William McDonough. requiring long transmission lines. • Photovoltaic systems are subsidized. an area of 1. solar water and home heaters) and daylighting. This way. In the Phoenix. China is aggressively more-than-doubling worldwide silicon wafer capacity for photovoltaics to 2. and some are cost-effectively off the grid. . reducing the available water in dammed reservoirs (such as Lake Powell in the Southwestern United States). up to $5 USD per watt in some American states.8x10^9 sq. failure of containment can lead to catastrophic results.000 metric tons by July 2008. or 2080. opens the opportunity to enhance global electricity access considerably. because there is no combustion of fuels. when available. when there is no way to connect to the power lines from a plant. Administration expects its Solar America Initiative to help make amortized PV electricity price competitive for the new generation of zero energy buildings. As with every energy storage system. its energy will reach Earth.7*1012 kW·h per year. • Photovoltaic equipment cost has been steadily falling. Pros • Solar power imparts no fuel costs. solar power can be used in remote locations. • Passive solar building design and zero energy buildings are demonstrating significant energy bill reduction. for example. • Photovoltaics are much more efficient in their conversion of solar energy to usable energy than biofuel from plant materials. • Solar power is a renewable resource. Indian subcontinent and Latin America.000 metric tons by the end of 2010. The average solar radiation in the United States is 4. • Hydroelectric plants rarely can be erected near load centers. • Coincidentally.g.

depending primarily on location. or by building impoundment pond dams that admit-or-release water through a turbine. allowing recovery of some of the energy in hydrocarbon waste. siting costs are frequently low. This makes wind power unsuitable for base load generation. When the wind speed decreases less electricity is generated. Coastal tides are a source of clean. New technology makes better use of already available energy through improved efficiency. that can then store energy until needed. • Farming and grazing can still take place on land occupied by wind turbines. Dust on the panels significantly reduces the transfer of energy from solar radiation to electric current. it is possible to recover some of the energy in waste warm water and air. larger wind turbines have slower moving blades which are visible to birds. Already existing power plants often can and usually are made more efficient with minor modifications due to new . wind power is not predictably available. Meat production is energy inefficient compared to the production of protein sources like soybean or Quorn. such as more efficient fluorescent lamps. • Solar cells produce DC which must be converted to AC (using a grid tie inverter) when used in currently existing distribution grids. • A photovoltaic power station is expensive to build. therefore. • Solar panels collect dust and require cleaning.132 Solar Energy and its Uses • Limited energy density: Average daily insolation in the contiguous U.for photovoltaic cells is about 1-5 years. INCREASED EFFICIENCY IN ENERGY USE Efficiency is increasing by about 2% a year. such as carbon dioxide. Cons • Wind is unpredictable. or temporarily. wind towers can be set up at the remote setting.the time necessary for producing the same amount of energy as needed for building the power device . Hence. WIND POWER This type of energy harnesses the power of the wind to propel the blades of wind turbines. which means that we will never run out of it. free. The turbine can turn an electrical generator. • Wind farms. TIDAL POWER GENERATION Tidal power can be extracted from Moon-gravity-powered tides by locating a water turbine in a tidal current. engines. and the energy payback time . in remote areas. • Those utilizing wind power in a grid-tie configuration will have backup power in the event of a power outage. Using heat exchangers. • Wind generation is a renewable source of energy. and sustainable energy. or a gas compressor. Newer. Hydrocarbon fuel production from pyrolysis could also be in this category. which creates electricity. for example to preheat incoming fresh water. Pros • Wind power produces no water or air pollution that can contaminate the environment. • Due to the ability of wind turbines to coexist within agricultural fields. This incurs an energy loss of 4-12%. depending on the location and type of turbine. • Wind farms may be challenged in communities that consider them an eyesore or view obstructor. and insulation. The Solar Cell 133 • Wind towers can be beneficial for people living permanently. and absorbs most of the requirements for energy development. may negatively affect bird migration patterns and may pose a danger to the birds themselves.S. Wind towers are usually built together on wind farms. there are no waste by-products. is 3-7 kW·h/m². It may be difficult to transport electricity through wires from a power plant to a far-away location and thus. These turbines cause the rotation of magnets. • Power from the wind does not contribute to global warming because it does not generate greenhouse gases. renewable. because there are no chemical processes involved in wind power generation.

often due to weather damage. failures are inevitable. Refined hydrocarbon fuels such as gasoline and LPG may also be delivered via aircraft. African countries with small scale electrical grids have a correspondingly low annual per capita usage of electricity. Mass transportation increases energy efficiency compared to widespread conventional automobile use while air travel is regarded as inefficient.134 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Cell 135 technology. reducing their energy consumption during use by 1/2 to 1/4. etc. To prevent problems. as some energy is always lost to heat. Electric vehicles such as Maglev. Microcars or motorcycles may replace automobiles carrying only one or two people. and Australia are among the highest per capita consumers of electricity in the world. Grids may suffer from transient blackouts and brownouts. More efficient ceramic or diesel engines can improve mileage. power is then rationed. although infrastructure maintenance is becoming a problem. New small scale energy sources may be placed closer to the consumers so that less energy is lost during electricity distribution. for example by reducing weight with new materials. Ethanol's corrosive properties prevent it from being transported via pipeline. or road. The higher costs of ethanol transportation and storage are often prohibitive. New designs for buildings may incorporate techniques like passive solar. regaining energy from braking. Sources include electrical generation plants such as a nuclear reactor. Electricity distribution may change in the future. see automated highway system. When power requirements exceed what's available. ENERGY TRANSPORTATION While new sources of energy are only rarely discovered or made possible by new technology. coal burning power plant. transformers. and piping are used to maintain a constant flow of electricity. Conventional combustion engine automobiles have continually improved their efficiency and may continue to do so in the future. who are generating Fuels Shipping is a flexible delivery technology that is used in the whole range of energy development regimes from primitive to highly advanced. Currently. The use of fuel cells in cars. During certain extreme space weather events solar wind can interfere with transmissions. A combination of sub-stations. coal. New technology like superconductivity or improved power factor correction may also decrease the energy lost. is an anticipated delivery technology. when the two may be hundreds of kilometres away. Industrialised countries such as Canada. Transportation efficiency may also be improved by in other ways. Petroleum and natural gas may also be delivered via pipeline and coal via a Slurry pipeline. Light-emitting diodes are gradually replacing the remaining uses of light bulbs. and PHEVs are more efficient during use (but maybe not if doing a life cycle analysis) than similar current combustion based vehicles. This section presents some of the more common delivery technologies that have been important to historic energy development. One of the most powerful power grids in the world supplies power to the state of Queensland. towers. New power plants may become more efficient with technology like cogeneration. CurrentEnergy provides a realtime overview of the electricity supply and demand for California. for example. petroleum and their derivatives are delivered by shipping via boat. turning off the motor when idling in traffic. distribution technology continually evolves. which is possible thanks to a widespread electrical distribution network. . etc. Grids also have a predefined carrying capacity or load that cannot safely be exceeded. Hybrid vehicles can save energy by allowing the engine to run more efficiently. the US. They all rely in some way on the energy sources listed in the previous section. rail. Distributed generation permits electricity "consumers". and the Northeast of the US. cables. Note that none of these methods allows perpetual motion. trolleybuses. Texas. Electric Grids Electricity grids are the networks used to transmit and distribute power from production source to end user. Australia. The US grid is one of the most advanced. Natural gas pipelines must maintain a certain minimum pressure to function correctly.

or nuclear • Electric motors are 90% efficient compared to about 20% efficiency of an internal combustion engine. • Operation of a battery electric vehicle is approximately 2 to 4 cents per mile. • Battery electric vehicles are quiet compared to internal combustion engines. • Current lead acid battery technology offers 50+ miles range on one charge. Pros • Hydrogen is colorless. ease of energy release. or hydroelectric. • Batteries are highly toxic. which transform electrical energy into forms of potential energy. ease of transport. odorless and entirely non-polluting. HYDROGEN ECONOMY Hydrogen can be manufactured at roughly 77 percent thermal efficiency by the method of steam reforming of natural gas. • Multiple electric vehicles sold out including the General Motors EV1 and the Tesla Roadster proving the demand for battery electric vehicles. solar. no new expensive research and development is needed to implement technology. or ease of converting free energy from the natural form to the stable form. Battery electric vehicles can be charged from the grid when the vehicle is not in use. When manufactured by this method it is a derivative fuel like gasoline. • Batteries make it possible for stationary alternative energy generation such as solar. yielding pure water vapor (with minimal NOx) as exhaust when combusted in air. • Grid infrastructure and output would need to be improved significantly to accommodate a mass-adoption of gridcharged electric vehicles. As an alternative energy. though hydrogen is the more versatile storage mode since there are two options for its conversion to useful work: (1) a fuel cell can convert the chemicals hydrogen and oxygen into water. depending on the source of the electricity. thus improving the reliability of the vehicle. batteries can be used to store energy in battery electric vehicles. Pros • Produces zero emissions to help counteract the effects of global warming. Spent vehicle batteries present an environmental hazard. COMPRESSED AIR VEHICLES The Indian company. A method of energy storage may be chosen based on stability. produce electricity. Because the energy is derived from electricity. when produced by electrolysis of water. • The Tesla Roadster has a 200-mile (320 km) range on one charge.136 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Cell 137 ENERGY STORAGE Methods of energy storage have been developed. • Battery electric vehicles have fewer moving parts than internal combustion engines. • The use of battery electric vehicles may reduce the dependency on fossil fuels. About a sixth the price of operating a gasoline vehicle. • Battery electric vehicles have a relative short range compared to internal combustion engine vehicles. and in the process. • Batteries are a mature technology. is planning to release a compressed air powered car in 2008. Cons • Current battery technology is expensive. geothermal. Tata. This eliminates the direct . hydroelectric. battery electric vehicles make it possible to use other forms of alternative energy such as wind. or (2) hydrogen can be burned (less efficiently than in a fuel cell) in an internal combustion engine. it is a form of chemical energy storage as are storage batteries. BATTERY-POWERED VEHICLES Batteries are used to store energy in a chemical form. wind. as long as the electricity comes from a source which produces no greenhouse gases. nuclear.

An alternative would be transmission of electricity over the existing electrical network to small-scale electrolyzers to support the widespread use of hydrogen as a fuel. Chemical by-products would be sodium oxide. forming pollution and nullifying the value of using a fuel cell. fossil fuels are consumed. o By breaking down hydrocarbons . Hydroelectric power is currently an important part of the world's energy supply. neglecting the energy conversion at the electric power plant. o By reacting water with a metal such as sodium. As with distributed production of hydrogen via electrolysis. Man-made forms of chemical energy storage include hydrogen fuel. or boron. such as proton exchange membrane fuel cells. Hydrogen can be produced from domestic sources and the price can be established within the country.138 Solar Energy and its Uses production of exhaust gases that lead to smog. which store energy in chemical bonds. It has been calculated that it takes 1. use platinum as a catalyst. • Hydrogen is difficult to handle. transmission and use of energy for transportation. store. The water then turns a turbine. synthetic hydrocarbon fuel. If it is needed at a moderate temperature and pressure.The process of splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen using electrolysis consumes large amounts of energy. Reducing the platinum loading. . It requires heavy. the process is reversed. It would be more efficient to use fossil fuel directly. • Some current fuel cell designs. generating one-fifth of the world's electricity. If oil or gases are used to provide this energy. The Solar Cell 139 Cons • Other than some volcanic emanations. • It is impossible to obtain hydrogen gas without expending energy in the process. batteries and explosives such as cordite and dynamite. Widescale deployment of such fuel cells could place a strain on available platinum resources. When electrical energy is required. generating electricity. is the focus of R&D. and transport. because it reacts so strongly with oxygen and other elements. battery electric vehicles could utilize the existing electricity grid until widespread use dictated an expansion of the grid. further eroding the energy return on energy invested. • Hydrogen is the lightest chemical element and has the best energy-to-weight ratio of any fuel (not counting tank mass). • Electricity transmission and battery electric vehicles are far more efficient for storage. o By electrolysis from water . There are three ways to manufacture hydrogen. • There is currently modest fixed infastructure for distribution of hydrogen that is centrally produced. and boron oxide. it can be produced domestically from the decomposition of water. • Hydrogen can be produced anywhere. by using excess energy to pump water into the reservoir. The transportation of hydrogen is also a problem because hydrogen leaks effortlessly from containers. hydrogen does not exist in its pure form in the environment. Most systems of chemical energy storage result from biological activity. potassium. and carbon dioxide emissions that enhance the effect of global warming. Gravitational Dams can be used to store energy. potassium oxide.4 joules of electricity to produce 1 joule of hydrogen (Pimentel. and complex insulating bottles if stored as a cryogenic liquid. a metal hydride absorber may be needed. cumbersome tanks when stored as a gas.mainly methane. ENERGY STORAGE TYPES Chemical Some natural forms of energy are found in stable chemical compounds such as fossil fuels. amounting to several hundred kilometers of pipeline. Processes exist which could recycle these elements back into their metal form for re-use with additional energy input. 2002). per fuel cell stack.

• 1865 . and each need sustained research and development. and then stopped to point out that since we are going to be on the HISTORY OF PREDICTIONS ABOUT FUTURE ENERGY DEVELOPMENT Ever since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. It should be noted that between 1950 and 1984. fertilizers or even transportation fuel but now more energy is consumed than produced. Drilling for oil or building a wind power plant requires energy. Short term energy crises are also a concern of energy development. If the investment is greater than the energy produced. Such systems save on expensive generating capacity since it only needs to meet average consumption rather than peak consumption. FUTURE ENERGY DEVELOPMENT Extrapolations from current knowledge to the future offer a choice of energy futures. then the fossil resource is no longer an energy source. Some predictions parallel the Malthusian catastrophe hypothesis. The peaking of world hydrocarbon production (Peak oil) may test Malthus critics. This means that a large part of the fossil fuel resources and especially the non-conventional ones cannot be used for energy production today. Large scale compressed air energy storage facilities are used to smooth out demands on electricity generation by providing energy during peak hours and storing energy during off-peak hours.140 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Cell 141 Electrical Capacitance Electrical energy may be stored in capacitors. such as renewable energy technologies. • 1885 .U. Geological Survey: Little or no chance of oil in Kansas or Texas. Flywheels and Springs Energy can also be stored in mechanical systems such as springs or flywheels. The energy for the Green Revolution was provided by fossil fuels in the form of fertilizers (natural gas). . Jacques Cousteau spoke of using the salinization of water at river estuaries as an energy source. Nuclear fusion and artificial photosynthesis are other energy technologies being researched and developed. and hydrocarbon fueled irrigation. Energy production usually requires an energy investment.neutrality disputed Mechanical Pressure: Energy may also be stored pressurized gases or alternatively in a vacuum.William Stanley Jevons published The Coal Question in which he claimed that reserves of coal would soon be exhausted and that there was no prospect of oil being an effective replacement. including consideration of possible harmful side effects. for example. Nuclear fission is also promoted. Existing technologies for new energy sources.U.S. Modeling approaches offer ways to analyze diverse strategies. as the Green Revolution transformed agriculture around the globe. Such resources may still be exploited economically in order to produce raw materials for plastics. Capacitors are often used to produce high intensity releases of energy (such as a camera's flash). Geological Survey: Little or no chance of oil in California. which would not have any consequences for a million years. world grain production increased by 250%. particularly when they predict a continual increase in oil consumption. Numerous are complex models based scenarios as pioneered by Limits to Growth. The fossil fuel resources (see above) that are left are often increasingly difficult to extract and convert. Compressed air. economically recoverable but not net positive energy sources. • 1891 . They may thus require increasingly higher energy investments. Flywheel energy storage is currently being used for uninterruptible power supplies. and hopefully find a road to rapid and sustainable development of humanity. Some extrapolations lack plausibility. are promising. (They then become similar to ordinary mining reserves. planet for a billion years we had to be looking that far into the future. although ultimately basic physics sets limits that cannot be exceeded. pesticides (oil). the question of the future of energy supplies has occupied economists. particularly wind power and solar power.) New technology may ameliorate this problem if it can lower the energy investment required to extract and convert the resources.S. may be used to operate vehicles and power tools.

and is widely used in several European countries and the United States.8% of final energy consumption. Hydropower was the next largest renewable source. Wind power is growing at the rate of 30 percent annually.Predicted peak by Colin Campbell ("Oil Price Leap in the Early Nineties.OPEC estimates it will nearly double oil output by 2025 (Opec Oil Outlook to 2025 Table 4. about 18% of global final energy consumption came from renewables. providing 3%. exceeding all other readily available sources. December 1989.000 m³).142 Solar Energy and its Uses • 1914 . In 2006. biomass and biofuels for transportation. • 1939 . tides and geothermal heat-which are renewable (naturally replenished). and photovoltaic (PV) power stations are particularly popular in Germany.S. without requiring additional energy input.S. pages 3538." Noroil. Renewable energy technologies are sometimes criticised for being intermittent or unsightly.that is. King Hubbert predicts U. rain. The technical potential for their use is very large. • 1951 . such as wood-burning. wind.Geophysicist M. . . Department of the Interior: Reserves to last only 13 years. • 1989 .U. hydroelectricity/micro hydro. (Data from Kahn et al. wind power. with 13% coming from traditional biomass.U.S. Bureau of Mines: Total future production of 5. solar. with a worldwide installed capacity of over 100 GW. (1976) pp. This is Hubbert peak theory.7 billion barrels (910. Also predicts world oil production will peak "within half a century" based on 1956 data. Solar thermal power stations operate in the USA and Spain. Department of the Interior. and the largest of these is the 354 MW SEGS power plant in the Mojave Desert. The world's largest geothermal power installation is The Geysers in California. yet the market is growing for many forms of renewable energy.000. followed by hot water/heating.3%. Modern technologies. which contributed 1.) • 2004 . Oil and Gas Division: Reserves to last 13 years. with a rated capacity of The history of perpetual motion machines is a long list of failed and sometimes fraudulent inventions of machines which produce useful energy "from nowhere" . Renewable energy technologies range from solar power. such as geothermal. Page 12) Supremacy Over other Energy Sources 143 6 SUPREMACY OVER OTHER ENERGY SOURCES Renewable energy is energy generated from natural resourcessuch as sunlight.94-5 infra) • 1956 . and ocean energy together provided some 0.000 MW in 2006.U. oil production will peak between 1965 and 1970 (peaked in 1971). wind. The manufacturing output of the photovoltaics industry reached more than 2.S.

renewable technologies are also suited to small off-grid applications.35 MW.000 small (20-100 watt) solar power systems sold per year. with values at the upper end of the range in particularly favourable sites. blamed in part for global warming. power output increases dramatically. are preferred locations for wind farms.066 MWh. the power output of a turbine is a function of the cube of the wind speed. Ethanol fuel is also widely available in the USA. Most radiation is absorbed at low latitudes around the equator. but solar is not far behind. and biofuels and hydrogen derived from renewable resources." Each of these sources has unique characteristics which influence how and where they are used. While there are many large-scale renewable energy projects and production. hydropower. peak oil and increasing government support are driving increasing renewable energy legislation. such as offshore and high altitude sites. but only 0.760 megawatt-hours in a year. as the International Energy Agency explains: "Renewable energy is derived from natural processes that are replenished constantly. so as wind speed increases. the resulting level of energy within the Earth-Atmosphere system can roughly be described as the Earth's "climate. Online data is available for some locations and the capacity factor can be calculated from the yearly output. Since wind speed is not constant. Sharp. Typical capacity factors are 20-40%. a wind farm's annual energy production is never as much as the sum of the generator nameplate ratings multiplied by the total hours in a year. sometimes in rural and remote areas. biomass. incentives and commercialization. geothermal resources. averaging to 0. Brazil has one of the largest renewable energy programs in the world. For example. This could require large MAIN RENEWABLE ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES The majority of renewable energy technologies are directly or indirectly powered by the sun. General Electric. where energy is often crucial in human development. or 40 times current electricity demand. European Union leaders reached an agreement in principle in March 2007 that 20 percent of their nations' energy should be produced from renewable fuels by 2020. it derives directly from the sun. involving production of ethanol fuel from sugar cane. the long-term technical potential of wind energy is believed to be five times total current global energy production. is also responsible for the distribution of precipitation which is tapped by hydroelectric projects. a 1 megawatt turbine with a capacity factor of 35% will not produce 8. but this energy is dissipated around the globe in the form of winds and ocean currents. Included in the definition is electricity and heat generated from solar. Climate change concerns coupled with high oil prices. Modern wind turbines range from around 600 kW to 5 MW of rated power. This level of investment combined with continuing double digit percentage increases each year has moved what once was considered alternative energy to mainstream. Investment capital flowing into renewable energy climbed from $80 billion in 2005 to a record $100 billion in 2006. and for the growth of plants used to create biofuels. The Earth-Atmosphere system is in equilibrium such that heat radiation into space is equal to incoming solar radiation. or from heat generated deep within the earth. Areas where winds are stronger and more constant. and Royal Dutch Shell are investing in the renewable energy sector. Solar energy . Wave motion may play a role in the process of transferring mechanical energy between the atmosphere and the ocean through wind stress. WIND POWER Airflows can be used to run wind turbines. In its various forms. Wind was the first to provide 1% of electricity.5-3 MW have become the most common for commercial use. wind. ocean. Globally. Kenya has the world's highest household solar ownership rate with roughly 30. and ethanol now provides 18 percent of the country's automotive fuel. although turbines with rated output of 1." The hydrosphere (water) absorbs a major fraction of the incoming radiation. wind.35x24x365 = 3. Some very large corporations such as BP. tides and geothermal heat. The ratio of actual productivity in a year to this theoretical maximum is called the capacity factor.144 Solar Energy and its Uses Supremacy Over other Energy Sources 145 750 MW. as part of its drive to cut emissions of carbon dioxide. Renewable energy flows involve natural phenomena such as sunlight.

so offshore resources could contribute substantially more energy. usually using underwater plant resembling a small wind turbine. There are many forms of water energy: • Hydroelectric energy is a term usually reserved for largescale hydroelectric dams. can yield considerable amounts of energy. There are many of these installations around the world. such as carbon dioxide and methane. or moderate sea swell.146 Solar Energy and its Uses Supremacy Over other Energy Sources 147 amounts of land to be used for wind turbines. • Heat buildings. • Solar air conditioning BIOFUEL Plants use photosynthesis to grow and produce biomass. This form of energy is in research. • Generate electricity using concentrated solar power. WATER POWER Energy in water (in the form of motive energy or temperature differences) can be harnessed and used. To this end. Solar energy can be applied in many ways. • Tidal power captures energy from the tides in a vertical direction. Offshore resources experience mean wind speeds of ~90% greater than that of land. They are often used in water rich areas as a Remote Area Power Supply (RAPS). "solar energy" refers to energy that is collected from sunlight. This number could also increase with higher altitude ground-based or airborne wind turbines. Wave power has now reached commercialization. It uses submerged pipes as a heat sink for climate control systems. OTEC has not been field-tested on a large scale. • Damless hydro systems derive kinetic energy from rivers and oceans without using a dam. • Blue energy is the reverse of desalination. • Heat water or air for domestic hot water and space heating needs using solar-thermal panels. • Generate electricity by heating trapped air which rotates turbines in a Solar updraft tower. can save a lot of energy in summer. • Generate electricity in geosynchronous orbit using solar power satellites. Around low tide. including to: • Generate electricity using photovoltaic solar cells. although not technically an energy generation method. through solar ovens. the water in the basin is discharged through a turbine. SOLAR ENERGY USE In this context. raise water levels in a basin. • Heat foodstuffs. even a slow flowing stream of water. Lake-bottom water is a year-round local constant of about 4°C. Tidal stream power demonstration projects exist. The waves will usually make large pontoons go up and down in the water. Wind power is renewable and produces no greenhouse gases during operation. • Micro hydro systems are hydroelectric power installations that typically produce up to 100 kW of power. Since water is about 800 times denser than air. including several delivering around 50 kW in the Solomon Islands. Examples are the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington State and the Akosombo Dam in Ghana. and tides roll out. • Deep lake water cooling. • Ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) uses the temperature difference between the warmer surface of the ocean and the colder lower recesses. and the first commercial prototype will be installed in Strangford Lough in September 2007. Also known as biomatter. • Tidal stream power captures energy from the flow of tides. directly. biomass can be used directly as fuel or to . particularly in areas of higher wind resources. • Heat and cool air through use of solar chimneys. Tides come in. through passive solar building design. it employs a cyclic heat engine. • Wave power uses the energy in waves. leaving an area with reduced wave height in the "shadow".


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produce liquid biofuel. Agriculturally produced biomass fuels, such as biodiesel, ethanol and bagasse (often a by-product of sugar cane cultivation) can be burned in internal combustion engines or boilers. Typically biofuel is burned to release its stored chemical energy. Research into more efficient methods of converting biofuels and other fuels into electricity utilizing fuel cells is an area of very active work.

two-thirds of the original energy consumed by the cow. Energy harvesting via a bioreactor is a cost-effective solution to the waste disposal issues faced by the dairy farmer, and can produce enough biogas to run a farm. With current technology, it is not ideally suited for use as a transportation fuel. Most transportation vehicles require power sources with high power density, such as that provided by internal combustion engines. These engines generally require clean burning fuels, which are generally in liquid form, and to a lesser extent, compressed gaseous phase. Liquids are more portable because they have high energy density, and they can be pumped, which makes handling easier. This is why most transportation fuels are liquids. Non-transportation applications can usually tolerate the low power-density of external combustion engines, that can run directly on less-expensive solid biomass fuel, for combined heat and power. One type of biomass is wood, which has been used for millennia in varying quantities, and more recently is finding increased use. Two billion people currently cook every day, and heat their homes in the winter by burning biomass, which is a major contributor to man-made climate change global warming. The black soot that is being carried from Asia to polar ice caps is causing them to melt faster in the summer. In the 19th century, wood-fired steam engines were common, contributing significantly to industrial revolution unhealthy air pollution. Coal is a form of biomass that has been compressed over millennia to produce a non-renewable, highlypolluting fossil fuel. Wood and its byproducts can now be converted through process such as gasification into biofuels such as woodgas, biogas, methanol or ethanol fuel; although further development may be required to make these methods affordable and practical. Sugar cane residue, wheat chaff, corn cobs and other plant matter can be, and are, burned quite successfully. The net carbon dioxide emissions that are added to the atmosphere by this process are only from the fossil fuel that was consumed to plant, fertilize, harvest and transport the biomass. Processes to harvest biomass from short-rotation poplars and willows, and perennial grasses such as switchgrass, phalaris, and

LIQUID BIOFUEL Liquid biofuel is usually either a bioalcohol such as ethanol fuel or a bio-oil such as biodiesel and straight vegetable oil. Biodiesel can be used in modern diesel vehicles with little or no modification to the engine and can be made from waste and virgin vegetable and animal oil and fats (lipids). Virgin vegetable oils can be used in modified diesel engines. In fact the Diesel engine was originally designed to run on vegetable oil rather than fossil fuel. A major benefit of biodiesel is lower emissions. The use of biodiesel reduces emission of carbon monoxide and other hydrocarbons by 20 to 40%. In some areas corn, cornstalks, sugarbeets, sugar cane, and switchgrasses are grown specifically to produce ethanol (also known as grain alcohol) a liquid which can be used in internal combustion engines and fuel cells. Ethanol is being phased into the current energy infrastructure. E85 is a fuel composed of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline that is sold to consumers. Biobutanol is being developed as an alternative to bioethanol. There is growing international criticism about biofuels from food crops with respect to issues such as food security, environmental impacts (deforestation) and energy balance. SOLID BIOMASS Solid biomass is mostly commonly usually used directly as a combustible fuel, producing 10-20 MJ/kg of heat. Its forms and sources include wood fuel, the biogenic portion of municipal solid waste, or the unused portion of field crops. Field crops may or may not be grown intentionally as an energy crop, and the remaining plant byproduct used as a fuel. Most types of biomass contain energy. Even cow manure, still contains


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miscanthus, require less frequent cultivation and less nitrogen than from typical annual crops. Pelletizing miscanthus and burning it to generate electricity is being studied and may be economically viable.

BIOGAS Biogas can easily be produced from current waste streams, such as: paper production, sugar production, sewage, animal waste and so forth. These various waste streams have to be slurried together and allowed to naturally ferment, producing methane gas. This can be done by converting current sewage plants into biogas plants. When a biogas plant has extracted all the methane it can, the remains are sometimes better suitable as fertilizer than the original biomass. Alternatively biogas can be produced via advanced waste processing systems such as mechanical biological treatment. These systems recover the recyclable elements of household waste and process the biodegradable fraction in anaerobic digesters. Renewable natural gas is a biogas which has been upgraded to a quality similar to natural gas. By upgrading the quality to that of natural gas, it becomes possible to distribute the gas to the mass market via gas grid.
GEOTHERMAL ENERGY Geothermal energy is energy obtained by tapping the heat of the earth itself, usually from kilometers deep into the Earth's crust. It is expensive to build a power station but operating costs are low resulting in low energy costs for suitable sites. Ultimately, this energy derives from heat in the Earth's core. The government of Iceland states: "It should be stressed that the geothermal resource is not strictly renewable in the same sense as the hydro resource." It estimates that Iceland's geothermal energy could provide 1700 MW for over 100 years, compared to the current production of 140 MW. The International Energy Agency classifies geothermal power as renewable. Three types of power plants are used to generate power from geothermal energy: dry steam, flash, and binary. Dry steam plants take steam out of fractures in the ground and use it to directly

drive a turbine that spins a generator. Flash plants take hot water, usually at temperatures over 200 °C, out of the ground, and allows it to boil as it rises to the surface then separates the steam phase in steam/water separators and then runs the steam through a turbine. In binary plants, the hot water flows through heat exchangers, boiling an organic fluid that spins the turbine. The condensed steam and remaining geothermal fluid from all three types of plants are injected back into the hot rock to pick up more heat. The geothermal energy from the core of the Earth is closer to the surface in some areas than in others. Where hot underground steam or water can be tapped and brought to the surface it may be used to generate electricity. Such geothermal power sources exist in certain geologically unstable parts of the world such as Chile, Iceland, New Zealand, United States, the Philippines and Italy. The two most prominent areas for this in the United States are in the Yellowstone basin and in northern California. Iceland produced 170 MW geothermal power and heated 86% of all houses in the year 2000 through geothermal energy. Some 8000 MW of capacity is operational in total. There is also the potential to generate geothermal energy from hot dry rocks. Holes at least 3 km deep are drilled into the earth. Some of these holes pump water into the earth, while other holes pump hot water out. The heat resource consists of hot underground radiogenic granite rocks, which heat up when there is enough sediment between the rock and the earths surface. Several companies in Australia are exploring this technology. RENEWABLE ENERGY COMMERCIALIZATION

COSTS Renewable energy systems encompass a broad, diverse array of technologies, and the current status of these can vary considerably. Some technologies are already mature and economically competitive (e.g. geothermal and hydropower), others need additional development to become competitive without subsidies. This can be helped by improvements to subcomponents, such as electric generators. The table shows an overview of costs of various renewable energy technologies. For comparison with the prices in the table,


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electricity production from a conventional coal-fired plant costs about 4¢/kWh. Though in some G8 nations the cost can be significantly higher at 7.88p (~15¢/kWh). Achieving further cost reductions as indicated in the table below requires further technology development, market deployment, an increase in production capacities to mass production levels, and of the establishment of an emissions trading scheme and/or carbon tax which would attribute a cost to each unit of carbon emitted; thus reflecting the true cost of energy production by fossil fuels which then could be used to lower the cost/kWh of these renewable energies. WIND POWER MARKET INCREASE As of April 2008, worldwide wind farm capacity was 100,000 megawatts (MW), and wind power produced some 1.3% of global electricity consumption, accounting for approximately 18% of electricity use in Denmark, 9% in Spain, and 7% in Germany. The United States is an important growth area and latest American Wind Energy Association figures show that installed U.S. wind power capacity has reached 18,302 MW, which is enough to serve 5 million average households. Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center, in Texas, is the world's largest wind farm at 735.5 MW capacity. It consists of 291 GE Energy 1.5 MW wind turbines and 130 Siemens 2.3 MW wind turbines. In the UK, a licence to build the world's largest offshore windfarm, in the Thames estuary, has been granted. The London Array windfarm, 20 km off Kent and Essex, should eventually consist of 341 turbines, occupying an area of 230 km². This is a £1.5 billion, 1,000 megawatt project, which will power one-third of London homes. The windfarm will produce an amount of energy that, if generated by conventional means, would result in 1.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year. It could also make up to 10% of the Government's 2010 renewables target. A proposed 4,000 MW facility, called the Pampa Wind Project, is to be located near Pampa, Texas.

the 64 MW Nevada Solar One and the 11 MW PS10 solar power tower in Spain. Three 50 MW trough plants were under construction in Spain at the end of 2007 with 10 additional 50 MW plants planned. In the United States, utilities in California and Florida have announced plans (or contracted for) at least eight new projects totaling more than 2,000 MW. In developing countries, three World Bank projects for integrated CSP/combined-cycle gas-turbine power plants in Egypt, Mexico, and Morocco were approved during 2006/2007. There are several solar thermal power plants in the Mojave Desert which supply power to the electricity grid. Solar Energy Generating Systems (SEGS) is the name given to nine solar power plants in the Mojave Desert which were built in the 1980s. These plants have a combined capacity of 354 megawatts (MW) making them the largest solar power installation in the world.

NEW GENERATION OF SOLAR THERMAL PLANTS Since 2004 there has been renewed interest in solar thermal power stations and two plants were completed during 2006/2007:

WORLD'S LARGEST PHOTOVOLTAIC POWER PLANTS The Moura photovoltaic power station, located in the municipality of Moura, Portugal, is presently under construction and will have an installed capacity of 62 MWp. The first stage of construction should be finished in 2008 and the second and final stage is scheduled for 2010, making it one of the largest photovoltaic projects ever constructed. Construction of a 40 MW solar generation power plant is underway in the Saxon region of Germany. The Waldpolenz Solar Park will consist of some 550,000 thin-film solar modules. The direct current produced in the modules will be converted into alternating current and fed completely into the power grid. Completion of the project is expected in 2009. Three large photovoltaic power plants have recently been completed in Spain: the Parque Solar Hoya de Los Vincentes (23 MW), the Solarpark Calveron (21 MW), and the Planta Solar La Magascona (20 MW). Another photovoltaic power project has been completed in Portugal. The Serpa solar power plant is located at one of Europe's sunniest areas. The 11 megawatt plant covers 150 acres (0.61 km²) and comprises 52,000 PV panels. The panels are raised 2 metres off the ground and the area will remain productive grazing land.

can cover up to 50% of the total cost of a solar panel system. The power station will have the capability to concentrate the sun by 500 times onto the solar cells for ultra high power output. 2007 by the Scottish Government.000 homes and will save an estimated 30. a further 70 million is likely to be invested before 2009 on a further 28 machines to generate 525 MW. The farm will initially use three Pelamis P-750 machines generating 2. Brazil. Australian company Solar Systems will demonstrate its unique design incorporating space technology in a 154MW solar power station connected to the national grid.8 billion program. and motor vehicle manufacturers already produce vehicles designed to run on much higher ethanol blends. Subject to successful operation.( sec 1. The Energy Policy Act of 2005. combined with federal tax incentives. can run on blends of up to 10% ethanol.154 Solar Energy and its Uses Supremacy Over other Energy Sources 155 The project will provide enough energy for 8. GEOTHERMAL ENERGY PROSPECTS The Geysers.5 million. The challenge is to expand the market for biofuels beyond the farm states where they have been most popular to date. DaimlerChrysler. solar-produced electricity by 2017 . there were approximately six million E85-compatible vehicles on U. Building-integrated photovoltaics or "onsite" PV systems have the advantage of being matched to end use energy needs in terms of scale. This is a comprehensive $2. at a cost of over 4 million pounds. the Aguçadora Wave Park. As a partial result. as part of a £13 million funding packages for ocean power in Scotland. which years ago had to import a large share of the petroleum needed for domestic consumption.25 MW. It is the largest geothermal development in the world outputting over 750 MW. California.000 megawatts of new. There are many financial incentives to support the use of renewable energy in other US states. A $420 million large-scale Solar power station in Victoria is to be the biggest and most efficient solar photovoltaic power station in the world. and GM are among the automobile companies that sell "flexible-fuel" cars. when it comes to renewable energy systems and PV. THE CALIFORNIA SOLAR INITIATIVE As part of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Million Solar Roofs Program. Initial costs are put at 8.S. and ethanol now provides 18 percent of the country's automotive fuel. So the energy is supplied close to where it is needed. the non-electric use of geothermal energy is estimated at more than 100 GWt (gigawatts of thermal power) and is used commercially in over 70 countries. By the end of 2005 worldwide use of geothermal energy for electricity had reached 9. By mid-2006. Most cars on the road today in the U. with an additional 28 GW used directly for heating. is a geothermal power field located 72 miles (116 km) north of San Francisco. Funding for a wave farm in Scotland was announced in February.moving the state toward a cleaner energy future and helping lower the cost of solar systems for consumers.000 homes with zero greenhouse gas emissions. will also help to expand the market. trucks. recently reached complete self-sufficiency in oil. OF WAVE FARMS EXPANSION Portugal now has the world's first commercial wave farm. The Victorian power station will generate clean electricity directly from the sun to meet the annual needs of over 45. roads. involving production of ethanol fuel from sugar cane. which calls for 7.000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year.5 billion gallons of biofuels to be used annually by 2012.50 a watt. Flex-fuel vehicles are assisting in this transition because they allow drivers to choose different fuels based on price and availability. California has set a goal to create 3. and minivans that can use gasoline and ethanol blends ranging from pure gasoline up to 85% ethanol (E85).3 GWs.2) During .S. If heat recovered by ground source heat pumps is included. The California Solar Initiative offers cash incentives on solar PV systems of up to $2. established in 2006. The farm will be the world's largest with a capacity of 3MW generated by four Pelamis machines. Ford. USE ETHANOL FOR TRANSPORTATION Brazil has one of the largest renewable energy programs in the world. However. it is not just large systems that matter. These incentives.

are sold in Kenya annually. More than 30. Renewable energy can also contribute to education. Kenya is the world leader in the number of solar power systems installed per capita (but not the number of watts added). Source: World Energy Assessment 2001 There are many different ways to assess potentials. transmission and distribution of energy generated from fossil fuels can be difficult and expensive.900 Wind energy 0. Available renewable energy. More Kenyans adopt solar power every year than make connections to the country's electric grid. space heating. which can then provide power to run a fluorescent lamp or a small television for a few hours a day. the global primary energy use was 402 EJ per year in 2001. although only a small portion is recoverable. while there were also plants under construction in 11 other countries.000 Solar energy 0. For an investment of as little as $100 for the panel and wiring. the amount of incoming radiation at the earth's surface. POTENTIAL FUTURE UTILIZATION Present renewable energy sources supply about 18% of current energy use and there is much potential that could be exploited in the future. Current use (2001) Technical potential Theoretical potential Hydropower 9 50 147 Biomass energy 50 >276 2. Producing renewable energy locally can offer a viable alternative.000 Current use is in primary energy equivalent. wind and solar energy in TW. In rural and remote areas. Renewable energy projects in many developing countries have demonstrated that renewable energy can directly contribute to poverty alleviation by providing the energy needed for creating businesses and employment.6 -- -- ] Ocean energy not estimated not estimated 7. the technical potential of renewable energy sources is more than 18 times current global primary energy use and furthermore several times higher than projected energy use in 2100. The volume of the cubes represent the amount of available geothermal. each producing 12 to 30 watts.575 3.900.12 640 6.5 GW of capacity in the United States.000 Geothermal energy 0. The theoretical potential indicates the amount of energy theoretically available for energy purposes. For comparison. The Renewable Energy Resource Base (Exajoules per year) DEVELOPING COUNTRY MARKETS Renewable energy can be particularly suitable for developing countries.000 very small solar panels. such as. by providing electricity to schools. and lighting.400 Total 60 >1.1 >1.156 Solar Energy and its Uses Supremacy Over other Energy Sources 157 2005 contracts were placed for an additional 0. Renewable energy technologies can also make indirect contributions to alleviating poverty by providing energy for cooking. The small red cube shows the proportional global energy consumption. As the table below illustrates. in the case of solar energy. the PV system can be used to charge a car battery.000. The technical potential is a more practical estimate of how much could be put to human use by considering conversion efficiencies of the .800 >4.

Government grants fund for research in renewable technology to make the production cheaper and generation more efficient. Europe. wind and solar energy in government tax subsidies. equivalent to 1.158 Solar Energy and its Uses Supremacy Over other Energy Sources 159 available technology and available land area. or be incapable of generating a large net amount of energy. renewable industry often needs government sponsorship to help generate enough momentum in the market. although only a small portion is recoverable. also known as soft energy technologies.000 people finance solar power systems in India. Many countries and states have implemented incentives . and channel the revenue earned towards renewable energy development. and manufacturing could be transferred to developing countries in order to use low labor costs. The small red cube shows the proportional global energy consumption. buffer initial deployment costs and entice consumers to consider and purchase renewable technology. TRENDS FAVORING RENEWABLES The renewable market will boom when cost efficiency attains parity with other competing energy sources. Sustainable development and global warming groups propose a 100% Renewable Energy Source Supply. take up large amounts of land. The technical potentials generally do not include economic or other environmental constraints. Many think-tanks are warning that the world needs an urgency driven concerted effort to create a competitive renewable energy infrastructure and market. partial copayment schemes and various rebates over purchase of renewables . inflation are helping to promote renewables. The developed world can make more research investments to find better cost efficient technologies. the estimate for solar energy assumes that 1% of the world's unused land surface is used for solar power. Morocco. be dangerous.600 times the world's annual energy use. There is no shortage of solar-derived energy on Earth. renewables is gaining credence among private investors as having the potential to grow into the next big industry. • The energy in the winds that blow across the United States each year could produce more than 16 billion GJ of . Indonesia and Mexico. The renewable energy market could increase fast enough to replace and initiate the decline of fossil fuel dominance and the world could then avert the looming climate and peak oil crises. without fossil fuels and nuclear power. • The amount of solar energy intercepted by the Earth every minute is greater than the amount of energy the world uses in fossil fuels each year. Many companies and venture capitalists are investing in photovoltaic development and manufacturing. The volume of the cubes represent the amount of available geothermal. A famous example is the solar loan program sponsored by UNEP helping 100. Proponents advocate the use of "appropriate renewables". Scientists from the University of Kassel have been busy proving that Germany can power itself entirely by renewable energy. Also oil peak and world petroleum crisis and CONSTRAINTS AND OPPORTUNITIES Critics suggest that some renewable energy applications may create pollution. Japan. Development of loan programs that stimulate renewable favoring market forces with attractive return encourage consumers to shift to renewable energy sources. California. This trend is particularly visible in Silicon valley. Indeed the storages and flows of energy on the planet are very large relative to human needs. and the potentials that could be realized at an economically competitive level under current conditions and in a short time-frame is lower still. Success in India's solar program has led to similar projects in other parts of developing world like Tunisia. AVAILABILITY AND RELIABILITY Available renewable energy. The following trends are a few examples by which the renewables market is being helped to attain critical mass so that it becomes competitive enough vs fossil fuels: Other than market forces. Imposition of fossil fuel consumption and carbon taxes. • Tropical oceans absorb 560 trillion gigajoules (GJ) of solar energy each year. as these have many advantages. Most importantly. To give an idea of the constraints.

S. batteries. however.S. The challenge of variable power supply may be readily alleviated by energy storage. such as vast strip-mined areas and slag mountains for coal. agricultural practices. crops grown for biofuels are the most land. the industry will have to accelerate the development of new feedstocks. AESTHETICS Both solar and wind generating stations have been criticized from an aesthetic point of view. and construction equipment used to create them may generate waste and pollution. parking lot. safety zones around nuclear plants. A wave energy scheme installed in Australia generates electricity with an 80% availability factor. hydrogen fuel cells. is the large amount of land required to harvest energy. However. equivalent to nearly 60% of the nation's annual fossil fuel use. And when shut in response to grid failure. This is simply not the case for wind farms. Of all U. Already. nuclear plants built. Advocates of renewable energy also argue that current infrastructure is less aethetically pleasing than alternatives. they can't quickly restart. Supremacy Over other Energy Sources 161 A criticism of some renewable sources is their variable nature. In 2005. methods and opportunities exist to deploy these renewable technologies . and hundreds of square miles being strip-mined for oil sands. Some renewable energy systems actually create environmental problems. But renewable power sources can actually be integrated into the grid system quite well.160 Solar Energy and its Uses electricity-more than one and one-half times the electricity consumed in the United States in 2000. the efficiency of biofuels production has increased significantly and there are new methods to boost biofuel production. particularly sugar cane. three German states were more than 30 percent wind-powered in 2007-and more than 100 percent in some months. Successful reactors must close for refueling every 17 months for 39 days. older wind turbines can be hazardous to flying birds.. However. although the costs can be recovered over the life of the system. ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL CONSIDERATIONS While most renewable energy sources do not produce pollution directly. the materials. as Amory Lovins explains: Variable but forecastable renewables (wind and solar cells) are very reliable when integrated with each other. For biofuels to make a much larger contribution to the energy economy.and water-intensive of the renewable energy sources. do not account for the extremely high biodiversity and endemism of land used for ethanol crops. industrial processes. for example. and roof-top area is currently available. and thermal mass. particularly with biomass and biofuels. Available storage options include pumped-storage hydro systems. amorphous photovoltaic cells can also be used to tint windows and produce energy. efficiently and unobtrusively: fixed solar collectors can double as noise barriers along highways. but sited further from the view of most critics. For instance. LAND AREA REQUIRED Another environmental issue. 21 percent were abandoned and 27 percent have failed at least once. and technologies that are more land and water efficient. Wave energy and some other renewables are continuously available. existing supplies and demand. Lovins goes on to say that the unreliability of renewable energy is a myth. gasoline consumption.S. it should be pointed out that these fuels may reduce the need for harvesting non-renewable energy sources. These responses. while the unreliability of nuclear energy is real. which otherwise could be used for other purposes or left as undeveloped land. • Annual photosynthesis by the vegetation in the United States is 50 billion GJ. and extensive roadway. Mostly renewable power generally needs less backup than utilities already bought to combat big coal and nuclear plants' intermittence. For example.000 km²) of farmland) was used to produce four billion gallons of ethanol-which equates to about 2% of annual U. Initial investments in such energy storage systems may be high. In the U. about 12% of the nation's corn crop (covering 11 million acres (45.

hydroelectric power can be far less expensive than electricity generated from fossil fuels or nuclear energy. lowering the amount of time they are available to generate electricity. apart from rooftop solar energy. there are several major disadvantages of hydroelectric systems. However. or changing weather patterns could potentially alter or even halt the function of hydroelectric dams. • Modern wind turbines are almost silent and rotate so slowly (in terms of revolutions per minute) that they are rarely a hazard to birds. renewable energy infrastructure. However older smaller wind turbines may be hazardous to flying birds. Overall. yet its operational lifetime is 20-25 years. Some interpret this as meaning a specific geothermal location can undergo depletion. habitat loss from acid rain and mountaintop removal coal mining. There are no emissions or pollution produced by its operation. Studies of birds and offshore wind farms in Europe have found that there are very few bird collisions. Some studies contend that ethanol is "energy negative". Improvements in wind turbine design. Other advantages include longer life than fuelfired generation. since there is only so much energy that can be stored and replenished in a given volume of earth. has one of the lowest environmental impacts of all energy sources: • It occupies less land area per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity generated than any other energy conversion system. adverse impacts on the river environment. Although geothermal sites are capable of providing heat for many decades. • It generates the energy used in its construction in just 3 months of operation. when installed on agricultural land. disruption of aquatic ecosystems and birdlife. low operating costs. wind power produces a net decrease in greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. including a much slower rate of rotation of the blades and a smooth tower base instead of perchable lattice towers. Several offshore wind sites in Europe have been in areas heavily used by seabirds. Operation of pumped-storage plants improves the daily load factor of the generation system. and mercury poisoning. dried. and the provision of facilities for water sports. However. It is likely that in these locations. and in rare cases catastrophic failure of the dam wall. • In substituting for base-load coal power. and must be removed and replaced at some point. fermented and burned. collected.162 Solar Energy and its Uses Supremacy Over other Energy Sources 163 HYDROELECTRIC DAMS The major advantage of hydroelectric systems is the elimination of the cost of fuel. examples include birds dying from exposure to oil spills. including a 2006 article in the journal Science offer the opinion . • Greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution produced by its construction are tiny and declining. a large number of recent studies. LONGEVITY ISSUES Though a source of renewable energy may last for billions of years. and a net increase in biodiversity. release of significant amounts of carbon dioxide at construction and flooding of the reservoir. the system was designed too large for the site. have helped reduce bird mortality at wind farms around the world. BIOFUELS PRODUCTION All biomass needs to go through some of these steps: it needs to be grown. potential risks of sabotage and terrorism. and is compatible with grazing and crops. WIND FARMS A wind farm. Events like the shifting of riverbeds. and areas with abundant hydroelectric power attract industry. eventually specific locations may cool down. meaning that it takes more energy to produce than is contained in the final product. like hydroelectric dams. Hydroelectric power is now more difficult to site in developed nations because most major sites within these nations are either already being exploited or may be unavailable for other reasons such as environmental considerations. All of these steps require resources and an infrastructure. These include: dislocation of people living where the reservoirs are planned. will not last forever. Birds are severely impacted by fossil fuel energy.

to 'active management'. new biofuels technologies being developed today. Over the next few decades uses of renewable energy could help to diversify the nation's bulk power supply. However. For all of the other renewables. saving on the cost of transmitting and distributing power and improving the overall efficiency and reliability of the system.S. electric power industry now relies on large. natural gas.where generators are hooked up and the system is operated to get electricity 'downstream' to the consumer . the ethanol industry created almost 154.5 billion in tax revenues at the local. and federal levels. and conversion to ethanol is somewhat more energy efficient than corn. mostly in rural communities. wheat straw and rice straw). state. improve energy security. central power stations. The ethanol and biodiesel production industries also create jobs in plant construction. such as switchgrass. including coal. That is. improved energy efficiency could make increased reliance on renewable energy sources more practical and affordable. TRANSMISSION If renewable and distributed generation were to become widespread.164 Solar Energy and its Uses Supremacy Over other Energy Sources 165 that fuels like ethanol are energy positive. both biomass and geothermal energy require wise management if they are to be used in a sustainable manner. operations. Improving energy efficiency represents the most immediate and often the most cost-effective way to reduce oil dependence. OTHER ISSUES SUSTAINABILITY Renewable energy sources are generally sustainable in the sense that they cannot "run out" as well as in the sense that their environmental and social impacts are generally more benign than those of fossil.000 U. electric power transmission and electricity distribution systems might no longer be the main distributors of electrical energy but would operate to balance the electricity needs of local communities. Those with surplus energy would sell to areas needing "top ups". ethanol is not the only product created during production. and makes good animal feed. Additionally. fossil fuels also require significant energy inputs which have seldom been accounted for in the past. Cellulosic ethanol can be made from plant matter composed primarily of inedible cellulose fibers that form the stems and branches of most plants. centralstation power plants. Corn is typically 66% starch and the remaining 33% is not fermented. Already. and maintenance. Dedicated energy crops. and the energy content of the by-products must also be considered. By reducing the total energy requirements of the economy. According to the International Energy Agency. Furthermore.S. appropriate renewable resources (which excludes large . jobs in 2005 alone. new technologies offer a range of options for generating electricity nearer to where it is needed. and hydropower plants that together generate more than 95% of the nation's electricity. which is high in fats and proteins. hydropower) produce 12% of northern California's electricity. boosting household income by $5. and reduce the health and environmental impact of the energy system. wood waste. This unfermented component is called distillers grain. wherein generators are spread across a network and inputs and outputs need to be constantly monitored to ensure proper balancing occurs within the system. Although most of today's electricity comes from large. It also contributed about $3. In Brazil. are also promising cellulose sources that can be sustainably produced in many regions of the United States. nuclear. Crop residues (such as corn stalks. Some governments and regulators are moving to DIVERSIFICATION The U. notably cellulosic ethanol. could allow biofuels to play a much bigger role in the future than previously thought.7 billion. Recent developments with cellulosic ethanol production may improve yields even further. According to the Renewable Fuels Association. and municipal solid waste are potential sources of cellulosic biomass. the yield is higher. network operation would require a shift from 'passive management' . almost any realistic rate of use would be unlikely to approach their rate of replenishment by nature. where sugar cane is used.

High temperature collectors concentrate sunlight using mirrors or lenses and are generally used for electric power production. He claims that fast breeder reactors. Low temperature collectors are flat plates generally used to heat swimming pools. physicist Bernard Cohen proposed that uranium is effectively inexhaustible. or high temperature collectors. Medium-temperature collectors are also usually flat plates but are used for creating hot water for residential and commercial use. Charlie Crist. By contrast. but had a heat requirement of 907 TWh. Much current discussion on renewable energy focuses on the generation of electrical energy. One potential solution is the increased use of active management of electricity transmission and distribution networks. Solutions such as geothermal heat pumps may be more widely applicable.166 Solar Energy and its Uses Supremacy Over other Energy Sources 167 address this. By matching electricity supply to end-use needs. have shown that an average household with an appropriately-sized solar panel array and energy storage system needs electricity from outside sources for only a few hours per week. advocates of renewable energy and the soft energy path believe electricity systems will become smaller and easier to manage. In 2005 the United Kingdom consumed 354 TWh of electric power. it is has not been established that nuclear energy is inexhaustible. the market for renewable heat is mostly inaccessible to domestic consumers due to inconvenience of supply. which provides support for renewable energy. Also see renewable energy development. despite the fact that many colder countries consume more energy for heating than as electricity. No legislative body has yet included nuclear energy under any legal definition of "renewable energy sources" for provision of development support (see: Renewable energy development). and David Sainsbury. Bush. This will require significant changes in the way that such networks are operated. CONTROVERSY OVER NUCLEAR RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCE POWER AS A renewable source of energy. within reach of the average consumer. rather than the opposite. Similarly. though much remains to be done. while rarely economically efficient. and high capital costs. and could therefore be considered a SOLAR THERMAL ENERGY Solar thermal energy (or STE) is a technology for harnessing solar energy for heat. medium. Commonly sourced definitions of renewable energy sources often omit or explicitly exclude nuclear energy sources as examples. as indicated by the U. Solar thermal collectors are characterized by the US Energy Information Agency as low. on a smaller scale. Inclusion under the "renewable energy" classification could render nuclear power projects eligible for development aid under various jurisdictions. mainly in the form of gas. In 1983. statutory and scientific definitions of renewable energies usually exclude nuclear energy. but may not be economical in all cases. use of renewable energy produced on site reduces burdens on electricity distribution systems. Nuclear fission is generally not regarded as renewable. Heating accounts for a large proportion of energy consumption. However. fueled by naturally-replenished uranium extracted from seawater. However. Renewable electric power is becoming cheap and convenient enough to place it. in many cases. This is different . Nuclear power production was also subsidised by this obligation from 1990 until 2002. could supply energy at least as long as the sun's expected remaining lifespan of five billion years. such that nuclear energy is neither efficient nor effective in cutting CO2 emissions. the majority of which (81%) was met using gas.S. and issues such as Peak uranium and Uranium depletion are ongoing debates. Nuclear energy has also been referred to as "renewable" by politicians like George W. Almost half of the final energy consumed in the UK (49%) was in the form of heat. Current systems. however a universally accessible market for renewable heat is yet to emerge. The residential sector alone consumed a massive 550 TWh of energy for heating. including the dangerous environmental hazards of nuclear waste and concerns that development of new plants cannot happen quickly enough to reduce CO2 emissions. In England and Wales there is a NonFossil Fuel Obligation. MARKET DEVELOPMENT OF RENEWABLE HEAT ENERGY Renewable heat is the generation of heat from renewable sources. DOE on the website "What is Energy?" There are also environmental concerns over nuclear power.

This system can control heat exchange between interior and exterior environments by covering and uncovering the bladder between night and day. When properly incorporated. When heating is a concern the bladder is uncovered during the day allowing sunlight to warm the water bladder and store heat for evening use. COOLING. The proportion and placement of thermal mass should consider several factors such as climate. 16. evaporation ponds represent one of the largest commercial applications of solar energy in use today. sunlight stores heat in the thermal mass and warms the air channel causing circulation through vents at the top and bottom of the wall. Common thermal mass materials include stone. Active solar cooling can be achieved via absorption refrigeration cycles.1 EJ) of the energy used in residential buildings. The use of evaporation ponds to obtain salt from sea water is one of the oldest applications of solar energy. and shading conditions. During the ventilation cycle.168 Solar Energy and its Uses Supremacy Over other Energy Sources 169 from solar photovoltaics. AND VENTILATION In the United States. California uses a prototype roof pond for heating and cooling. Modern uses include concentrating brine solutions used in leach mining and removing dissolved solids from waste streams. although they can also be used for space heating.75 EJ) of the energy used in commercial buildings and nearly half (10. PROCESS HEAT Evaporation ponds are shallow ponds that concentrate dissolved solids through evaporation. These systems have been in use since Roman times and remain common in the Middle East. Altogether.000.000 m² had been installed worldwide. and ventilation technologies can be used to offset a portion of this energy. Solar heating. which convert solar energy directly into electricity. As the chimney warms. Lowtemperature collectors are generally installed to heat swimming pools. A solar chimney (or thermal chimney) is a passive solar ventilation system composed of a hollow thermal mass connecting the interior and exterior of a building. The leaves of deciduous trees provide natural shade during the summer while the bare limbs allow light and warmth into a building during the winter. Collectors can use air or water as the medium to transfer the heat to its destination. daylighting.000 square feet (1. The water content of trees will also help moderate local temperatures. cement. Representatives include an 860 m² collector in Costa Rica used for . When cooling is a concern the covered bladder draws heat from the building's interior during the day and is uncovered at night to radiate heat to the cooler atmosphere. the air inside is heated causing an updraft that pulls air through the building. heating. Auguste Mouchout pioneered solar cooling by making ice using a solar steam engine attached to a refrigeration device.000 square feet (2. and solar mechanical processes. A Trombe wall is a passive solar heating and ventilation system consisting of an air channel sandwiched between a window and a sun-facing thermal mass. HEATING. smart windows and shading methods can also be used to provide cooling.000. A basic system consists of a roof mounted water bladder with a movable insulating cover. and water. During the heating cycle the Trombe wall radiates stored heat. thermal mass can passively maintain comfortable temperatures while reducing energy consumption. desiccant cycles. The short payback period of transpired collectors (3 to 12 years) make them a more cost-effective alternative to glazed collection systems. As of 2003. The Skytherm house in Atascadero. UTCs can raise the incoming air temperature up to 22°C and deliver outlet temperatures of 45-60°C. cooling.000. ventilation.000 m²) were of the low-temperature variety. Thermal mass materials store solar energy during the day and release this energy during cooler periods. LOW-TEMPERATURE COLLECTORS Of the 21. Solar roof ponds are a unique solar heating and cooling technology developed by Harold Hay in the 1960s. Unglazed transpired collectors (UTC) are perforated sun-facing walls used for preheating ventilation air. over 80 systems with a combined collector area of 35. and air conditioning (HVAC) systems account for over 25 percent (4. In 1878.000 m²) of solar thermal collectors produced in the United States in 2006.500. Thermal mass.

also known as SODIS. In the United States. India uses a unique concentrating technology known as the solar bowl. COOKING Solar cookers use sunlight for cooking.000 m² collector area is expected to provide 4. DISINFECTION AND DESALINATION Solar water disinfection. the payback time for a typical household is nine years. the water vapor condenses on top and drips down to the side. With this incentive. India used for drying marigolds. Many other solar kitchen in India use another unique concentrating technology known as the Scheffler reflector.170 Solar Energy and its Uses Supremacy Over other Energy Sources 171 drying coffee beans and a 1300 m² collector in Coimbatore.000 meals a day. A Scheffler reflector is a parabolic dish that uses single axis tracking to follow the Sun's daily course. Built in 1999. SODIS has over two million users in developing countries such as Brazil. Scheffler reflectors have the advantage of having a fixed focal point which improves the ease of cooking and are able to reach temperatures of 450-650°C. In cone solar stills. drying and pasteurization. The typical installation has negligible maintenance costs and reduces a households' operating costs by $6 per person per month. A food processing facility in Modesto. These designs cook faster and at higher temperatures (up to 350°C) but require direct light to function properly. impure water is inserted into the container. MEDIUM-TEMPERATURE COLLECTORS These collectors could be used to produce approximately 50% of the hot water needed for residential and commercial use in the United States. A crew of one plumber and two assistants with minimal training can install two systems per week. conventional tracking reflector/fixed receiver systems. A basic box cooker consists of an insulated container with a transparent lid. is a simple method of disinfecting water using only sunlight and plastic PET bottles. The box shaped types are most sophisticated of these and the pit types the least sophisticated. This technology was first developed by Wolfgang Scheffler in 1986. the solar bowl uses a fixed spherical reflector with a receiver which tracks the focus of light as the Sun moves across the sky. Solar water heating can reduce CO2 emissions by 1 ton/year (if replacing natural gas for hot water heating) or 3 ton/year (if replacing electric hot water heating). Free of solids in suspension or solution. Cameroon and Uzbekistan. and pit. Rajasthan India is capable of cooking up to 35. usually applied at the household level and is recommended by the World Health Organization as a viable method for household water treatment and safe storage. The 5. drain back. These cookers can be used effectively with partially overcast skies and will typically reach temperatures of 50-100°C. the world's largest Scheffler reflector system in Abu Road. Concentrating solar cookers use reflectors to concentrate light on a cooking container. The main types are cone shaped. Medium-temperature installations can use any of several designs: common designs are pressurized glycol. SODIS is a cheap and effective method for decentralized water treatment. and improves air quality by reducing or removing a source of smoke. These reflectors have a flexible reflective surface that is able to change its curvature to adjust to seasonal variations in the incident angle of sunlight. and batch systems. over 2000 large cookers of the Scheffler design had been built worldwide. The most common reflector geometries are flat plate. By early 2008.000 daily meals. A solar still uses solar energy to distill water. disc and parabolic trough type. especially in sunny regions such as the Middle East and North Africa. where it is collected and removed. is the subject of a definitive 2007 report by the German research institute DLR. boxlike. The simplest type of solar cooker is the box cooker first built by Horace de Saussure in 1767. California uses parabolic troughs to produce steam used in the manufacturing process. Contrary to . The Solar Kitchen in Auroville. where it is evaporated by sunlight coming through clear plastic. a typical system costs $5000$6000 and 50% of the system qualifies for a tax cr. Solar cooking offsets fuel costs. reduces demand for fuel or firewood.3 GJ per year. The solar bowl's receiver reaches temperature of 150°C that are used to produce steam that helps cook 2. The application of solar thermal power for desalination at large scale.

With reliability. as for space heating. Since the CSP plant generates heat first of all. An important way to decrease cost is the use of a simple design. solar radiation is concentrated by mirrors or lenses to obtain higher temperatures . above the reflectors.a technique called Concentrated Solar Power (CSP). Therefore it seems unavoidable that there needs to be a tracking system that follows the position of the sun (for solar photovoltaics a solar tracker is only optional). One proposal for very high temperatures is to use liquid fluoride salts operating above 1100°C. standard technology. have an efficiency up to 41%. Spain uses the Parabolic Trough design which consists of long parallel rows of modular solar collectors. If the mirrors or lenses do not move. which decreases the cost of the back-up system. High temperatures also make heat storage more efficient. gas turbines can be more efficient. Used substances are synthetic oil. Above this. steam turbines.172 Solar Energy and its Uses Supremacy Over other Energy Sources 173 HIGH-TEMPERATURE COLLECTORS Where temperatures below about 95°C are sufficient. flat-plate collectors of the nonconcentrating type are generally used. With current technology. different designs can be distinguished in how they concentrate the light and track the position of the sun. The receiver can be in a vacuum chamber of glass. because more watt-hours are stored per kilo of fluid. Up to 600°C. PARABOLIC TROUGH DESIGNS Parabolic trough power plants use a curved trough which reflects the direct solar radiation onto a receiver (also called absorber or collector) running along the trough. However. For change of position of the sun orthogonal to the receiver. Although only a small percentage of the desert is necessary to meet global electricity demand. The practical effect of high efficiencies is to reduce the plant's collector size and total land use per unit power generated.critical in the deserts where large solar plants are practical. the whole trough tilts so that direct radiation remains focused on the receiver. Higher temperatures are problematic because different materials and techniques are needed. storage of heat is much cheaper and more efficient than storage of electricity. then the CSP plant becomes a reliable power plant. The tracking system increases the cost. does not require adjustment of the mirrors. The substance with the heat is transported to a heat engine where about a third of the heat is converted to electricity. the trough design avoids a second axis for tracking. To achieve this in solar thermal energy plants. different forms of conversion become practical. The efficiency of heat engines increases with the temperature of the heat source. reducing the environmental impacts of a power plant as well as its expense. then the focus of the mirrors or lenses changes. Reliability can further be improved by installing a back-up system that uses fossil energy. since the light is just concentrated on another part of the receiver. As the temperature increases. reducing the plant's water use . This temperature is too low for efficient conversion to electricity. In this way. using multi-stage turbine systems to achieve 60% thermal efficiencies. but the vacuum will significantly reduce convective loss of the collected heat. no pollution and no fuel costs. molten salt and pressurized steam. a change of position of the sun parallel to the trough. it can store the heat before conversion to electricity. A substance (also called heat transfer fluid) passes through the receiver and becomes hot. SYSTEM DESIGNS During the day the sun has different positions. If the CSP site has predictable solar radiation. the high precision reflector panels concentrate the solar radiation . Tracking the sun from East to West by rotation on one axis. The back-up system can reuse most of the CSP plant. unused desert. The fluid-filled pipes can reach temperatures of 150 to 220 degrees Celsius when the fluid is not circulating. the only obstacle for large deployment for CSP is cost. Andasol 1 in Gaudix. The higher operating temperatures permit the plant to use higher-temperature dry heat exchangers for its thermal exhaust. still a large area must be covered with mirrors or lenses to obtain a significant amount of energy. the CSP plant can produce electricity day and night. So. The light will shine through the glass and vacuum. With this in mind. The trough is parabolic in one direction and just straight in the other direction.

It is currently the largest operational solar system (both thermal and non-thermal). BrightSource Energy dedicated its Solar Energy Development Center (SEDC) in Israel's Negev Desert.174 Solar Energy and its Uses Supremacy Over other Energy Sources 175 coming directly from the sun onto an absorber pipe located along the focal line of the collector. The concentrated energy is then used to heat a boiler atop the tower to 550 degrees Celsius. A 10MW power plant in Cloncurry. The advantage of this design above the parabolic trough design is the higher temperature. In principle a power tower can be built on a hillside. Furthermore. 59MW hybrid plant with heat storage is proposed near Barstow. the largest solar power commitment ever made by a utility. a 100MW solar power plant is planned with 4000 to 5000 heliostat mirrors. In South Africa. It focuses all the sunlight that strikes the dish up onto to a single point above the dish. The Solar Energy Generating System (SEGS) is a collection of nine plants with a total capacity of 350MW. reflective. 25MW steam input for a gas power plant in Hassi R'mel. Mirrors can be flat and plumbing is concentrated DISH DESIGNS A dish system uses a large. A newer plant is Nevada Solar One plant with a capacity of 64MW. With day and night operation Andasol 1 produces more energy than Nevada Solar One. features more than 1. Note however. There is some hope that the development of cheap. A cost/performance comparison between power tower and parabolic trough concentrators was made by the NREL which estimated that by 2020 electricity could be produced from power towers for 5. some 40MW steam is used as input for a gas powered plant. The disadvantage is that each mirror must have its own dual-axis control. parabolic dish (similar in shape to satellite television dish). while in the parabolic trough design one axis can be shared for a large array of mirrors.9% and 56. Algeria. Thermal energy at higher temperatures can be converted to electricity more efficiently and can be more cheaply stored for later use. Under construction are Andasol 1 and Andasol 2 in Spain with each site having a capacity of 50MW. where electricity can be produced. Full-scale parabolic trough systems consist of many such troughs laid out in parallel over a large area of land. It is called the SEGS system. The 15MW Solar Tres plant with heat storage is under construction in Spain. located in the Rotem Industrial Park. a synthetic oil like in car engines. with construction of the first plant planned to start in 2009.600 heliostats that track the sun and reflect light onto a 60 meter-high tower. Finally. durable. each having an area of 140 m². Near Kuraymat in Egypt.47 ?/kWh and for 6.21 ?/kWh from parabolic troughs. but also sometimes a steam engine is used. Other CSP designs lack this kind of long experience and therefore it can currently be said that the parabolic trough design is the only proven CSP technology. Since 1985 a solar thermal system using this principle has been in full operation in California in the United States. These . BrightSource is currently developing a number of solar power plants in Southern California. Furthermore. In June 2008. moveable mirrors (called heliostats) to focus the sun's rays upon a collector tower (the receiver). BrightSource Energy entered into a series of power purchase agreements with Pacific Gas and Electric Company in March 2008 for up to 900MW of electricity. Typically the dish is coupled with a Stirling engine in a DishStirling System. The site. that those plants have heat storage which requires a smaller (but better utilized) generator. California. 553MW new capacity is proposed in Mojava Solar Park. POWER TOWER DESIGNS Power towers (also known as 'central tower' power plants or 'heliostat' power plants) use an array of flat. where a receiver captures the heat and transforms it into a useful form. is circulated through the absorber pipes at temperatures up to 400°C and generates live steam to drive the steam turbine generator of a conventional power block. California. Australia (with purified graphite as heat storage located on the tower directly by the receiver). A heat transfer medium. in the tower. there is less need to flatten the ground area. generating steam that is piped into a turbine.2% for parabolic troughs. The capacity factor for power towers was estimated to be 72. mass produceable heliostat power plant components could bring this cost down.


Solar Energy and its Uses

Supremacy Over other Energy Sources


create rotational kinetic energy that can be converted to electricity using an electric generator . The advantage of a dish system is that it can achieve much higher temperatures due to the higher concentration of light (as in tower designs). Higher temperatures leads to better conversion to electricity and the dish system is very efficient on this point. However, there are also some disadvantages. Heat to electricity conversion requires moving parts and that results in maintenance. In general, a centralized approach for this conversion is better than the dencentralized concept in the dish design. Second, the (heavy) engine is part of the moving structure, which requires a rigid frame and strong tracking system. Furthermore, parabolic mirrors are used instead of flat mirrors and tracking must be dualaxis. In 2005 Southern California Edison announced an agreement to purchase solar powered Stirling engines from Stirling Energy Systems over a twenty year period and in quantities (20,000 units) sufficient to generate 500 megawatts of electricity. Stirling Energy Systems announced another agreement with San Diego Gas & Electric to provide between 300 and 900 megawatts of electricity. However, as of October 2007 it was unclear whether any progress had been made toward the construction of the 1 MW test plant, which was supposed to come online some time in 2007.

at different receivers at different times of day), this can allow a denser packing of mirrors on available land area. Recent prototypes of these types of systems have been built in Australia (CLFR) and by Solarmundo in Belgium. The Solarmundo research and development project, with its pilot plant at Liège, was closed down after successful proof of concept of the Linear Fresnel technology. Subsequently, Solar Power Group GmbH (SPG), based in Munich, Germany, was founded by some Solarmundo team members. A Fresnel-based prototype with direct steam generation was built by SPG in conjunction with the German Aerospace Center (DLR). Based on the Australian prototype, a 177MW plant is proposed near San Luis Obispo in California and will be built by Ausra. Plants with smaller capacities being an enormous economical challenge for plants with conventional parabolic trough and drive design, only few companies intend to build such small projects. Plans were revealed for former Ausra subsidiary SHP Europe building a 6.5 MW project in Portugal as a combined cycle plant. The German company SK Energy) has published its intention to build various small 1-3 MW plants in Southern Europe, esp. in Spain on the basis of their own Fresnel mirror and steam drive technology (Press Release). In May 2008, the German Solar Power Group GmbH and the Spanish Laer S.L. agreed the joint execution of a solar thermal power plant in central Spain. This will be the first commercial solar thermal power plant in Spain based on the Fresnel collector technology of the Solar Power Group. The planned size of the power plant will be 10 MW a solar thermal collector field with a fossil co-firing unit as backup system. The start of constructions is planned for 2009. The project is located in Gotarrendura, a small renewable energy pioneering village, about 100 km northwest of Madrid, Spain.

FRESNEL REFLECTORS A linear Fresnel reflector power plant uses a series of long, narrow, shallow-curvature (or even flat) mirrors to focus light onto one or more linear receivers positioned above the mirrors. On top of the receiver a small parabolic mirror can be attached for further focusing the light. These systems aim to offer lower overall costs by sharing a receiver between several mirrors (as compared with trough and dish concepts), while still using the simple line-focus geometry with one axis for tracking. This is similar to the trough design (and different from central towers and dishes with dual-axis). The receiver is stationary and so fluid couplings are not required (as in troughs and dishes). The mirrors also do not need to support the receiver, so they are structurally simpler. When suitable aiming strategies are used (mirrors aimed

LINEAR FRESNEL REFLECTOR (LFR) AND COMPACT-LFR TECHNOLOGIES Rival single axis tracking technologies include the relatively new Linear Fresnel reflector (LFR) and compact-LFR (CLFR) technologies. The LFR differs from that of the parabolic trough in that the absorber is fixed in space above the mirror field. Also,


Solar Energy and its Uses

Supremacy Over other Energy Sources


the reflector is composed of many low row segments, which focus collectively on an elevated long tower receiver running parallel to the reflector rotational axis. This system offers a lower cost solution as the absorber row is shared among several rows of mirrors. However, one fundamental difficulty with the LFR technology is the avoidance of shading of incoming solar radiation and blocking of reflected solar radiation by adjacent reflectors. Blocking and shading can be reduced by using absorber towers elevated higher or by increasing the absorber size, which allows increased spacing between reflectors remote from the absorber. Both these solutions increase costs, as larger ground usage is required. The compact linear Fresnel reflector (CLFR) offers an alternate solution to the LFR problem.9 The classic LFR has only one linear absorber on a single linear tower. This prohibits any option of the direction of orientation of a given reflector. Since this technology would be introduced in a large field, one can assume that there will be many linear absorbers in the system. Therefore, if the linear absorbers are close enough, individual reflectors will have the option of directed reflected solar radiation to at least two absorbers. This additional factor gives potential for more densely packed arrays, since patters of alternative reflector inclination can be set up such that closely packed reflectors can be positioned without shading and blocking. CLFR power plants offer reduced costs in all elements of the solar array. These reduced costs encourage the advancement of this technology. Features that enhance the cost effectiveness of this system compared to that of the parabolic trough technology include minimized structural costs, minimized parasitic pumping losses, and low maintenance.7 Minimized structural costs are attributed to the use of flat or elastically curved glass reflectors instead of costly sagged glass reflectors are mounted close to the ground. Also, the heat transfer loop is separated from the reflector field, avoiding the cost of flexible high pressure lines required in trough systems. Minimized parasitic pumping losses are due to the use of water for the heat transfer fluid with passive direct boiling. The use of glass-evacuated tubes ensures low radiative losses and is inexpensive. Studies of existing CLFR plants have

been shown to deliver tracked beam to electricity efficiency of 19% on an annual basis as a preheater.

FRESNEL LENSES Prototypes of Fresnel lens concentrators have been produced for the collection of thermal energy by International Automated Systems. No full-scale thermal systems using Fresnel lenses are known to be in operation, although products incorporating Fresnel lenses in conjunction with photovoltaic cells are already available. The advantage of this design is that lenses are cheaper than mirrors. Furthermore, if a material is chosen that has some flexibility, then a less rigid frame is required to withstand wind load. MICROCSP "MicroCSP" references Solar Thermal Technologies in which Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) collectors are based on the designs used in traditional Concentrating Solar Power systems found in the Mojave Desert but are smaller in collector size, lighter and operate at lower thermal temperatures usually below 600 degrees F. These systems are designed for modular field or rooftop installation where they are easy to protect from high winds, snow and humid deployments . Solar manufacturer Sopogy is currently constructing a 1MW plant at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii HEAT EXCHANGE Heat in a solar thermal system is guided by five basic principles: heat gain; heat transfer; heat storage; heat transport; and heat insulation. Here, heat is the measure of the amount of thermal energy an object contains and is the product of temperature and mass. Heat gain is the heat accumulated from the sun in the system. Solar thermal heat is trapped using the greenhouse effect; the greenhouse effect in this case is the ability of a reflective surface to transmit short wave radiation and reflect long wave radiation. Heat and infrared radiation (IR) are produced when short wave radiation light hits the absorber plate, which is then trapped


Solar Energy and its Uses

Supremacy Over other Energy Sources


inside the collector. Fluid, usually water, in the absorber tubes collect the trapped heat and transfer it to a heat storage vault. Heat is transferred either by conduction or convection. When water is heated, kinetic energy is transferred by conduction to water molecules throughout the medium. These molecules spread their thermal energy by conduction and occupy more space than the cold slow moving molecules above them. The distribution of energy from the rising hot water to the sinking cold water contributes to the convection process. Heat is transferred from the absorber plates of the collector in the fluid by conduction. The collector fluid is circulated through the carrier pies to the heat transfer vault. Inside the vault, heat is transferred throughout the medium through convection. Heat storage enables solar thermal plants to produce electricity during hours without sunlight. Heat is transferred to a thermal storage medium in an insulated reservoir during hours with sunlight, and is withdrawn for power generation during hours lacking sunlight. Thermal storage mediums will be discussed in a heat storage section. Rate of heat transfer is related to the conductive and convection medium as well as the temperature differences. Bodies with large temperature differences transfer heat faster than bodies with lower temperature differences. Heat transport refers to the activity in which heat from a solar collector is transported to the heat storage vault. Heat insulation is vital in both heat transport tubing as well as the storage vault. It prevents heat loss, which in turn relates to energy loss, or decrease in the efficiency of the system.

concrete, a variety of phase change materials, and molten salts such as sodium and potassium nitrate. The PS10 solar power tower stores heat in tanks as pressurized steam at 50 bar and 285C. The steam condenses and flashes back to steam, when pressure is lowered. Storage is for one hour. It is suggested that longer storage is possible, but that has not been proven yet in an existing power plant. The proposed power plant in Cloncurry Australia will store heat in purified graphite. The plant has a power tower design. The graphite is located on top of the tower. Heat from the heliostats goes directly to the storage. Heat for energy production is drawn from the graphite. This simplifies the design. The Solar Tres power plant in Spain is expected to be the first commercial solar thermal power plant to utilize molten salt for heat storage and nighttime generation.

HEAT STORAGE Heat storage allows a solar thermal plant to produce electricity at night and on overcast days. This allows the use of solar power for baseload generation as well as peak power generation, with the potential of displacing both coal and natural gas fired power plants. Additionally, the utilization of the generator is higher which reduces cost. Heat is transferred to a thermal storage medium in an insulated reservoir during the day, and withdrawn for power generation at night. Thermal storage media include pressurized steam,

MOLTEN SALT STORAGE A variety of fluids have been tested to transport the sun's heat, including water, air, oil, and sodium, but molten salt was selected as best. Molten salt is used in solar power tower systems because it is liquid at atmosphere pressure, it provides an efficient, lowcost medium in which to store thermal energy, its operating temperatures are compatible with today's high-pressure and hightemperature steam turbines, and it is non-flammable and nontoxic. In addition, molten salt is used in the chemical and metals industries as a heat-transport fluid, so experience with molten-salt systems exists for non-solar. The molten salt is a mixture of 60 percent sodium nitrate and 40 percent potassium-nitrate, commonly called saltpeter. The salt melts at 430 F and is kept liquid at 550 F in an insulated cold storage tank. The uniqueness of this solar system is in de-coupling the collection of solar energy from producing power, electricity can be generated in periods of inclement weather or even at night using the stored thermal energy in the hot salt tank. Normally tanks are well insulated and can store energy for up to a week. As an example of their size, tanks that provide enough thermal storage to power a 100-megawatt turbine for four hours would be about 30 feet tall and 80 feet in diameter. Studies show that

efficiency does not directly relate to cost: on calculating total cost. meaning that a 50MW capacity power .182 Solar Energy and its Uses Supremacy Over other Energy Sources 183 the two-tank storage system could have an annual efficiency of about 99 percent. Example. Advantages of organic PCMs include no corrosives. low thermal conductivity. then the cost per kWh can be calculated. Solar parabolic trough plants have been built with efficiencies of about 20%. The 500-megawatt (MW) SCE/SES plant would extract about 2. both efficiency and the cost of construction and maintenance should be taken into account. Inorganics are advantageous with greater phasechange enthalpy. The high mass and volumetric heat capacity of graphite provide an efficient storage medium. Using a similar heat transfer infrastructure.75% of the radiation (1 kW/m². Disadvantages include low phase-change enthalpy. then it can also produce output after sunset. The first step in the calculation is to determine the investment for the production of 1 kWh in a year.6% Furthermore. see Solar power for a discussion) that falls on its 4. Since 179 GWh is 179 million kWh. the investment per kWh a year production is 310 / 179 = 1.2 km²). but that will not change the capacity factor. corrosion. CONVERSION RATES FROM SOLAR ENERGY TO ELECTRICAL ENERGY Of all of these technologies the solar dish/stirling engine has the highest energy efficiency. This number is not suitable for comparison. Graphite is used as it has relatively low costs and compatibility with liquid fluoride salts. It produces 30 million kWh a year for an investment of 31 million Australian dollars. A single solar dish-Stirling engine installed at Sandia National Laboratories National Solar Thermal Test Facility produces as much as 25 kW of electricity. The investment per kwh cost for one year should not be confused with the cost per kwh over the complete lifetime of such a plant. GRAPHITE HEAT STORAGE Molten salts coolants are used to transfer heat from the reflectors to heat storage vaults. LEVELIZED COST Since a solar power plant does not use any fuel. Fresnel reflectors have an efficiency that is slightly lower (but this is compensated by the denser packing). If a solar power plant has heat storage. If the lifetime of the plant and the interest rate is known. low or no undercooling. The heat from the salts are transferred to a secondary heat transfer fluid via a heat exchanger and then to the storage media. because the capacity factor can differ. PHASE-CHANGE MATERIALS FOR STORAGE Phase-change materials (PCMs) offer an alternate solution in energy storage. PCMs can be either organic or inorganic materials.73 euro.95 km²) gross conversion efficiency comes out at 2. The average capacity factor for a solar power plant. which is a function of tracking. which can partially be explained by the higher radiation in Cloncurry over Spain. but exhibit disadvantages with undercooling. the cost consists mostly of capital cost with minor operational and maintenance cost. it simply displaces the output. Another example is Cloncurry solar power station in Australia.03 Australian dollar for the production of 1 kWh in a year. phase separation. The gross conversion efficiencies (taking into account that the solar dishes or troughs occupy only a fraction of the total area of the power plant) are determined by net generating capacity over the solar energy that falls on the total area of the solar plant.300×1.500 acres (18. and inflammability. this price is 1. This is called the levelised energy cost. So. is about 20%. or alternatively. with a conversion efficiency of 30%. and chemical and thermal stability. PCMs have the potential of providing a more efficient means of storage. In most cases the capacity is specified for a power plant (for instance Andasol 1 has a capacity of 50MW). For the 50 MW AndaSol Power Plant that is being built in Spain (total area of 1. The greater phase-change enthalpy in inorganic PCMs make hydrates salts a strong candidate in the solar energy storage field. shading and location. This is significantly cheaper than Andasol 1.500 m = 1. and lack of thermal stability. the fact sheet of the Andasol 1 project shows a total investment of 310 million euros for a production of 179 GWh a year. the salts can be used to directly heat graphite.

If a way of financing is assumed where the money is borrowed and repaid every year. from South Africa. different way of debt repayment. Solar heating design is divided into two groups: • Active solar heating uses pumps which move air or a liquid from the solar collector into the building or storage area. different interest rate. the investment of Andasol 1 was 1. However. space or water heating. then he is compensated and he can add 2% (a normal inflation rate) to his return. A description of the history can be found on the site of the company Ausra. How Solar Heating Works A household solar heating system consists of a solar panel (or solar collector) with a heat transfer fluid flowing through it to transport the heat energy collected to somewhere useful. New commercial plans were made from 2005 and onwards. it should be realized that after 25 years with 2% inflation. a price of US$0.65 results in a price of 0. If one cent operation and maintenance cost is added. divided by 11. Modern use of solar technology started after the 1973 and 1979 oil crises.21 euro will have a value comparable with 0. an interest rate of 7% should be possible. different lifetime expectation. Independent of the way of financing. The way of financing has a great influence on the final price. then he is not compensated for inflation. Although the investment for one kWh year production is suitable for comparing the price of different solar power plants.65. The heating of water is covered in solar hot water. The modular solar dish (but also solar photovoltaic and wind power) have the advantage that electricity production starts after first construction. 0.6 GWh/yr. The solar panel is located somewhere with good light levels throughout the day. If this number is fixed. in such way that the debt and interest decreases. or 87. Due to low energy prices after 1990. If the technology is proven. In other words. Given the fact that solar thermal power is reliable. if the cost per kWh is raised with inflation.16 euro. there is always a linear relation between the investment per kWh production in a year and the price for 1 kWh (before adding operational and maintenance cost). no new commercial plans were made.21 euro for 25 years. The Andasol 1 plant has a guaranteed feed-in tariff of 0. usually a hot water tank or household radiators. This increases the investment with the interest over the period that the plant is not active yet. in Ashqelon Israel in 1952. for a new technology investors want a much higher rate to compensate for the higher risk.15 euro per kWh. SOLAR HEATING Solar heating is the usage of solar energy to provide process. If an investor puts his money on the bank for 7%.(1 + interest / 100) ^ -lifetime) / (interest / 100). but some research continued. may lead to a significantly different number.10 per kWh starts to become competitive. then the inflation rate can be added to the interest rate. the division number is 11. For a lifetime of 25 years and an interest rate of 7%. and may rely on the design and structure of the house to collect. The very first solar heating factory in the world was built by Jewish immigrants. Finally. then the levelized cost is 0.73 euro. which led to SEGS in California and some smaller projects. then the price per kWh also drops by 20%. then the following formula can be used to calculate the division factor: (1 .06 has been claimed With some operational cost a simple target is 1 dollar (or lower) investment for 1 kWh production in a year. However. See also Solar thermal energy. Other ways of financing. can deliver peak load and does not cause pollution. often on . For example.600 MWh/year. there is some gap between the first investment and the first production of electricity. if by enhancements of the technology the investments drop by 20%. In 1980 a law was passed in Israel making solar heating mandatory. store and distribute heat throughout the building (passive solar building design).184 Solar Energy and its Uses Supremacy Over other Energy Sources 185 plant will typically provide a yearly output of 50 MW × 24 hrs × 365 days × 20% = 87.13 euro now. it doesn't give the price per kWh yet. Although a price of US$0. This has a significant negative effect on the price per kWh. • Passive solar heating does not require electrical or mechanical equipment. If the cost per kWh may follow the inflation.

NV. Silvery objects get hot even though they are excellent reflectors because they are very poor in heat emission. and the Mojave Desert receives up to twice the sunlight received in other regions of the country. which burn polluting fossil fuels such as oil and coal. like tree leaves. OTHER USES Solar heating also refers to the heating of any objects. becoming cheaper to the consumer than fossil fuel based energy. many types of conventional power projects. emissivity. and consume no fuel other than sunlight. and thermal convection from wind. However. These plants have a combined capacity of 354 megawatts (MW) making them the largest solar power installation in the world. require long lead times. and so stay pretty cool. solar heating reaches a state of temperature equilibrium as the heat imparted by the sun is offset by the heat given off through reflection. readily available materials. and convection. The difference in absorption and emission arises because the radiation emitted by a relatively cold object like a human.186 Solar Energy and its Uses Supremacy Over other Energy Sources 187 the roof of the building. Solar Energy Generating Systems (SEGS) is the name given to nine solar power plants in the Mojave Desert which were built in the 1980s. These plants can generally be built in a few years because solar plants are built almost entirely with modular. surface reflectance. reflectance. as a result of economies of scale and technological improvements. located near Boulder City. Unlike traditional power plants. especially coal and nuclear plants. with high emissivity. and many other living surfaces. and are thus often referred to as externalities. or perfectly reflects. This makes the Mojave Desert particularly suitable for solar power plants. radiation. A pump pushes the heat transfer liquid (often just treated water) through the panel. could lead to renewable energy. It is worth noting that it is impossible for any material to be a good absorber of a given frequency and at the same time a poor emitter of the same frequency ( or the other way around). . Nevada Solar One is a new solar thermal plant with a 64-MW generating capacity. has much lower frequency than the radiation emitted by a hot object like the sun. cars. In contrast. Currently. readily available materials. Human skin. ambient temperature. The Mojave Solar Park will deliver 553 MW of solar thermal power when fully operational in 2011. surface area. These are traditionally external to the pricing system. convection and surface area. and some significant population centers are located in the area. Solar thermal power plants can generally be built in a few years because solar plants are built almost entirely with modular. Solar heating depends on the solar radiation. With most all objects on Earth. surface emissivity. A corrective pricing mechanism. environmental degradation. such as solar thermal power. SOLAR POWER PLANTS IN THE MOJAVE DESERT There are several solar power plants in the Mojave Desert which supply power to the electricity grid.0). the impact on national security from relying on foreign energy sources) are indirect and difficult to calculate. The heat is thus taken from the panel and transferred to a storage cylinder. have near perfect emissivity (~1. including buildings. solar power stations provide an environmentally benign source of energy. through solar radiation. such as a carbon tax. many economists predict that this price will gradually drop over the next ten years to 6 cents per kWh. This abundance of solar energy makes solar power plants an attractive alternative to traditional power plants. White objects stay dramatically cooler than other objects because the most important variables are characteristics of the surface. Materials which have high emissivity for low frequencies but high absorption at higher frequencies will therefore stay much cooler than materials which have high absorption of high frequencies and low emission of low frequencies. Insolation (solar radiation) in the Mojave Desert is among the best available in the United States. produce virtually no emissions. others (pollution related health problems. A perfect sunscreen is a dye that perfectly absorbs. the cost of solar thermal produced energy can be close to 12 cents (US) per kilowatt-hour (kWh). While many of the costs of fossil fuels are well known. The southwestern United States is one of the world's best areas for insolation. ultraviolet and infrared while being transparent in visible light. There are also plans to build other large solar plants in the Mojave Desert.

utilities and industry. this ground-mounted photovoltaic system employs an advanced sun tracking system. but less than photovoltaic (PV) power. The cost of Nevada Solar One is in the range of $220-250 million. this presented several problems in terms of storage and continuous turbine operation.S. Solar Two was decommissioned in 1999.S. To address these problems. The system operated smoothly through intermittent clouds and continued generating electricity long into the night. were built in the 1980s in the Mojave Desert near Barstow. The Solar One plant used water/steam as the heattransfer fluid in the receiver. designed and deployed by PowerLight subsidiary of SunPower. . Nevada Solar One also uses a technology that collects extra heat by putting it into phase-changing molten salts. Tilted toward the south. These plants have a combined capacity of 354 MW making them the largest solar power installation in the world. each set of solar panels rotates around a central bar to track the sun from east to west. Department of Energy.000 people. SOLAR ELECTRICITY GENERATING SYSTEMS Trough systems predominate among today's commercial solar power plants. heating tubes of liquid which act as solar receivers. Solar One was upgraded to Solar Two. formerly known as Solargenix Energy. Synthetic oil circulates through the pipe and captures this heat. such as the south-western United States. Occupying 140 acres (57 ha) of land leased from the Air Force at the western edge of the base. solar thermal operating periods can even be extended to meet base-load needs. Department of Energy. built the first two large-scale. The hot oil is pumped to a generating station and routed through a heat exchanger to produce steam. Trough systems convert the heat from the sun into electricity. Solar One operated successfully from 1982 to 1988. Using thermal energy storage systems. the U. and about 19. NELLIS SOLAR POWER PLANT In December 2007. Because of their parabolical shape. Both systems had the capacity to produce 10 MW of power. Nine trough power plants. Davis. proving that power towers work efficiently to produce utility-scale power from sunlight.300 of these four meter long tubes are used in the newly built power plant. National Renewable Energy Laboratory. measuring gamma rays hitting the atmosphere. Solar thermal power plants designed for solar-only generation are ideally matched to summer noon peak loads in prosperous areas with significant cooling demands. Finally. CA. and was converted by the University of California. This energy can then be drawn at night. into an Air Cherenkov Telescope in 2001. demonstration solar power towers in the desert near Barstow. Nevada. Today they generate enough electricity to meet the power needs of approximately 500. Inc.S. trough collectors can focus the sun at 30-60 times its normal intensity on a receiver pipe located along the focal line of the trough. The power produced is slightly more expensive than wind power. The very hot salt was stored and used when needed to produce steam to drive a turbine/ generator that produces electricity. NEVADA SOLAR ONE Nevada Solar One has a 64-MW generating capacity and is located in Boulder City. Inc. It was built by the U. The SEGS plants are configured as hybrids to operate on natural gas on cloudy days or after dark. Air Force announced the completion of a solar photovoltaic (PV) system at Nellis Air Force Base in Clark County. NV. and natural gas provides 25% of the total output. reaching temperatures of 390 °C (735 °F).S. electricity is produced in a conventional steam turbine. The unique feature of Solar Two was its use of molten salt to capture and store the sun's heat.188 Solar Energy and its Uses Supremacy Over other Energy Sources 189 SOLAR ONE AND SOLAR TWO Solar power towers use thousands of individual sun-tracking mirrors (called heliostats) to reflect solar energy onto a central receiver located on top of a tall tower. and Acciona Solar Power. and a consortium of U. The receiver collects the sun's heat in a heat-transfer fluid that flows through the receiver. These solar receivers are specially coated tubes made of glass and steel. Nevada Solar One uses parabolic troughs as thermal solar concentrators. The U. which operated from 1996 to 1999. called Solar Energy Generating Systems (SEGS).

the solar chimney consists of a blackpainted chimney.190 Solar Energy and its Uses Supremacy Over other Energy Sources 191 The 14-megawatt (MW) system will generate more than 30 million kilowatt-hours of electricity each year and supply approximately 25 percent of the total power used at the base. While all power plants require land and have an environmental impact. insulation and thermal properties of this element are crucial for harnessing. but on hot windless days a Solar chimney can provide ventilation where otherwise there would be none. particularly in the Middle east. 4. This will be the first commercial application of the Stirling Solar Dish which concentrates solar energy by the use of reflective surfaces and uses a Stirling heat engine to convert the heat into electricity. height. The orientation. There are however a number of solar chimney variations. When fully operational in 2011. Global warming. creating an updraft of air in the chimney. to PG&E's customers in northern and central California. the best locations for solar power plants are deserts or other land for which there might be few other human uses. solar power plant to open some time after 2009. retaining and utilizing solar gains • The main ventilation shaft: The location.000 acres (24 km²) of land. type of glazing. The suction created at the chimney's base can be used to ventilate and cool the building below. but when looking at electricity output versus total size. MOJAVE SOLAR PARK Solel has signed a contract with Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) to build the world's largest solar plant in the Mojave Desert. The plant will cover up to 6. • The inlet and outlet air apertures: The sizes. The Nellis Solar Power Plant is the largest solar photovoltaic system in North America. Innovative technologies along with . Stirling Energy Systems have announced another agreement with San Diego Gas & Electric to provide between 300 and 900 megawatts of electricity. using a large greenhouse at the base rather than relying solely on heating the chimney itself. SOLAR CHIMNEY A solar chimney . pollution and dwindling energy supplies have led to a new environmental approach in building design. they use less land than hydroelectric dams (including the size of the lake behind the dam) or coal plants (including the amount of land required for mining and excavation of the coal). A principle has been proposed for solar power generation. as well as by the Romans. STIRLING SOLAR DISH Stirling Energy Systems under an agreement with utility company Southern California Edison is planning to erect a 500megawatt. the equivalent of powering 400. the Mojave Solar Park will deliver 553 megawatts of solar power.600 acre (19 km²). A simple description of a solar chimney is that of a vertical shaft utilizing solar energy to enhance the natural stack ventilation through a building. convection of air heated by passive solar energy. In most parts of the world it is easier to harness wind power for such ventilation as is done with a Badgir. During the day solar energy heats the chimney and the air within it. The solar chimney has been in use for centuries. LAND USE ISSUES Solar thermal power plants are large and seem to use a lot of land. location as well as aerodynamic aspects of these elements are also significant. cross section and the thermal properties of this structure are also very important. SOLAR CHIMNEY AND SUSTAINABLE ARCHITECTURE Air conditioning and mechanical ventilation have been for decades the standard method of environmental control in many building types especially offices.000 homes. The basic design elements of a solar chimney are: • The solar collector area: This can be located in the top part of the chimney or can include the entire shaft.often referred to as a thermal chimney is a way of improving the natural ventilation of buildings by using DESCRIPTION In its simplest form.

solar shading. The use of a solar chimney may benefit natural ventilation and passive cooling strategies of buildings thus help reduce energy use. The passive ventilation stacks. providing solar heating instead. Absorption of heat from the sun can be increased by using a glazed surface on the side facing the sun. CO2 emissions and pollution in general. Natural ventilation can be created by providing vents in the upper level of a building to allow warm air to rise by convection and escape to the outside. the hot air in the attic can be put to work. hot days • Reduced reliance on wind and wind driven ventilation • Improved control of air flow though a building • Greater choice of air intake (i. A Solar chimney can serve many purposes. The solar chimney is one of these concepts currently explored by scientists as well as designers. incorporates solar assisted passive ventilation stacks as part of its ventilation strategy. and has to be constructed on the wall facing the direction of the sun. Heat absorbing material can be used on the opposing side. small spaces with minimal exposure to external elements Potential benefits regarding passive cooling may include: • Improved passive cooling during warm season (mostly on still. To further maximize the cooling effect. Potential benefits regarding natural ventilation and use of solar chimneys are: • Improved ventilation rates on still. The added advantage of this design is that the system may be reversed during the cold season. Trees may be planted on that side of the building to provide shade for cooler outside air. mostly through research and experimentation. The size of the heat-absorbing surface is more important than the diameter of the chimney. and hollow concrete slabs with embedded under floor cooling are key features of this building. the incoming air may be led through underground ducts before it is allowed to enter the building. Direct gain warms air inside the chimney causing it to rise out the top and drawing air in from the bottom. reduced draughts) PRECEDENT STUDY: THE ENVIRONMENTAL BUILDING The British Research Establishment (BRE) office building in Garston. In a conventional building this presents a problem as it leads to the need for increased air conditioning. At the same time cooler air can be drawn in through vents at the lower level. cool storage) • Improved thermal comfort (improved air flow control.e. Heating of the air within the chimney will enhance convection. The chimney has to be higher than the roof level. A large surface area allows for more effective heat exchange with the air necessary for heating by solar radiation. the BRE offices aim to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions by 30% from current best practice guidelines and sustain comfortable environmental conditions without the use of air conditioning. In a hot sunny climate the attic space is often blazingly hot in the summer. It can help the convection in the chimney. Openings of the vents in the chimney should face away from the direction of the prevailing wind. or to ventilate only a specific area such as a composting toilet. This natural ventilation process can be augmented by a solar chimney. improving ventilation. A variation of the solar chimney concept is the solar attic. leeward side of building) • Improved air quality and reduced noise levels in urban areas • Increased night time ventilation rates • Allow ventilation of narrow. By integrating the attic space with a solar chimney. Designed by architects Feilden Clegg Bradley. and hence airflow through the chimney. to draw air through a geothermal heat exchange. hot days) • Improved night cooling rates • Enhanced performance of thermal mass (cooling. Ventilation and heating systems are controlled by the . The solar chimney can be improved by integrating it with a trombe wall.192 Solar Energy and its Uses Supremacy Over other Energy Sources 193 bioclimatic principles and traditional design strategies are often combined to create new and potentially successful design solutions. This drawing of air can be used to ventilate a home or office.

a heat transfer circuit that includes the fluid and the means to circulate it. but overall. still days. Evaporation of moisture from the pads on top of the Toguna buildings built by the Dogon people of Mali. The best designed solar collectors are the ones that collect the most solars. This concept has been used for the Visitor Center of Zion National Park. arid climate this approach may contribute to a sustainable way to provide air conditioning for buildings. On warm windy days air is drawn in through passages in the curved hollow concrete floor slabs. The system can be used in a variety of ways. In areas with a hot. among others. heating swimming pools. The principle is to allow water to evaporate at the top of a tower. The building utilizes five vertical shafts as an integral part of the ventilation and cooling strategy. either by using evaporative cooling pads or by spraying water.194 Solar Energy and its Uses Supremacy Over other Energy Sources 195 building management system (BMS) while a degree of user override is provided to adjust conditions to occupants' needs. Overnight. SOLAR COLLECTOR A solar collector is a device for extracting the energy of the sun not indirectly into a more usable or storable form. During warm. Stack ventilation naturally rising out through the stainless steel chimneys enhances the air flow through the building. Pipes embedded in the floor can provide additional cooling utilizing groundwater. thermal mass walls and stainless steel round exhausts rising a few meters above roof level. acting as a cool 'radiator'. it averages about 1000 watts per square meter on a clear day with the surface directly perpendicular to the sun's rays. Africa contribute to the coolness felt by the men who rest underneath. The system may or may not include secondary distribution of heat among different storage reservoirs or users of the heat. the building relies mostly on the stack effect while air is taken from the shady north side of the building. Glazing is a common process used to increase the absorption rate of solars. heating water for a radiator or floor-coil heating circuit. The chimneys are connected to the curved hollow concrete floor slabs which are cooled via night ventilation. Design The solar heating system consists of the collector described above. The exposed curved ceiling gives more surface area than a flat ceiling would. Low-energy fans in the tops of the stacks can also be used to improve airflow. and a storage system including a heat exchanger (if the fluid cirulating through the collector is not the same liquid being used to heat the object of the system). control systems enable ventilation paths through the hollow concrete slab removing the heat stored during the day and storing 'coolth' for the following day. . Evaporation cools the incoming air. The principle of the downdraft cooltower has been proposed for solar power generation as well. The solar energy striking the earth's surface at any one time depends on weather conditions. again providing summer cooling. including warming domestic hot water. The energy in sunlight is in the form of electromagnetic radiation from the infrared (long) to the ultraviolet (short) wavelengths. as well as location and orientation of the surface. In PASSIVE DOWN-DRAFT COOLTOWER A technology closely related to the solar chimney is the evaporative down-draft cooltower. The Visitor Center was designed by the High Performance Buildings Research of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). causing a downdraft of cool air that will bring down the temperature inside the building. Airflow can be increased by using a solar chimney on the opposite side of the building to help in venting hot air to the outside. The movement of air across the chimney tops enhances the stack effect. or providing input energy for a cooling system. The main components of theses stacks are a south facing glass-block wall. Research based on actual performance measurements of the passive stacks found that they enhanced the cooling ventilation of the space during warm and still days and may also have the potential to assist night-time cooling due to their thermally massive structure. The women's buildings on the outskirts of town are functional as more conventional solar chimneys. heating an industrial dryer.

thermal losses from the collector itself will reduce its efficiency. Metal makes a good thermal conductor. which may be useful. resulting in increased radiation.196 Solar Energy and its Uses Supremacy Over other Energy Sources 197 addition. since the water should only be circulated when there is incident sunlight). particularly the type optimized for solar gain. Collectors are usually also angled to suit the latitude of the location. Other types of solar thermal collectors do not store energy but instead use fluid circulation (usually water or an antifreeze solution) to transfer the heat for direct use or storage in an insulated reservoir. primarily infrared. Its main drawback is the need for the tank to be placed at a level higher than the collector. This exploits the so-called greenhouse effect. The heat is normally stored in insulated storage tanks full of water. The selective surface reduces heat-loss caused by infrared radiant emission from the collector to ambient. a storage tank is placed above the collector. Such systems are a key feature of sustainable housing. and a south-facing roof in the northern hemisphere is ideal. The glass plate System Types For solar heating of domestic hot water. As the water in the collector is heated. it will rise and naturally start to circulate around the tank. This draws in colder water from the bottom of the tank. The direct radiation is captured using a dark colored surface which absorbs the radiation as heat and conducts it to the transfer fluid. a "selective surface" is used in which the collector surface is coated with a material having properties of high-absorption and low-emissivity. SOLAR THERMAL COLLECTORS A solar thermal collector that stores heat energy is called a "batch" type system. so a north-facing roof in the southern hemisphere. but does not transmit the lower frequency infrared re-radiation very well. since they typically have a 10-20% carbon drawback. This is countered in two ways. Again. In the thermosyphon system. Where . Another method of reducing radiant heat-loss employs a transparent window such as clear UV stabilized plastic or Low-emissivity glass plate. In high performance collectors. two common system types are thermosyphon and pumped. Placement Solar collectors can be mounted on a roof but need to face the sun. This system is self-regulating and requires no moving parts or external energy. so is very attractive. a 2 to 10 square metre array will provide all the hot water heating required for a typical family house. Water/glycol has a high thermal capacity and is therefore convenient to handle. Borosilicate glass or "Pyrex" (tm) has low-emissivity properties. which is in this case a property of the glass: it readily transmits solar radiation in the visible and ultraviolet spectrum. sunshine is readily available. Low-E materials are the most effective. As it heats up. especially copper and aluminium. which may prove to be physically difficult. so the tank can be positioned independently of the collector location. glazing is a process in which a thin layer of 5hydroxymethylfurfural is applied to improve heat rejection at low light wavelengths. First. a glass plate is placed above the collector plate which will trap the radiated heat within the airspace below it. particularly for solar cooking applications. This system requires external energy to run the pump (though this can be solar. Systems using solar electric pumping and controls are known as zero carbon solar while those using mains electricity are known as low carbon. since water and space heating is usually the largest single consumer of energy in households. It also requires control electronics to measure the temperature gradient across the collector and modulate the pump accordingly. but other concepts exist including seasonal storage (where summer solar energy is used for winter heating by just raising the temperature by a few degrees of several million liters of water (numerous pilot housing projects in Germany and elsewhere use this concept). A pumped system uses a pump to circulate the water. Heat storage is usually intended to cover a day or two's requirements.

198 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Combisystem 199 also traps air in the space. Those serving larger groups of properties via district heating tend to be called central solar heating schemes. Denmark and Norway were to supply combisystems. and with a sufficient flow rate. as different systems have tended to evolve in different countries. Depending on the size of the combisystem installed. even up to up to 100% where a large seasonal thermal store is used. A large number of different types of solar combisystems are produced . or is used to heat a building directly. conducted as part of IEA Task 14 in 1997. During 2001. Switzerland. while in Sweden it was greater. the annual space heating contribution can range from 10% to 60% or more in ultra-low energy Passivhaus type buildings. normally linked to an auxiliary non-solar heat source. it is in fact an indication of a less efficient design. The warmed fluid leaving the collector is either directly stored. Since then commercialised packages have developed and are now generally used. The fluid carries away the absorbed heat.000 m2) was much . Solar combisystems may range in size from those installed in individual properties to those serving several in a block heating scheme. The remaining heat requirement is supplied by one or more auxiliary sources in order to maintain the heat supply once the solar heated water is exhausted. where the total collector area installed (900. The temperature differential across an efficient solar collector is usually only 10 or 20°C. The systems on the market in a particular country may be more restricted. This is done by ensuring that the coldest available heat transfer fluid is circulated through the absorber.over 20 were identified in the first international survey. or else passes through a heat exchanger to warm another tank of water. Prior to the 1990s such systems tended to be custom-built for each property. Such auxiliary heat sources may also use other renewable energy sources. The second way efficiency is improved is by cooling the absorber plate. 7 THE SOLAR COMBISYSTEM A solar combisystem is a solar heating system that provides both space heating and hot water from a common array of solar thermal collectors. thus reducing heat losses by convection. The collector housing is also insulated below and laterally to reduce its heat loss. around 50% of all the domestic solar collectors installed in Austria. While a large differential may seem impressive. thus cooling the absorber. however. In Germany.

Maintaining stratification (the variation in water temperature from cooler at the foot of a tank to warmer at the top) is important so that the combisystem can supply hot water and space heating water at different temperatures. Combisystems have also been installed in Canada since the mid 1980s. varying from manufacturer's guidelines to nomograms (such as the one developed for IEA Task 26) to various computer simulation software of varying complexity and accuracy.or may not . Heat management by natural convection in storage tanks and built-in stratifiers as well as multiple tanks and/or multiple inlet/outlet pipes and/or three-or four-way valves to control flow through the inlet/outlet pipes. systems may be configured in many different ways.the Type A .have no 'controlled storage device'. however accurate predictions remain difficult. and the number of options available. mean that comparing design alternatives is not straightforward. Tools for designing solar combisystems are available. . or by both the solar collectors (or a solar water storage tank) and the auxiliary heater connected in series on the return line of the space heating loop.200 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Combisystem 201 larger than in the other countries. or there is no hydraulic connection between the solar heat distribution and the auxiliary heat emissions S Serial mode: The space heating loop may be fed by the auxiliary heater. A solar combisystem may therefore be described as being of type B/DS. there are also large centralised systems serving a number of properties. The simplest combisystems .have the storage tanks. 25% was for combisystem installations.or four-way valves to control flow through the inlet/outlet pipes C Heat management using natural convection in storage tanks and/or between them to maintain stratification to a certain extent. in German ). secondly by the auxiliary heat management category (the way in which non-solar auxiliary heaters are integrated into the system). The floor slab is thickened to provide thermal mass and so that the heat from the pipes (at the bottom of the slab) is released during the evening. No Controlled Storage Device for Space Heating B Heat management and stratification enhancement by means of multiple tanks and/or by multiple inlet/outlet pipes and/or by three. or by the auxiliary heater. etc. D Heat management using natural convection in storage tanks and built-in stratification devices. which can be used for basic system sizing) and the free SHWwin (Austria. Among the software and packages are CombiSun (released free by the Task 26 team . CLASSIFICATION Following the work of IEA Task 26 (1998 to 2002). CS. It has been suggested that in future combisystems might be able to incorporate absorption solar cooling in summer . For the individual house they may . Instead they pump warm water from the solar collectors through underfloor central heating pipes embedded in the concrete floor slab. HEAT STORAGE CATEGORY P Parallel mode: The space heating loop is fed alternatively by the solar collectors (or a solar water storage tank). Useful approximations of performance can be produced relatively easily. Auxiliary Heat Management Categories M Mixed mode: The space heating loop is fed from a single store heated by both solar collectors and the auxiliary heater COMBISYSTEM DESIGN The size and complexity of combisystems. Within these types. In contrast. controls and auxiliary heater integrated into a single prefabricated package. solar combisystems can be classified according to two main aspects. firstly by the heat storage category (the way in which water is added to and drawn from the storage tank and its effect on stratification). Other commercial systems are available.

The element unique to combisystems is the way that these technologies are combined.8. which also increases the flexibility in its location. Some also lies in the ultraviolet part of the spectrum. and the other half mostly in the near-infrared part. and the lower water temperatures typical of solar heating may be more readily used .96 calories per minute per square centimeter. The spectrum of the Sun's solar radiation is close to that of a black body with a temperature of about 5.5%. Thus. RELATIONSHIP TO LOW ENERGY BUILDING By the end of the 20th century solar hot water systems had been capable of meeting a significant portion of domestic hot water in many climate zones. not just the visible light. and the control systems used to integrate them. as well as those used in the auxiliary systems microgeneration technologies or otherwise.000 km²). the amount of Solar radiation received at a location on the Earth's surface depends on the state of the atmosphere and the location's latitude. not just the visible light (see Electromagnetic spectrum). measured on the outer surface of Earth's atmosphere in a plane perpendicular to the rays. At any given moment. The solar constant includes all wavelengths of solar electromagnetic radiation. 1366 W/m² is equivalent to 1. However it was only with the development of reliable low-energy building techniques in the last decades of the century that extending such systems for space heating became realistic in temperate and colder climatic zones. As heat demand reduces. In common with other heating systems in low-energy buildings. but radiators no longer need to be grossly oversized to compensate if not. but as it rotates this energy is distributed across the entire surface area (4·?·RE²).96 langleys (Ly) per minute. plus or minus 3. and by a few parts per thousand from day to day. About half that lies in the visible short-wave part of the electromagnetic spectrum SOLAR CONSTANT The solar constant is the amount of the Sun's incoming electromagnetic radiation (Solar radiation) per unit area. It is measured by satellite to be roughly 1366 watts per square meter (W/m²). When ultraviolet radiation is not absorbed by the atmosphere or other protective coating. SOLAR RADIATION Solar radiation is radiant energy emitted by a sun as a result of its nuclear fusion reactions. Solar radiation is commonly measured with a pyranometer or pyrheliometer. system performance is more sensitive to the number of occupants. the power is 1.202 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Combisystem 203 TECHNOLOGIES Solar combisystems use similar technologies to those used for solar hot water and for regular central heating and underfloor heating. for the whole Earth (which has a cross section of 127. The solar constant includes all types of solar radiation. in that the solar constant and the magnitude of the Sun are two methods of describing the apparent brightness of the Sun. The Solar constant does not remain constant over long periods of time (see Solar variation). the overall size and cost of the system is reduced. is one-fourth the solar constant (approximately 342 W/m²). it can cause a change in human skin pigmentation. plus any stratifier technology that might be employed. taking into account the angle at which the rays strike and that at any one moment half the planet does not receive any solar radiation. The Earth receives a total amount of radiation determined by its cross section (?·RE²).especially when coupled with underfloor heating. or 1. room temperature and ventilation rates.800 K. ?26.400. which can be of particular importance in individual houses. Hence the average incoming solar radiation (sometimes called the solar irradiance). The volume occupied by the equipment also reduces. though this fluctuates by about 6. when compared to regular buildings where such effects are small in relation to the higher overall energy demand.740×1017 W. though the magnitude only measures the visual output of the Sun. It is linked to the apparent magnitude of the Sun. .9% during a year (from 1412 W/m² in early January to 1321 W/m² in early July) due to the earth's varying distance from the Sun.

meaning the solid angle of the Earth as seen from the sun is approximately 1/140. By taking readings at different times of day.000 steradians. and also in summer near the poles at night. • greater safety for children and the cook compared to a fire or stove. other advantages include: • lower cost compared to firewood or cooking oil. Abbott proved that one of Langley's corrections was erroneously applied. Between 1902 and 1957. For example. When the direct radiation is not blocked by clouds. enabling small groups of women to build up community bakeries using solar ovens. However.86×1026 watts. it requires less hands-on time cooking. can be used to keep food warm well into the evening. measurements by Charles Greeley Abbot and others at various high-altitude sites found values between 1322 and 1465 W/m². combined with the insulation of the oven or an insulated basket. The warming on the body and surfaces of other objects is distinguished from the increase in air temperature. but not at all in winter near the poles. In the developing world. However.000 radians. at latitudes of 65 degrees the change in solar energy in summer & winter can vary by more than 25% as a result of the Earth's orbital variation. The angular diameter of the Earth as seen from the Sun is approximately 1/11. and plastic bags for well over 10. Thus the Sun emits about two billion times the amount of radiation that is caught by Earth. and that.204 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Combisystem 205 In 1884. in other words about 3. SOLAR COOKING PROJECTS Michael Hönes of Germany has established solar cooking in Lesotho. solar radiation is obvious as daylight when the sun is above the horizon. and • less time spent cooking compared to tending a fire or stove. • lower likelihood of starting a fire that could destroy a family's home.89 and 2. and not heating up the house on a hot day are usually cited as advantages. sometimes forming a nearly perfect circle. USE DARFUR REFUGEE CAMPS Cardboard. The Earth's orbit and obliquity change with time (over thousands of years). and at other times stretching out to an orbital eccentricity of 5% (currently 1. His results varied between 1. aluminum foil. when people are less inclined to eat a hot meal.67%).22 calories (1318 to 1548 W/m²). 2903 W/m². Solar cookers take longer to cook food compared to an oven. tend to offset. the value he obtained. The amount of radiation intercepted by a planetary body varies inversely with the square of the distance between the star and the planet. he attempted to remove effects due to atmospheric absorption. CLIMATE EFFECT OF SOLAR RADIATION On Earth. However. it is experienced as sunshine. but the redistribution of energy between summer and winter does strongly affect the intensity of seasonal cycles. combining the perception of bright white light (sunlight in the strict sense) and warming. the environmental advantages. a variation that appeared to be due to the Sun and not the Earth's atmosphere.000 solar cookers have been donated to the Iridimi refugee IN . the change in the annual average insolation at any given location is near zero. was still too great. so this is often considered a reasonable trade-off. a desire for energy independence. The total insolation remains almost constant but the seasonal and latitudinal distribution and intensity of solar radiation received at the Earth's surface also varies. In advanced countries. This is during daytime. Such changes associated with the redistribution of solar energy are considered a likely cause for the coming and going of recent ice ages. a thick pan that conducts heat slowly (such as Cast Iron) will lose heat at a slower rate.000. Using a solar oven therefore requires that food preparation be started several hours before the meal. Samuel Pierpont Langley attempted to estimate the Solar constant from Mount Whitney in California. Because changes in winter and summer DISADVANTAGES Solar cookers provide hot food during or shortly after the hottest part of the day.

a silk-producing village that is 125 km (80 mi) northwest of Tirupati in the Indian state of in Andhra Pradesh. the flux of particles as a function of their energy. they showed a strong correlation between their 27 most energetic events and active galactic nuclei AGN. sponsored the provision of powerful "Sk-14" parabolic solar cookers in 2004. with the results that they are healthier and they have more time to grow vegetables for their families and make handicrafts for export. but instead is due to galactic magnetic fields causing cosmic rays to travel in spiral paths. raped. INDIAN SOLAR COOKER VILLAGE Bysanivaripalle. The misnomer arose because there is continuity in the energy spectra. the Dutch foundation KoZon.. the fact that some cosmic rays have extremely high energies provides evidence that at least some must be of extra-galactic origin (e. COSMIC RAY SOURCES Most cosmic rays originate from extrasolar sources within our own galaxy such as rotating neutron stars. The average composition is similar to that of the Sun itself. and use them for midday and evening meals.206 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Combisystem 207 camp and Touloum refugee camps in Chad by the combined efforts of the Jewish World Watch. Almost 90% of all the incoming cosmic ray particles are protons. This limits cosmic ray's usefulness in positional astronomy as they carry no information of their direction of origin. The variety of particle energies reflects the wide variety of sources. Cosmic rays can have energies of over 1020 eV. using the donated supplies and locally purchased Arabic gum. is the first of its kind: an entire village that uses only solar cooking. Intersol. There has been interest in investigating cosmic rays of even greater energies. These results demonstrated that there is only a small chance (less than 1/100) that the highest energy protons originated from outside the AGN. but it has stuck. the local galactic magnetic field would not be able to contain particles with such a high energy. i. which exposed them to a high risk of being beaten. as cosmic particles arrive individually. The name solar cosmic ray itself is a misnomer because the term cosmic implies that the rays are from the cosmos and not the solar system. kidnapped. when a large collaborative experiment at the Pierre Auger Observatory appears to have answered this question. At energies below 10 GeV there is a directional dependence. not in the form of a ray or beam of particles. and Solar Cookers International. Observations have shown that cosmic rays with an energy above 10 GeV (10 x 109 eV) approach the Earth's surface isotropically (equally from all directions). However. radio galaxies and quasars). The refugees construct the cookers themselves. In preliminary results announced in November 2007. The origin of cosmic rays with energies up to 1014 eV can be accounted for in terms of shock-wave acceleration in supernova shells. supernovae.e. about 9% are helium nuclei (alpha particles) and about 1% are electrons (beta minus particles). The term "ray" is a misnomer. it has been hypothesized that this is not due to an even distribution of cosmic ray sources. COSMIC RAY Cosmic rays are energetic particles originating from space that impinge on Earth's atmosphere. far higher than the 1012 to 1013 eV that man-made particle accelerators can produce. Until the mid-1960s the energy . because the low-energy solar cosmic rays fade more or less smoothly into the galactic ones as one looks at increasingly higher energies. an Austrian non-governmental organisation. The goal of this project was to reduce the Darfuri women's need to leave the relative safety of the camp to gather firewood. The origin of cosmic rays with energy greater than 1014 eV remained unknown until recently. It has also significantly reduced the amount of time women spend tending open fires each day.g. due to the interaction of the charged component of the cosmic rays with the Earth's magnetic field. and black holes. There exists no clear and sharp boundary between the phase spaces of the solar wind and SEP plasma particle populations. or murdered. The origins of these particles range from energetic processes on the Sun all the way to as yet unknown events in the farthest reaches of the visible universe. SOLAR COSMIC RAYS Solar cosmic rays or solar energetic particles (SEP) are cosmic rays that originate from the Sun.

increasing in strength after some solar events such as solar flares. When electrically neutral atoms are able to enter the heliosheath (being unaffected by its magnetic fields) subsequently become ionized. outside the Earth's atmosphere. The exact composition of primary cosmic rays. This abundance difference is a result of the way secondary cosmic rays are formed.5 to 2-fold millennium-timescale changes in the cosmic ray flux in the past forty thousand years. Further. an increase in the intensity of solar cosmic rays is followed by a decrease in all other cosmic rays. but not of the kind that generates ACRs. Readings showed particle acceleration. In the past. according to papers published in the journal Science. Later. which are produced by collisions of Fe and Ni nuclei with interstellar matter. These decreases are due to the solar wind with its entrained magnetic field sweeping some of the galactic cosmic rays outwards. It is found that the energy spectra of Li. The overall or average rate of Forbush decreases tends to follow the 11-year sunspot cycle. Ti. beryllium and boron. These light nuclei appear in cosmic rays in much greater abundance (about 1:100 particles) than in solar atmospheres. primary and secondary. resulting in their transformation into lower-energy anomalous cosmic rays. The cosmic rays that arise in extrasolar astrophysical sources are primary cosmic rays. Secondary cosmic rays consist of the other nuclei which are not abundant nuclear synthesis end products. called the Forbush decrease after their discoverer. rethink of the origin of ACRs). as well as of cosmically rare light elements such as lithium and beryllium. into lithium. or products of the Big Bang. 2004. produced evidence for 1. However. the border region between the heliosphere and the interstellar medium. Voyager 2 is expected to cross the termination shock during or after 2008. is dependent on which part of the energy spectrum is observed. almost 90% of all the incoming cosmic rays are protons. these primary cosmic rays can interact with interstellar matter to create secondary cosmic rays. ANOMALOUS COSMIC RAYS Anomalous cosmic rays (ACRs) are cosmic rays with unexpectedly low energies.208 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Combisystem 209 distributions were generally averaged over long time intervals. V and Mn elements in cosmic rays. which will provide more data. however. The remaining fraction is made up of the other heavier nuclei which are abundant end products of star's nuclear synthesis. It is unclear at this stage (September 2005) if this is typical of the termination shock (requiring a major COMPOSITION Cosmic rays may broadly be divided into two categories. Spallation is also responsible for the abundances of Sc. The Voyager 1 space probe crossed the termination shock on December 16. primarily lithium. When the heavy nuclei components of primary cosmic rays. it was believed that the cosmic ray flux has remained fairly constant over time. They are thought to be created near the edge of our solar system. indicating that less cosmic ray spallation occurs for the higher energy nuclei presumably due to their escape from the galactic magnetic field. where their abundance is about 10-7 that of helium. beryllium and boron. or a localised feature of that part of the termination shock that Voyager 1 passed through. away from the Sun and Earth. mainly in that the galactic cosmic rays show an enhancement of heavy elements such as calcium. . in general. they are thought to be accelerated into low-energy cosmic rays by the solar wind's termination shock which marks the inner edge of the heliosheath. collide with interstellar matter. Recent research has. The sun also emits low energy cosmic rays associated with solar flares. about 9% are helium nuclei (alpha particles) and about 1% are electrons. Be and B falls off somewhat steeper than that of carbon or oxygen. they break up into lighter nuclei (in a process termed cosmic ray spallation). There are further differences between cosmic rays of solar and galactic origin. the physicist Scott Forbush. which also obscured the difference. It is also possible that high energy galactic cosmic rays which hit the shock front of the solar wind near the heliopause might be decelerated. but individual events are tied to events on the Sun. as explained above. in the heliosheath. namely the carbon and oxygen nuclei. The latter result from the cosmic ray spallation (fragmentation) of heavy nuclei due to collisions in transit from the distant sources to the solar system. it was found that the solar cosmic rays vary widely in their intensity and spectrum. iron and gallium.

This modulation which describes the change in the interstellar intensities of cosmic rays as they propagate in the heliosphere is highly energy and spatial dependent. There exist promising theories like ab initio approaches. The region between the termination shock and the heliospause (the boundary marking the end of the heliosphere) is called the heliosheath. At large radial distances. This is the reason the Aurorae occur at the poles. From modelling point of view. see Langner et al. This can be understood by the fact that charged particle tend to move in the direction of field lines and not across them. there is a challenge in determining the Local Interstellar spectra (LIS) due to large adiabatic energy changes these particles experience owing to the diverging solar wind in the heliosphere. in a process known as a shower. . but the drawback is that such theories produce poor compatibility with observations (Minnie. Because muons do not interact strongly with the atmosphere and because of the relativistic effect of time dilation many of these muons are able to reach the surface of the Earth. (2004). Also the Earth's magnetic field deflects some of the cosmic rays. which is confirmed by the fact that the intensity of cosmic radiation is dependent on latitude. and it is described by the Parker's Transport Equation in the heliosphere. and Mabedle Donald Ngobeni (2006). Finally. this is termed the eastwest effect. longitude and azimuth. the longitude dependence arises from the fact that the geomagnetic dipole axis is not parallel to the Earth's rotation axis. Muons are ionizing radiation. far from the Sun ~ 94 AU. DETECTION The nuclei that make up cosmic rays are able to travel from their distant sources to the Earth because of the low density of matter in space. significant progress has been made in the field of cosmic ray studies with the development of an improved state-of-the-art 2D numerical model that includes the simulation of the solar wind termination shock. With lack of knowledge of the diffusion coefficient perpendicular to the magnetic field our knowledge of the heliosphere and from the modelling point of view is far from complete. the sun's solar wind and the Earth's magnetic field.210 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Combisystem 211 MODULATION The flux (flow rate) of cosmic rays incident on the Earth's upper atmosphere is modulated (varied) by two processes. Solar wind is expanding magnetized plasma generated by the sun. result in the production of many pions and kaons. drifts and the heliosheath coupled with fresh descriptions of the diffusion tensor. 2006) indicating their failure in describing the mechanisms influencing the cosmic rays in the heliosphere. which has the effect of decelerating the incoming particles as well as partially excluding some of the particles with energies below about 1 GeV. If several muons are observed by separated detectors at the same instant it is clear that they must have been produced in the same shower event. and may easily be detected by many types of particle detectors such as bubble chambers or scintillation detectors. This region acts as a barrier to cosmic rays and it decreases their intensities at lower energies by about 90% indicating that it is not only the Earth's magnetic field that protect us from cosmic ray bombardment. so when the cosmic rays approach Earth they begin to collide with the nuclei of atmospheric gases. However. The amount of solar wind is not constant due to changes in solar activity over its regular eleven-year cycle. The cosmic flux varies from eastern and western directions due to the polarity of the Earth's geomagnetic field and the positive charge dominance in primary cosmic rays. Hence the level of modulation varies in autocorrelation with solar activity. These collisions. there exists the region where the solar wind undergoes a transition from supersonic to subsonic speeds called the solar wind termination shock. The cosmic ray intensity at the equator is lower than at the poles as the geomagnetic cutoff value is greatest at the equator. But challenges also exist because the structure of the solar wind and the turbulent magnetic field in the heliosheath is not well understood indicating the heliosheath as the region unknown beyond. For more on this topic and how the barrier effects occur the agile reader is referred to Mabedle Donald Ngobeni and Marius Potgieter (2007). since the field lines curve down towards the Earth's surface there. unstable mesons which quickly decay into muons. Nuclei interact strongly with other matter.

This technique has been used with great success for detecting not only cosmic rays. As the speed decreases due to deceleration in the stack. The caustic sodium hydroxide dissolves at a faster rate along the path of the damage. The slower the particle. The charge was measured as being 137. et al. the plastic sheets are "etched" literally.C. the ionization damage is less due to the higher speed. In a pioneering technique developed by P. which slowly removes the surface material at a slow. Cosmic rays kept the level of carbon14 in the atmosphere roughly constant (70 tons) for at least the past 100. Buford Price et al. it was generally believed that atmospheric electricity (ionization of the air) was caused only by radiation from radioactive . Using the particle track-etch method pioneered by Price. Buford Price at U. typically with two pits per sheet one originating from each side of the plastic.. sheets of clear plastic such as 1/4 mil Lexan polycarbonate can be stacked together and exposed directly to cosmic rays in space or high altitude. This generates a unique curve for each atomic nucleus of Z from 1 to 92.. and the etch rate plotted as a function of the depth in the stack of plastic. but thereafter dissolves at the slower base-rate along the surface of the minute hole that was drilled.000 years. the ionization damage increases along the path. INTERACTION WITH THE EARTH'S ATMOSPHERE When cosmic ray particles enter the Earth's atmosphere they collide with molecules. the same as predicted by Paul Dirac who first predicted the theoretical existence of magnetic monopoles. a so-called air shower. the Cerenkov detector admitted only of particles less than 2/3 c the speed of light in the clear plastic. known rate. The general idea is shown in the figure which shows a cosmic ray shower produced by a high energy proton of cosmic ray origin striking an atmospheric molecule. At the top of the stack. The etch pits can be measured under a high power microscope typically 1600X oil-immersion. to produce a cascade of lighter particles. A possible alternative explanation was offered by Alvarez. RESEARCH AND EXPERIMENTS There are a number of cosmic ray research initiatives. the more extensive is the bond-breaking along the path. mainly oxygen and nitrogen. the nuclear charge causes chemical bond breaking in the plastic. This is an important fact used in radiocarbon dating which is used in archaeology. Berkeley announced the discovery of a cosmic ray track in a particle detector slung under a high-altitude balloon that was significantly different from all others ever measured. but fission product nuclei for neutron detectors. Yet. until the beginning of aboveground nuclear weapons testing in the early 1950s. a team of researchers headed by P. but are not limited to: • CHICOS • PAMELA • Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer • MARIACHI • Pierre Auger Observatory • Spaceship Earth After the discovery of radioactivity by Henri Becquerel in 1896. allowing identification of both the charge and energy speed of the particle that traverses the stack. slowly dissolved in warm caustic sodium hydroxide solution. When returned to the laboratory.212 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Combisystem 213 DETECTION BY PARTICLE TRACK-ETCH TECHNIQUE Cosmic rays can also be detected directly when they pass through particle detectors flown aboard satellites or in high altitude balloons. and the higher the charge the higher the Z. Wherever a bare cosmic ray nucleus passes through the detector. they discovered the track of a particle that had passed through 32 sheets of 1/4 mil Lexan plastic without any measurable change in ionization. These include. the more extensive is the bond-breaking along the path. In his paper it was demonstrated that the path of the cosmic ray event that was claimed to be due to a magnetic monopole could be reproduced by a path followed by a platinum nucleus fragmenting to osmium and then to tantalum. UNUSUAL COSMIC RAYS In 1975. The particle track preliminarily identified as having been caused by a magnetic monopole had been spotted by technical assistant Walter L. Wagner. The net result is a conical shaped pit in the plastic.

but that it does not interact strongly with nuclei." In 1913-14. Bhabha derived an expression for the probability of scattering positrons by electrons. seems that once in a while the recording equipment is struck by very extensive showers of particles. during the decade from 1927 to 1937 a wide variety of experimental investigations demonstrated that the primary cosmic rays are mostly positively charged particles. and the secondary radiation observed at ground level is composed primarily of a "soft component" of electrons and photons and a "hard component" of penetrating particles. The mystery was solved by the discovery in 1947 of the pion. Rossi wrote ". Experiments proved that the muon decays with a mean life of 2. He concluded that extensive particle showers are generated by high-energy primary cosmic-ray particles that interact with air nuclei high in the atmosphere. In 1934 Bruno Rossi reported an observation of nearsimultaneous discharges of two Geiger counters widely separated in a horizontal plane during a test of equipment he was using in a measurement of the so-called east-west effect. which is produced directly in high-energy nuclear interactions. and over the sea. and muons that reach ground level. The pion?muon?electron decay sequence was observed directly in a microscopic examination of particle tracks in a special kind of photographic plate called a nuclear emulsion that had been exposed to cosmic rays at a highaltitude mountain station.214 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Combisystem 215 elements in the ground or the radioactive gases (isotopes of radon) they produce. initiating a cascade of secondary interactions that ultimately yield a shower of electrons. Homi J.0026 microseconds. Measurements of ionization rates at increasing heights above the ground during the decade from 1900 to 1910 showed a decrease that could be explained as due to absorption of the ionizing radiation by the intervening air. Then. even placed at large distances from one another.2 microseconds into an electron and two neutrinos. He found the ionization rate increased approximately fourfold over the rate at ground level.. In 1912 Domenico Pacini observed simultaneous variations of the rate of ionization over a lake. photons. observations with nuclear emulsions carried by balloons to near the top of the atmosphere by Gottlieb and Van Allen showed that the primary cosmic particles are mostly protons with some helium nuclei (alpha particles) and a small fraction heavier nuclei. In his report on the experiment. Then. For many years it was generally believed that cosmic rays were high-energy photons (gamma rays) with some secondary electrons produced by Compton scattering of the gamma rays. His classic paper. detected the same phenomenon and investigated it in some detail. he did not have the time to study this phenomenon more closely. Victor Hess carried three Wulf electrometers (a device to measure the rate of ion production inside a hermetically sealed container) to an altitude of 5300 meters in a free balloon flight. Measurements of the energy and arrival directions of the ultra-high-energy primary cosmic rays by the techniques of "density sampling" and "fast timing" of extensive air showers were first carried out in 1954 by members of the Rossi Cosmic Ray ." In 1937 Pierre Auger. jointly with Warren Heitler. published in 1937 described how primary cosmic rays from space interact with the upper atmosphere to produce particles observed at the ground level. Werner Kolhörster confirmed Victor Hess' results by measuring the increased ionization rate at an altitude of 9 km. Bhabha and Heitler explained the cosmic ray shower formation by the cascade production of gamma rays and positive and negative electron pairs. which causes coincidences between the counters. It decays into a muon and one neutrino with a mean life of 0. unaware of Rossi's earlier report. Unfortunately. a process now known as Bhabha scattering. Pacini concluded that a certain part of the ionization must be due to sources other than the radioactivity of the Earth or the air. In 1948. in 1912.. Hess received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1936 for his discovery of what came to be called "cosmic rays". He concluded "The results of my observation are best explained by the assumption that a radiation of very great penetrating power enters our atmosphere from above. so it could not be the Yukawa particle. The muon was initially believed to be the unstable particle predicted by Hideki Yukawa in 1935 in his theory of the nuclear force. In 1938 Bhabha concluded that observations of the properties of such particles would lead to the straightforward experimental verification of Albert Einstein's theory of relativity.

To alleviate this problem. where bare protons are believed accelerated by strong magnetic fields associated with the large black holes at the AGN centers to energies of 1E20 eV and higher. The results are expected to have important implications for particle physics and cosmology. Role in Lightning Cosmic rays have been implicated in the triggering of electrical breakdown in lightning. Intel has proposed a cosmic ray detector which could be integrated into future high-density microprocessors. From that work. Subsequent development of the lightning discharge then occurs through "conventional breakdown" mechanisms. In November. the energy spectrum of the primary cosmic rays is now known to extend beyond 1020 eV (past the GZK cutoff. such as corrupted data in memory. They also argue that GCR flux variability plays an important role in climate variability over shorter time scales.3 mSv due to cosmic rays. The Super-Kamiokande in Japan provided the first convincing evidence for neutrino oscillation in which one flavour of neutrino changes into another. out of a total of 2.216 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Combisystem 217 Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Different groups have made different arguments regarding the role of cosmic ray forcing in climate change. Role in Climate Change Whether cosmic rays have any role in climate change is disputed. beyond which very few cosmic rays should be observed). Since neutrinos interact only weakly with matter most of them simply pass through the Earth and exit the other side. the average radiation exposure in Australia is 0. A huge air shower experiment called the Auger Project is currently operated at a site on the pampas of Argentina by an international consortium of physicists. For example. Their aim is to explore the properties and arrival directions of the very highest energy primary cosmic rays. It has been proposed that essentially all lightning is triggered through a relativistic process. Effect on Electronics Cosmic rays have sufficient energy to alter the states of elements in electronic integrated circuits. have argued that galactic cosmic ray (GCR) climate signals on geological time scales are attributable to changing positions of the galactic spiral arms of the Milky Way. but as transistors become smaller it is becoming an increasing concern in ground-level equipment as well. Shaviv et al. See Health threat from cosmic rays. . and from many other experiments carried out all over the world. seeded by cosmic ray secondaries. and that cosmic ray flux variability is the dominant climate driver over these time periods. Because of uncertainty about which GCR energies are the most important EFFECTS Role in Ambient Radiation Cosmic rays constitute a fraction of the annual radiation exposure of human beings on earth. They very occasionally interact. though the relative contribution of anthropogenic factors in relation to GCR flux presently is a matter of continued debate. "runaway breakdown". Three varieties of neutrino are produced when the unstable particles produced in cosmic ray showers decay.3 mSv. 2007 preliminary results were announced showing direction of origination of the 27 highest energy events were strongly correlated with the locations of active galactic nuclei AGN. The evidence was found in a difference in the ratio of electron neutrinos to muon neutrinos depending on the distance they have traveled through the air and earth. or incorrect behavior of a CPU. Significance to Space Travel Galactic cosmic rays are one of the most important barriers standing in the way of plans for interplanetary travel by crewed spacecraft. This has been a problem in high-altitude electronics. allowing the processor to repeat the last command following a cosmic ray event. The experiment employed eleven scintillation detectors arranged within a circle 460 meters in diameter on the grounds of the Agassiz Station of the Harvard College Observatory. such as in satellites. and these atmospheric neutrinos have been detected by several deep underground experiments. however. causing transient errors to occur.

the real atmosphere always has many CCN naturally. as the intensity of a heated black body (closely approximated by the photosphere) is a function of T (temperature) to the fourth power. in the book Atlas Shrugged by author Ayn Rand. But unlike a cloud chamber. no additional sunspots have yet been seen in this cycle. While the reverse polarity sunspot observed on 4 January 2008 may represent the start of Cycle 24. as a source for mutation and therefore the powers gained by being bombarded with them. Henrik Svensmark et al. forming areas of reduced surface temperature. Were they merely referred to as "high-speed protons and atomic nuclei" this might not be so. have argued that solar variations modulate the cosmic ray signal seen at the earth and that this would affect cloud formation and hence climate. Whether this mechanism is relevant to the real atmosphere is unknown. Robert Stadler's research of cosmic rays is said to have contributed to Project X: a weapon of mass destruction.218 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Combisystem no long term trend. In fiction. and Svensmark's annual cloud cover variations. Also. Sunspot A sunspot is a region on the Sun's surface (photosphere) that is marked by a lower temperature than its surroundings and has intense magnetic activity. 219 drivers of cloud cover variation (if any). No trend = no explanation for current changes. including ion mediated nucleation. the steps from this to modulation of cloud formation and thence climate have not been established. and F. Even if the evidence for solar forcing were legitimate. in particular. they have been regularly measured by the neutron monitor at Climax Station (Colorado) since 1953 and show More recently a Lancaster University study produced further compelling evidence showing that modern-day climate change is not caused by changes in the Sun's activity. which inhibits convection. the contrast with the surrounding material at about 5800 K leaves them clearly visible as dark spots. which were said to be correlated to GCR variation. where the air is carefully purified. Dr. cosmic rays have been used as a catchall. they are a long way from actually demonstrating an influence of cosmic rays on the real world climate. any bizarre calculus that takes evidence for solar forcing of climate as evidence against greenhouse gases for current climate change is simply wrong. where earth's atmosphere acts as the cloud chamber and the cosmic rays catalyze the production of CCN. Cosmic rays have been experimentally determined to be able to produce ultrasmall aerosol particles. and in no way justify the hyperbole that Svensmark and colleagues put into their press releases and more 'popular' pieces. That Svensmark's work can be extrapolated to suggest any meaningful connection with global warming is disputed: At the time we pointed out that while the experiments were potentially of interest. mostly in comics (notably the Marvel Comics group the Fantastic Four). Cosmic Rays and Fiction Because of the metaphysical connotations of the word "cosmic". A minimum in the eleven-year sunspot cycle may happen during 2008. Various proposals have been made for the mechanism by which cosmic rays might affect clouds. controversies remain. giving them an aura of mysterious powers. however acting on a global scale. the very name of these particles enables their misinterpretation by the public. Yu 1999). They can be visible from Earth without the aid of a telescope. Claims have been made of identification of GCR climate signals in atmospheric parameters such as high latitude precipitation (Todd & Kniveton). Although they are blindingly bright at temperatures of roughly 4000-4500 K. If a sunspot was isolated from the surrounding photosphere it would be brighter than an electric arc. Whether cosmic rays are correlated with climate or not. and indirect effects on current flow density in the global electric circuit (see Tinsley 2000. The analogy is with the Wilson cloud chamber. The definition of a new sunspot cycle is when the average number of sunspots of the new cycle's magnetic polarity outnumbers that of the old cycle's polarity. and because of the paucity of historical data on cosmic ray flux at various ranges of energies. Forecasts in . orders of magnitude smaller than cloud condensation nuclei (CCN).

Sunspots had some importance in the debate over the nature of the solar system. the surrounding margins of sunspots are hotter than the average. Also in 1848. neither of whom knew of the Fabricius' work. Since sunspots are darker than the surrounding photosphere it might be expected that more sunspots would lead to less solar radiation and a decreased solar constant. and their comings and goings showed that the Sun changed. This range is slightly smaller than the change in radiative forcing caused by the increase in atmospheric CO2 since the 18th century. During the Maunder Minimum in the 17th Century there were hardly any sunspots at all. The ensuing priority dispute between Galileo and Scheiner. Most solar flares and coronal mass ejections originate in magnetically active regions around visible sunspot groupings.D. The variation caused by the sunspot cycle to solar output is relatively small.000 years ago. The details of their apparent motion could not be readily explained except in the heliocentric system of Copernicus. He established a cycle database to only 1700. the dominant component by summing gravitational tidal force (75% being Jupiter's) with an 11 year cycle. They showed that the Sun rotated. and so are brighter& overall. from the 1960s to the present. Joseph Henry projected an image of the Sun onto a screen and determined that sunspots were cooler than the surrounding surface. it has diminished somewhat. At the latter time Galileo had been showing sunspots to astronomers in Rome. This coincides with a period of cooling known as the Little Ice Age. on the order of 0. The Sun is presently at a markedly heightened level of sunspot activity and was last similarly active over 8. For example. who probably could see the .. He reasoned that sunspots affect earth's weather. The cyclic variation of the number of sunspots was first observed by Heinrich Schwabe between 1826 and 1843 and led Rudolf Wolf to make systematic observations starting in 1848. although the technology and techniques for careful solar observations were first available in 1610. However. host secondary phenomena such as coronal loops and reconnection events. Apparent references to sunspots were made by Chinese astronomers in 28 BC (Hanshu. which has demonstrated success in its correlation to a number of solar observables. The number of sunspots correlates with the intensity of solar radiation over the period (since 1979) when satellite measurements of absolute radiative flux were available.3 W m-2 compared to 1366 W m-2 for the average solar constant). It has been speculated that there may be a resonant gravitational link between a photospheric tidal force from the planets. these observations were misinterpreted until Galileo gave the correct explanation in 1612. was thus as pointless as it was bitter. A large sunspot was also seen at the time of Charlemagne's death in 813 A. The economist William Stanley Jevons suggested that there is a relationship between sunspots and crises in business cycles. more sunspots increase the sun's solar constant or brightness.220 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Combisystem 221 2006 predicted cycle 24 to start between late 2007 and early 2008.1% of the solar constant (a peak-to-trough range of 1. Significant variations of the 11 year period are known over longer spans of time. who published a description in June 1611. 27). and sunspot activity in 1129 was described by John of Worcester. influences crop Sunspot Variation Sunspot populations quickly rise and more slowly fall on an irregular cycle about every 11 years. However. Gustav Spörer later suggested a 70-year period before 1716 in which sunspots were rarely observed as the reason for Wolf's inability to extend the cycles into the seventeenth century. in turn. but new estimates suggest a delay until 2009. The Wolf number is an expression of individual spots and spot groupings. largest spot groups when the sun's glare was filtered by windborne dust from the various central Asian deserts. contrary to the teaching of Aristotle. Sunspots. being the manifestation of intense magnetic activity. which. They were first observed telescopically in late 1610 by the English astronomer Thomas Harriot and Frisian astronomers Johannes and David Fabricius. Similar phenomena indirectly observed on stars are commonly called starspots and both light and dark spots have been measured. Wolf also studied the historical record in an attempt to establish a database on cyclic variations of the past. from 1900 to the 1960s the solar maxima trend of sunspot count has been upward. and Christoph Scheiner had probably been observing the spots for two or three months.

the Royal Observatory of Belgium keeps track of sunspots as the World data center for the Sunspot Index. more effects occur during solar maximum (when flare occurrence is high) than during solar minimum (when flare occurrence is very low). The Wilson effect tells us that sunspots are actually depressions on the sun's surface. Heinrich Schwabe in 1843 reported a periodic change in the number of sunspots. Edward Maunder would later suggest a period over which the Sun had changed modality from a period in which sunspots all but disappeared from the solar surface. causing sunspots to disperse rapidly. Recent observations from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) using sound waves traveling through the Sun's photosphere to develop a detailed image of the internal structure below sunspots show that there is a powerful downdraft underneath each sunspot. where the magnetic field is approximately vertical • The surrounding penumbra. At the start of a cycle. it is quite clear that sunspots are the visible counterparts of magnetic flux tubes in the convective zone of the sun that get "wound up" by differential rotation. Since 1981. which is lighter. Magnetic field lines would ordinarily repel each other. where the magnetic field lines are more inclined. which were also absent at the same time. but sunspot lifetime is about two weeks. If the stress on the flux tubes reaches a certain limit. At the puncture points convection is inhibited.222 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Combisystem 223 yields and. The frequency with which a radio operator experiences solar flare effects will vary with the approximately 11-year sunspot cycle. and with it the surface temperature. but after the resumption of sunspot activity. Sunspots usually appear in groups. From cycle to cycle. Adding to this understanding of the absence of solar activity cycles were observations of aurorae. at VHF (and under unusual conditions at HF) this noise may interfere directly with a wanted signal. A radio operator can experience great difficulty in transmitting or receiving signals during solar flares due to more noise and different propagation patterns. forming a rotating vortex that concentrates magnetic field lines. SIGNIFICANT EVENTS An extremely powerful flare was emitted toward Earth on 1 September 1859. which is the darkest part. The most powerful flare observed by satellite instrumentation began on 4 November 2003 at 19:29 UTC. followed by the appearance of sunspot cycles starting in 1700. The point of highest sunspot activity during this cycle is known as Solar Maximum. This model is supported by observations using the Zeeman effect that show that prototypical sunspots come in pairs with opposite magnetic polarity. Careful studies revealed the problem not to be a lack of observational data but included references to negative observations. the polarities of leading and trailing (with respect to the solar rotation) sunspots change from north/south to south/north and back. Holographic and visual observations indicate significant activity continued on the far side of the Sun. Hawaii. and the point of lowest activity is Solar Minimum. the economy. and saturated instruments for 11 minutes. Region 486 has been estimated to have produced PHYSICS Although the details of sunspot generation are still somewhat a matter of research. the energy flux from the sun's interior decreases. they curl up quite like a rubber band and puncture the sun's surface. therefore. and Rome with similar activity in the southern hemisphere. during which no sunspots were visible for some years. Sunspots are self-perpetuating storms. similar in some ways to terrestrial hurricanes. It interrupted electrical telegraph service and caused visible Aurora Borealis as far south as Havana. The sunspot itself can be divided into two parts: • The central umbra. Sunspot research was dormant for much of the 17th and early 18th centuries because of the Maunder Minimum. an X-ray flux of X28. sunspots tend to appear in the higher latitudes and then move towards the equator as the cycle approaches . RADIO COMMUNICATIONS INTERFERENCE Solar flares also create a wide spectrum of radio noise. Sunspot activity cycles about every eleven years. Even the lack of a solar corona during solar eclipses was noted prior to 1715.

This period is also observed in most other expressions of solar activity and is deeply linked to a variation in the solar magnetic field that changes polarity with this period. For example. Due to their link to other kinds of solar activity. Thus. spectral line analysis measured the temperature range of spots and the stellar surfaces. This . Babcock later proposed a qualitative model for the dynamics of the solar outer layers. the controversy over global warming has put scientists in opposition to each other. Horace W. amateur observation of sunspots with the unaided eye is generally done by projection or via using proper filtration. Doppler imaging showed differential rotation of spots for several stars and distributions different from the Sun's. so sunspot evolution can be followed. sunspots can be used to predict the space weather and with it the state of the ionosphere. Strassmeier reported the largest cool starspot ever seen rotating the giant K0 star XX Triangulum (HD 12545) with a temperature of 3500 kelvin. SOLAR ECLIPSE A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth so that the Sun is wholly or partially obscured. Since the mid 1990s observations of starspots have been made using increasingly powerful techniques yielding more and more detail: photometry determined starspot regions grew and decayed and showed cyclic behaviour similar to the Sun's. the most prominent of which is at about 11 years in the mean. Special purpose hydrogen-alpha narrow bandpass filters as well as aluminum coated glass attenuation filters (which have the appearance of mirrors due to their extremely high optical density) are also used on the front of a telescope to provide safe direct observation through the eyepiece. a Professor Emeritus of geology at Western Washington University. STARSPOTS ON OTHER STARS Periodic changes in brightness had been first seen on red dwarfs and in 1947 G. Kron proposed that spots were the cause. in additional to filtered cameras of various types. together with a warm spot of 4800 kelvin. Today it is known that there are various periods in the Wolf number sunspot index. The grey area around the spots can be seen very clearly. has claimed that there is a cause-andeffect relationship between sunspot activity and global temperatures on Earth. Don Easterbrook. on to a white screen where it can be viewed indirectly. These telescopes use filtration and projection techniques for direct observation. in which magnetic fields and sunspots are linked. covering two polar reversals of the solar magnetic dipole field. and even traced. as being due to magnetic fields which are twisted by the Sun's rotation. through binoculars or a telescope is extremely dangerous. APPLICATION A large group of sunspots in year 2004.224 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Combisystem 225 maximum: this is called Spörer's law. as well as other effects. too. The Babcock Model explains the behavior described by Spörer's law. Hale suggested that the sunspot cycle period is 22 years. spectroscopy examined the structure of starspot regions. Artificial eclipses allow viewing of the circumference of the sun as sunspots rotate through the horizon. SUNSPOT OBSERVATION Sunspots are observed with land-based solar telescopes as well as ones on Earth-orbiting satellites. Specialized tools such as spectroscopes and spectrohelioscopes are used to examine sunspots and areas of sunspots. sunspots can help predict conditions of short-wave radio propagation or satellite communications. Since looking directly at the Sun with the naked eye. A modern understanding of sunspots starts with George Ellery Hale. until more is known about the effects of sunspots and solar radiation levels and their exact relationship with Earth and its weather patterns (including temperature change) we must accept that there may be a correlation between global warming and sunspot activity. It is also believed that sunspot activity has a direct effect on weather and climate change on the planet. without filtration. The eyepiece of a telescope is also used in the role of a "projector" to project the image. E. as well as the granulation of the sun's surface. in 1999. such as a 14 welder's glass is sometimes employed. Small sections of very dark filter glass.

but not so much as the Moon's varying distance from the Earth. An eclipse when the Moon is near its closest distance from the Earth (i. totality is visible only from at most a narrow track on the surface of the Earth.226 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Combisystem 227 can only happen during a new moon. When the Earth approaches its farthest distance from the Sun (the aphelion) in July. Hybrid eclipses are rather rare. • A partial eclipse occurs when the Sun and Moon are not exactly in line. the sizes of the Sun and the Moon as seen from Earth appear to be approximately the same: about 0. or photosphere. Hence the Sun appears as a very bright ring. However. as the Sun seems to disappear in the middle of the day and the sky darkens in a matter of minutes. Slightly more solar eclipses are annular than total because. • A hybrid eclipse is intermediate between a total and annular eclipse. near its perigee) can be a total eclipse because the Moon will appear to be large enough to cover completely the Sun's bright disk. with between zero and two of them being total eclipses.. because the umbra never intersects the Earth's surface. surrounding the outline of the Moon. near its apogee) can only be an annular eclipse because the Moon will appear to be slightly smaller than the Sun.e. . This phenomenon can usually be seen from a large part of the Earth outside of the track of an annular or total eclipse. but the apparent size of the Moon is smaller than that of the Sun. The intensely bright disk of the Sun is replaced by the dark silhouette of the Moon. as illustrated by the number of journeys made specifically to witness the 2005 annular eclipse and the 2006 total eclipse. and the much fainter corona is visible. an eclipse when the Moon is near its farthest distance from the Earth (i. Total solar eclipses are nevertheless rare at any location because during each eclipse totality exists only along a narrow corridor in the relatively tiny area of the Moon's umbra.5 degree of arc in angular measure. • An annular eclipse occurs when the Sun and Moon are exactly in line. some eclipses can only be seen as a partial eclipse. on average. As the Earth approaches ANNULAR ECLIPSE There are four types of solar eclipses: • A total eclipse occurs when the Sun is completely obscured by the Moon. a total eclipse has a magnitude greater than 1. The match between the apparent sizes of the Sun and Moon during a total eclipse is a coincidence. The 1999 total eclipse in Europe helped to increase public awareness of the phenomenon. when the Sun and Moon are in conjunction as seen from the Earth. the Moon lies too far from Earth to cover the Sun completely. The Earth's orbit around the Sun is also elliptical. and in some cultures today. The magnitude of an eclipse is the ratio of the apparent size of the Moon to the apparent size of the Sun during an eclipse. whereas at others it is annular.. This also affects the apparent sizes of the Sun and Moon. solar eclipses have been attributed to supernatural causes. this tends to favor a total eclipse. the magnitude of an annular eclipse is less than 1. as is the Earth's orbit around the Sun. and the Sun's diameter is about 400 times the Moon's diameter. Total solar eclipses can be frightening for people who are unaware of their astronomical explanation. The Sun's distance from the Earth is about 400 times the Moon's distance. Conversely. 2008. At some points on the surface of the Earth it is visible as a total eclipse. The next solar eclipse will occur on August 1.e. A hybrid eclipse occurs when the magnitude of an eclipse is very close to 1: the eclipse will appear to be total at some locations on Earth and annular at other locations. and the Moon only partially obscures the Sun. During any one eclipse. and will be a total eclipse. Because these ratios are approximately the same. At least two and up to five solar eclipses occur each year on Earth. A total solar eclipse is a spectacular natural phenomenon and many people travel to remote locations to observe one. In ancient times. the apparent sizes of the Sun and Moon vary. Because the Moon's orbit around the Earth is an ellipse. or annulus. so the Earth's distance from the Sun varies throughout the year.

228 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Combisystem 229 its closest distance from the Sun (the perihelion) in January. but this is a smaller effect. It is only when the Moon is closer to the Earth than average (near its perigee) that a total eclipse occurs. there will always be at least two solar eclipses. annular. Properly speaking. The time between one perigee and the next is known as the anomalistic month. during one sidereal month. when the Moon disappears at full moon by passing into Earth's shadow. Because of this. This is known as the synodic month. This means that in any given year.3 days. Therefore. the nodes of the Moon's orbit are gradually moving in a retrograde motion. an eclipse occurs when one object passes into the shadow cast by another object. or hybrid eclipse. the Moon's orbit is also elliptical. relative to a fixed frame of reference. Finally. This means that the time between each passage of the Moon through the ascending node is slightly shorter than the sidereal month. the Moon will usually pass above or below the Sun. so the majority (about 60%) of central eclipses are annular. The distance of the Earth from the Sun also varies during the year. . Therefore. Geometry The Moon's orbit around the Earth is inclined at an angle of just over 5 degrees to the plane of the Earth's orbit around the Sun (the ecliptic). the Moon's apparent size varies with its distance from the Earth. For example. However. and corresponds to what is commonly called the lunar month. Sometimes the new moon occurs close enough to a node during two consecutive months. A solar eclipse can occur only when the new moon occurs close to one of the points (known as nodes) where the Moon's orbit crosses the ecliptic. though extremely rare. due to the action of the Sun's gravity on the Moon's motion. Central eclipse is often used as a generic term for a total. and vice versa at its descending node. the Moon's perigee is moving forwards in its orbit. This is then called a non-central total or annular eclipse. and it is this effect that leads to the difference between total and annular eclipses. at the time of a new moon. but not its central line. This period is called the draconic month. The Moon's distance from the Earth can vary by about 6% from its average value.4 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon. but an occultation. It is possible. The Moon orbits the Earth in approximately 27. PREDICTIONS On average. The Moon's orbit intersects with the ecliptic at the two nodes that are 180 degrees apart. The phenomenon of the Moon passing in front of the Sun is not an eclipse. technically.5 days. • A Total eclipse in the umbra. that part of the umbra intersects with Earth (thus creating an annular or total eclipse). and there will always be at least one solar eclipse during these periods. because the umbra passes above Earth's north or south pole. some are visible only as partial eclipses. the event is properly called a lunar eclipse. and makes a complete circuit in about 9 years. however. the new moon occurs close to the nodes at two periods of the year approximately six months apart. • C Partial eclipse in the penumbra The Moon crosses from south to north of the ecliptic at its ascending node. The term solar eclipse itself is strictly speaking a misnomer. and others are central only in remote regions of the Arctic or Antarctic. this tends to favor an annular eclipse. This is known as the sidereal month. and they make a complete circuit every 18. 25 2007 at 4. However. the Earth has revolved part way around the Sun. • B Annular eclipse in the antumbra. a solar eclipse actually amounts to an eclipse of the Earth. This is. and there can be as many as five. TERMINOLOGY The Moon transiting in front of the Sun as seen from STEREOB on February.6 years. not completely correct: the definition of a central eclipse is an eclipse during which the central line of the umbra touches the Earth's surface. making the average time between one new moon and the next longer than the sidereal month: it is approximately 29. the Moon appears to be slightly smaller than the Sun. As noted above. Therefore. However.

A Saros series always starts with a partial eclipse near one of Earth's polar regions. 2009 and last 6 min 39 sec. 2186. then shifts over the globe through a series of annular or total eclipses. and one of the most accurate.230 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Combisystem 231 Path During a central eclipse. .000-year period from 3000 BC to 5000 AD will occur on July 16. A Saros cycle lasts 6. For comparison.500 km. Due to tidal acceleration. the longest eclipse of the 21st century will occur on July 22.8 cm more distant each year. The width of the track of a central eclipse varies according to the relative apparent diameters of the Sun and Moon. After a Saros cycle finishes. hence its name: in-ex. The Earth is also rotating from west to east. but it is very convenient in the classification of eclipse cycles. which means that after this period a practically identical eclipse will occur. it has been estimated that they recur at any given place only once every 370 years. ACTIVITIES DURING SOLAR ECLIPSE A marked drop of the intensity of the solar radiation occurs during solar eclipse. when a total eclipse occurs very close to perigee. the Moon was too close to the Earth to precisely occult the Sun as it does during eclipses today. the Moon's umbra (or antumbra.585. The Saros cycle is probably the best known. the track can be over 250 km wide and the duration of totality may be over 7 minutes. Even on Earth. If the date and time of any solar eclipse are known. A Saros lasts 1226 to 1550 years and 69 to 87 eclipses. and the Earth at aphelion. so it almost always appears to move in a roughly west-east direction across a map of the Earth (there are some rare exceptions to this which can occur during an eclipse of the midnight sun in Arctic or Antarctic regions). spectacular eclipses of the type familiar to people today are a temporary (on a geological time scale) phenomenon. The total eclipse only lasts for a few minutes at that location. in the case of an annular eclipse) moves rapidly from west to east across the Earth. 1973 (7 min 3 sec). the distance from the Earth to the Moon will have increased by 23. It is estimated that in 600 million years. and ends at the opposite polar region. Totality can never last more than 7 min 31 s. The most notable difference will be a shift of 120° in longitude (due to the 0. This will be true even when the Moon is at perigee. Observers aboard a Concorde aircraft were able to stretch totality to about 74 minutes by flying along the path of the Moon's umbra.3 days) and a little in latitude. The Inex FINAL TOTALITY Spectacular solar eclipses are an extreme rarity within the universe at large. The last time this happened was June 30. They are seen on Earth because of a fortuitous combination of circumstances that are statistically very improbable. it is possible to predict other eclipses using eclipse cycles. the orbit of the Moon around the Earth becomes approximately 3. Many millions of years in the past. with about 40 to 60 central. The next eclipse exceeding seven minutes in duration will not occur until June 25. OCCURRENCE AND CYCLES Total solar eclipses are rare events. a new Saros cycle begins one Inex later. cycle is itself a poor cycle. meaning that it will no longer be able to completely cover the Sun's disk. The longest total solar eclipse during the 8. It influences the actions in the atmosphere. Two such cycles are the Saros and the Inex. We can therefore say that the last total solar eclipse on Earth will occur in slightly less than 600 million years. it will be too far away to do so. Although they occur somewhere on Earth every 18 months on average. a partial eclipse can usually be seen over a much larger area of the Earth. A complicating factor is that the Sun will increase in size over this timescale.3 days (a little over 18 years). eclipse cycles. This makes it even more unlikely that the Moon will be able to cause a total eclipse. and is usually much shorter: during each millennium there are typically fewer than 10 total solar eclipses exceeding 7 minutes. but the umbra always moves faster than any given point on the Earth's surface. In the most favourable circumstances. 2150. on average. as the Moon's umbra moves eastward at over 1700 km/h. Outside of the central track. and many millions of years in the future. when totality will last 7 min 29 s.

he links an eclipse that occurred May 10. The progressions of the quantities are usually detected by special weather stations because of a short duration of a total (annular) solar eclipse. probably near the Halys river in the middle of modern Turkey. Soldiers on both sides put down their weapons and declared peace as a result of the eclipse.g. 2807 BC with a possible meteor impact in the Indian Ocean. Research has manifested the inability of total solar eclipses to serve as explanations for the recorded Good Friday features of the crucifixion eclipse. and that these two eclipse records have been ignored so far. Also known as the eclipse of Bur Sagale.e. MEASURING OF THE LIGHT EINSTEIN'S INFLEXION Historical eclipses are a valuable resource for historians. 478 BC. Acquired results show very interesting variations in progressions of meteorological and physical quantities (e. the moon's light was merely light reflected from the sun) was existent in Chinese thought from about the 6th century BC (in the Zhi Ran of Zhi Ni Zi). a longer lens is needed (over 500mm). although the issue has been studied by hundreds of ancient and modern authorities. after the departure of Mardonius to Thessaly at the beginning of the spring of (477 BC) and his second attack on Athens.) The ancient Chinese astronomer Shi Shen (fl. A solar eclipse of June 15. on the basis of several ancient flood myths that mention a total solar eclipse. There have been other claims to date earlier eclipses. as Herodotus recorded. but these are highly disputed and rely on much supposition. colour of the solar radiation). The sky suddenly darkened in the middle of the day. 477 BC. while Xerxes was departing for his expion against Greece. One likely candidate took place on May 28. (Good Friday is recorded as being at Passover. Note that the modern conventional dates are different by a year or two. An annular eclipse of the Sun occurred at Sardis on February 17. Herodotus also reports that another solar eclipse was observed in Sparta during the next year. and a solar eclipse was reported to have taken place during the Battle of Stiklestad in the summer of 1030. Herodotus wrote that Thales of Miletus predicted an eclipse which occurred during a war between the Medians and the Lydians. . and also in China.g. Exactly which eclipse was involved has remained uncertain. during the 5th year (2084 BC) of the regime of king Zhong Kang of Xia dynasty. high resolution and sensitivity. notably that of Mursili II (likely 1312 BC). The 'radiating influence' theory for a solar eclipse (i. it is the earliest solar eclipse mentioned in historical sources that has been successfully identified.232 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Combisystem 233 The variations of the atmospheric actions display in changes of standard meteorological and physical quantities. so care is advised. after the return of Cleombrotus to Sparta. As with viewing the sun directly. The Chronicle of Ireland recorded a solar eclipse on June 29. 763 BC mentioned in an Assyrian text is important for the Chronology of the Ancient Orient. soil temperature. Perhaps the earliest still-unproven claim is that of archaeologist Bruce Masse. and for the disk to fill most of the frame.. from which other dates and a society's calendar can be deduced. 512 AD.: colour of the light). as he provided instructions in his writing to predict them by using the relative positions of the moon and sun. In order for the disk of the sun/moon to be easily visible. The properties of the devices usually are: high speed of measurement. It has also been attempted to establish the exact date of Good Friday by means of solar eclipses. We can notice it by a measurement of the air temperature and other meteorological quantities (e. PHOTOGRAPHY OF THE PHENOMENON Photographing an eclipse is possible with fairly common film camera equipment. but this research has not yielded conclusive results. looking at it through the viewfinder of a camera can produce damage to the retina. on August 1. 585 BC. well after the battles of Thermopylae and Salamis. in Babylonia.: air humidity. 4th century BC) was aware of the relation of the moon in a solar eclipse. in that they allow a few historical events to be precisely dated. Hind and Chambers considered this absolute date more than a century ago. which is also recorded as being at or near the time of a full moon. and opposed by the Chinese philosopher Wang Chong (27-97 AD). a fairly high magnification telephoto lens is needed (70-200mm for a 35mm camera).

The later Chinese scientist and statesman Shen Kuo (10311035 AD) also wrote of eclipses. but distant by a small amount. the light shines slanting. I replied that these celestial bodies were certainly like balls. However. the sun would be eclipsed whenever the two bodies were in conjunction. and the moon's darkness (pho) is due to (the light of) the sun being obstructed (pi). This damage can result in permanent impairment of vision. except during the brief period of totality. This they receive only when the sun illuminates them. Some of them recognized the moon as a ball too. and so naturally the bodies do not (intrude) upon one another. a telescope. lying one over the other (hsiang tieh). The planets (as well as the moon) have the nature of water and reflect light. Thus we know that the celestial bodies are spherical. if looked at from the front. whether they were like balls or (flat) fans. Under normal conditions. The Chinese astronomer and inventor Zhang Heng (78-139 AD) wrote of both solar and lunar eclipses in the publication of Ling Xian in 120 AD. The light pouring forth from the sun (tang jih chih chhung kuang) does not always reach the moon owing to the obstruction (pi) of the earth itself-this is called 'an-hsü'. so there is no tendency to look at it in a way that might damage the eye. supporting the radiating influence theory that Wang Chong had opposed (Wade-Giles): The sun is like fire and the moon like water. If they were like balls they would surely obstruct (ai) each other when they met. the two paths are not (always) near (each other). When (a similar effect) happens with a planet (we call it) an occulation (hsing wei). The retina has no sensitivity to pain. it is easier and more tempting to stare at it. it will appear round. How do we know this? By the waxing and waning (ying khuei) of the moon. so there is no warning that injury is occurring. since it was Parmenides of Elea around 475 BC who supported the theory of the moon shining because of reflected light. The fire gives out light and the water reflects it. and the side which is away from it is dark. because of the intense visible and invisible radiation that the photosphere emits. Those parts of the moon which the sun illuminates look bright. the sun(-light passes almost) alongside. remain dark. The moon itself gives forth no light. the light is the light of the sun (reflected).234 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Combisystem 235 who made clear in his writing that this theory was nothing new. the covered part will look like a crescent. and they thought the moon had the nature of a mirror. during an eclipse. When the sun gradually gets further away. Unfortunately. can cause permanent damage to the retina of the eye. with so much of the Sun covered. a lunar eclipse. Viewing the Sun's disk through any kind of optical aid (binoculars. it does not occur during a partial or annular eclipse). but is like a ball of silver. and the effects of retinal damage may not appear for hours. those parts which it does not. But (in fact) though they may occupy the same degree. The former masters regarded the sun as round like a crossbow bullet.. and was accepted in the time of Aristotle as well. The ancient Greeks had known this as well.. they have shape but no light. This can be said of Jing Fang's writing in the 1st century BC. up to and including blindness. VIEWING Looking directly at the photosphere of the Sun (the bright disk of the Sun itself). the Sun is so bright that it is difficult to stare at it directly. When the brightness is first seen. and the moon would be eclipsed whenever they were exactly in position. when the moon passes across (kuo)(the sun's path) then there is a solar eclipse (shih). round like a bullet. If half of a sphere is covered with (white) powder and looked at from the side. and his reasoning for why the celestial bodies were round and spherical instead of flat (WadeGiles spelling): The Director of the Astronomical Observatory asked me about the shapes of the sun and moon. (If this obliquity did not exist). . looking at the Sun during an eclipse is just as dangerous as looking at it outside an eclipse. Thus the moon's brightness is produced from the radiance of the sun. The side which faces the sun is fully lit. when the Sun's disk is completely covered (totality occurs only during a total eclipse and only very briefly. and the moon is full. which stated: The moon and the planets are Yin. so the side only is illuminated and looks like a crescent.Since the sun and moon are in conjunction (ho) and in opposition (tui) once a day. even for just a few seconds. why then do they have eclipses only occasionally?' I answered that the ecliptic and the moon's path are like two rings.

During a partial eclipse. or large and fuzzy. These are images of the Sun. a total solar eclipse forms a rare opportunity to observe the corona (the outer layer of the Sun's atmosphere). The safest way to view the Sun's disk is by indirect projection. Normally this is not visible because the photosphere is much brighter than the corona. a related effect that can be seen is anisotropy in the shadows of objects. some darkening may be noticeable. They only occur just prior to and after totality. as well as eclipses. yet. Many professional eclipse chasers have never seen them. when the Sun's photosphere is completely covered by the Moon. Totality then begins with the diamond ring effect. etc. The Sun's disk can be viewed using appropriate filtration to block the harmful part of the Sun's radiation. so they are now brighter on the retina than when looking at a full Sun. During a solar eclipse. As the eye has a small fovea. OTHER OBSERVATIONS For astronomers. If two-thirds or more of the sun is obscured. depending on how much of the sun's disk is obscured. In the partial eclipse path one will not be able to see the spectacular corona or nearly complete darkening of the sky. the light spots will show the partial shape of the Sun. Only properly designed and certified solar filters should ever be used for direct viewing of the Sun's disk. pinhole. since they do not block the harmful and invisible infrared radiation which causes retinal damage. for detailed viewing. viewing the Sun after totality can be dangerous. care must be taken to ensure that no one looks through the projector (telescope. although the camera itself may be damaged by direct exposure to the Sun. If the eclipse is near total. and are very difficult to observe. as seen on the picture. Baily's Beads When the shrinking visible part of the photosphere becomes very small. Unfortunately the remaining parts of the Sun are still just as bright. or indirect viewing methods. appears to be dim. causing damage. According to the point reached in the solar cycle. The Sun's faint corona will be visible. Baily's beads will occur. Another famous phenomenon is shadow bands (also known as flying shadows). the last bright flash of sunlight. The optical viewfinders provided with some video and digital cameras are not safe.) directly. but no longer where mountains are present. binoculars or a telescope. However. and the chromosphere. Normally the spots of light which fall through the small openings between the leaves of a tree. Particularly if the partial . It is very hard to predict this prior to totality. Sunglasses are not safe. These are caused by the sunlight still being able to reach Earth through lunar valleys. have a circular shape. Viewing the Sun's disk on a video display screen (provided by a video camera or digital camera) is safe. The projected image of the Sun can then be safely viewed. as if the sky were overcast. the tendency will be to track the image on to this best part of the retina. or another piece of cardboard with a small hole in it (about 1 mm diameter). as the pupil will close down and reduce the brightness of the whole scene. then an effect can be observed by which the daylight TOTALITY It is safe to observe the total phase of a solar eclipse directly with the unaided eye. it is too dim to be seen through filters. During a partial eclipse. This can be done by projecting an image of the disk onto a white piece of paper or card using a pair of binoculars (with one of the lenses covered). which are similar to shadows on the bottom of a swimming pool. solar prominences. this technique can be used to observe sunspots. yet objects still cast sharp shadows. the corona can appear rather small and symmetric. the low average amount of light causes the pupil to open. and possibly even a solar flare may be seen. a telescope. special (indirect) observations can also be done with the unaided eye only. Partial and Annular Eclipses Viewing the Sun during partial and annular eclipses (and during total eclipses outside the brief period of totality) requires special eye protection. Glancing at the Sun with all or most of its disk visible is unlikely to result in permanent harm. often called a pinhole camera.236 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Combisystem 237 or even an optical camera viewfinder) is even more hazardous. indeed. However.

ECONOMICS. when without the eclipse it would have been lost in the Sun's glare. 1919 OBSERVATIONS The original photograph of the 1919 eclipse which was claimed to confirm Einstein's theory of general relativity. ENERGY AND SYSTEM COSTS In sunny. the unobscured part of the sun acts as an approximate line source of light. because the zone of visibility is very small. On these occasions. The direct observation of a total solar eclipse from space is rather rare. the simultaneous occurrence of a Solar eclipse and a transit of a planet is possible. At one time. The satellite passes over the face of the Sun in about a second. there was a total solar eclipse. the sky will appear much darker than it would otherwise be immediately before sunrise or after sunset. is a conjunction of any planet (not confined exclusively to Mercury or Venus) at the time of a total solar eclipse. BEFORE SUNRISE. but none are large enough to cause an eclipse. though it now appears the data were ambiguous at the time. it is now known that no such planet exists. The only documented case is Gemini 12 in 1966. However. But these events are extremely rare because of their short durations. In 1919. The observation with the Sun between the stars was only possible during totality. At the altitude of the International Space Station. 15232. It is however possible for a solar eclipse to attain totality (or in the event of a partial eclipse. an object would need to be about 3. or transit. the observation of a total solar eclipse helped to confirm Einstein's theory of general relativity. it will not get dark. As with a transit of a planet. which was visible in Northern America. warm locations.35 km across to blot the Sun out entirely. none have ever been found. but this correction was postponed. Observations of eclipses from satellites orbiting above the Earth's atmosphere are of course not subject to weather conditions. an object (especially a planet. 1769. solar eclipse. often Mercury) may be visible near the sunrise or sunset point of the horizon when it could not have been seen without the eclipse. the only way to confirm its existence would have been to observe it during a total solar eclipse. with and without the Sun between them. it looked as though an orbit correction in the middle of March would bring the ISS in the path of totality. some scientists hypothesized that there may be a planet (often given the name Vulcan) even closer to the Sun than Mercury. but still quite rare. typically. Only 5 hours after the transit of Venus on June 4. While there does remain some possibility for small Vulcanoid asteroids to exist. Europe and Northern Asia as partial ARTIFICIAL SATELLITES Artificial satellites can also pass in front of. where freeze protection is not necessary. When this occurs shortly before the former or after the latter. The partial phase of the 2006 total eclipse was visible from the International Space Station. since the stars are then visible. neartotality) before (visual and actual) sunrise or after sunset from a particular location. More common. and a Solar eclipse and a transit of Venus is expected on April 5. Images of the umbra on the Earth's surface taken from Mir and the International Space Station are among the most spectacular eclipse images in history. but a broad penumbra in the perpendicular direction. At first. ECLIPSES AND TRANSITS In principle. in which event the planet will be visible very near the eclipsed Sun. the Sun as seen from Earth. These transits are difficult to watch. AFTER SUNSET The phenomenon of atmospheric refraction makes it possible to observe the Sun (and hence a solar eclipse) even when it is slightly below the horizon. for example. 6757. By comparing the apparent distance between two stars. a batch type solar hot water heater can be extremely . The next anticipated simultaneous occurrence of a Solar eclipse and a transit of Mercury will be on July 5. This was the lowest time difference between a transit of a planet and a solar eclipse in the historical past. Arthur Eddington stated that the theoretical predictions about gravitational lenses were confirmed.238 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Combisystem 239 eclipse is nearly total.Artificial satellites do play an important role in documenting solar eclipses. This means that objects cast shadows which have a very narrow penumbra in one direction.


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cost effective. In higher latitudes, there are often additional design requirements for cold weather, which add to system complexity. This has the effect of increasing the initial cost (but not the lifecycle cost) of a solar hot water system, to a level much higher than a comparable hot water heater of the conventional type. When calculating the total cost to own and operate, a proper analysis will take into consideration that solar energy is free, thus greatly reducing the operating costs, whereas other energy sources, such as gas and electricity, can be quite expensive over time. Thus, when the initial costs of a solar system are properly financed and compared with energy costs, then, in many cases the total monthly cost of solar heat can be less than other more conventional types of hot water heaters (and also in conjunction with an existing hot water heater). In addition, federal and local incentives can be significant. As an example, a 56ft2 solar water heater can cost US $7,500, but that initial cost is reduced to just $3,300 in the US State of Oregon due to federal and state incentives. The system will save approximately US $230 per year, with a payback of 14 years. Lower payback periods are possible based on maximizing sun exposure. In more northerly locations, solar heating used to be less efficient. Usable amounts of domestic hot water were only available in the summer months, on cloudless days, between April and October. During the winter and on cloudy days, the output was poor. Independent surveys have shown that modern systems do not suffer these limitations. There are cases of households in northern climates getting all of their domestic hot water year round from solar alone. Systems have been show to efficiently work as far north as Whitehorse, Yukon (latitude of 60 B 43' N ). The installation costs in the UK used to be prohibitive, on average about £9,000. This is reduced in more recent years to £3,000, with payback period reduced, with the rise in the gas price, to 12 years. As energy prices rise, payback periods shorten accordingly. According to ANRE (a Flemish energy agency, subsidised by the Flemish or Belgian government, a complete, commercial (active) solar hot water system composed of a solar collector (3-4 m²; this

is large enough for 4 people), pipes and tank (again large enough for 4 people) costs around 4000 euro. The installation by a recognised worker costs another 800 euro. Electrabel's home magazine Eandismagazine stated in 2008 that a complete system (including 4m2 of solar collectors and a supply barrel of 200-240 liters) to cost 4500 euro. The system would then pay back itself in 11 years , when the returns are weighed off against a regular electric boiler. Calculation was as follows: a saving of 1875 kWh (which is 50% of the energy requirements in domestic hot water production) x 0.10 euro/kWh = 187, 5 euro's. This multiplied by 11,6 years made 2175 euro's (or the cost of the system with deducted regional tax benefits). In Australia, the cost for an average solar hot water system fully installed is between $1,800 and $2,800. This is after rebates (there is a federal rebate, some state rebates and Renewable Energy Certificates). According to the Department of Environment and Water Resources , the yearly electricity savings are between $300 and $700. This brings the payback period to under 2 years in the best case and under 10 years in the worst case.

SOLAR HOT WATER SYSTEMS Solar hot water systems can be classified in different ways: • The type of collector used • The location of the collector - roof mount, ground mount, wall mount • The location of the storage tank in relation to the collector • The requirement for a pump - active vs passive • The method of heat transfer - open-loop or closed-loop (via heat exchanger) COMPACT SYSTEMS (PASSIVE SYSTEMS) A passive system also known as a monobloc (thermosiphon) system, a compact system consists of a tank for the heated water, a solar collector, and connecting pipes all pre-mounted in a frame. The water flows upward when heated in the panel. When this water enters the tank (positioned higher than the solar panel), it expels some cold water from inside so that the heat transfer takes place without the need for a pump. A typical system for a four-


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person home in a sunny region consists of a tank of 150 to 300 litres (36.9 to 79.2 gallons) and three to four square metres of solar collector panels. A special type of compact system is the Integrated Collector Storage (ICS, Batch Heater) where the tank acts as both storage and solar collector. They are simple and efficient but only suitable in moderate climates with good sunshine. Direct ('open loop') compact systems, if made of metals are not suitable for cold climates. At night the remaining water can freeze and damage the panels, and the storage tank is exposed to the outdoor temperatures that will cause excessive heat losses on cold days. Some compact systems have a primary circuit. The primary circuit includes the collectors and the external part of the tank. Instead of water, a non-toxic antifreeze is used. When this liquid is heated up, it flows to the external part of the tank and transfers the heat to the water placed inside. ('closed loop'). However, direct ('open loop') systems are slightly cheaper and more efficient. A compact system can save up to 4.5 tonnes annually of greenhouse gas emissions. In order to achieve the aims of the Kyoto Protocol, several countries are offering subsidies to the end user. Some systems can work for up to 25 years with minimum maintenance. These kinds of systems can be redeemed in six years, and achieve a positive balance of energy (energy used to build them minus energy they save) of 1.5 years. Most part of the year, when the electric heating element is not working, these systems do not use any external source for power (as water flows due to thermosyphon principle). Flat solar thermal collectors are usually used, but compact systems using vacuum tube collectors are available on the market. These generally give a higher heat yield per square meter in colder climates but cost more than flat plate collector systems.

the carbon savings of a system by 10% to 20%. Conventional low carbon system designs use a mains powered circulation pump whenever the hot water tank is positioned below the solar panels. Most systems in northern Europe are of this type. The storage tank is placed inside the building, and thus requires a controller that measures when the water is hotter in the panels than in the tank. The system also requires a pump for transferring the fluid between the parts. The electronic controllers used by some systems permit a wide range of functionality such as measurement of the energy produced; more sophisticated safety functions; thermostatic and time-clock control of auxiliary heat, hot water circulation loops, or others; display or transfer of error messages or alarms; remote display panels; and remote or local datalogging. Newer zero carbon solar water heating systems are powered by solar electric (photovoltaic or PV) pumps. These typically use a 5-20W PV panel which faces in the same direction as the main solar heating panel and a small, low flow diaphragm pump to pump the water. The most commonly used solar collector is the insulated glazed flat panel. Less expensive panels, like polypropylene panels (for swimming pools) or higher-performing ones like evacuated tube collectors, are sometimes used.

PUMPED SYSTEMS (ACTIVE SYSTEMS) How the solar water heating system is pumped and controlled determines whether it is a zero carbon or a low carbon system. Low carbon systems principally use electricity to circulate the fluid through the collector. The use of electricity typically reduces

SOLAR HEATING THERMAL COLLECTORS There are three main kinds of solar thermal collectors in common use. In order of increasing cost they are: Formed Plastic Collectors, Flat Collectors, and Evacuated Tube Collectors. The efficiency of the system is directly related to heat losses from the collector surface (efficiency being defined as the proportion of heating energy that can be usefully obtained from insulation). Heat losses are predominantly governed by the thermal gradient between the temperature of the collector surface and the ambient temperature. Efficiency decreases when either the ambient temperature falls or as the collector temperature increases. This decrease in efficiency can be mitigated by increasing the insulation of the unit by sealing the unit in glass e.g. flat collectors or providing a vacuum seal e.g. evacuated tube collector. The choice of collector


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is determined by the heating requirements and environmental conditions in which it is employed.

FORMED PLASTIC COLLECTOR Formed plastic collectors (such as polypropylene, EPDM or PET plastics) consist of tubes or formed panels through which water is circulated and heated by the sun's radiation. These are often used for extending the swimming season in swimming pools. In some countries, heating an open-air swimming pool with non-renewable energy sources is not allowed, and then these inexpensive systems offer a good solution. This panel is not suitable for year-round uses like providing hot water for home use, primarily due to its lack of insulation which reduces its effectiveness greatly when the ambient air temperature is lower than the temperature of the fluid being heated. FLAT PLATE COLLECTOR A flat plate collector consists of a thin absorber sheet (usually copper, to which a black or selective coating is applied) backed by a grid or coil of fluid tubing and placed in an insulated casing with a glass cover. Fluid is circulated through the tubing to remove the heat from the absorber and transport it to an insulated water tank, to a heat exchanger or to some other device for using the heated fluid. As an alternative to metal collectors, some new polymer flat plate collectors are now being produced in Europe. These may be wholly polymer, or they may be metal plates behind which are freeze-tolerant water channels made of silicone rubber instead of metal. Polymers, being flexible and therefore freeze-tolerant, are able to contain plain water instead of antifreeze, so that in some cases they are able to plumb directly into existing water tanks instead of needing the tank to be replaced with one using heat exchangers. EVACUATED TUBE COLLECTOR Evacuated tube collectors are made of a series of modular tubes, mounted in parallel, whose number can be added to or reduced as hot water delivery needs change. This type of collector consists of rows of parallel transparent glass tubes, each of which

contains an absorber tube (in place of the absorber plate to which metal tubes are attached in a flat-plate collector). The tubes are covered with a special light-modulating coating. In an evacuated tube collector, sunlight passing through an outer glass tube heats the absorber tube contained within it. The absorber can either consist of copper (glass-metal) or specially-coated glass tubing (glass-glass). The glass-metal evacuated tubes are typically sealed at the manifold end, and the absorber is actually sealed in the vacuum, thus the fact that the absorber and heat pipe are dissimilar metals creates no corrosion problems. The better quality systems use foam insulation in the manifold. low iron glass is used in the higher quality evacuated tubes manufacture. Lower quality evacuated tube systems use the glass coated absorber. Due to the extreme temperature difference of the glass under stagnation temperatures, the glass sometimes shatters. The glass is a lower quality boron silicate material and the aluminum absorber and copper heat pipe are slid down inside the open top end of the tube. Moisture entering the manifold around the sheet metal casing is eventually absorbed by the glass fibre insulation and then finds its way down into the tubes. This leads to corrosion at the absorber/heat pipe interface area, also freeze ruptures of the tube itself if the tube fills sufficiently with water. Two types of tube collectors are distinguished by their heat transfer method: the simplest pumps a heat transfer fluid (water or antifreeze) through a U-shaped copper tube placed in each of the glass collector tubes. The second type uses a sealed heat pipe that contains a liquid that vapourises as it is heated. The vapour rises to a heat-transfer bulb that is positioned outside the collector tube in a pipe through which a second heat transfer liquid (the water or antifreeze) is pumped. For both types, the heated liquid then circulates through a heat exchanger and gives off its heat to water that is stored in a storage tank (which itself may be kept warm partially by sunlight). Evacuated tube collectors heat to higher temperatures, with some models providing considerably more solar yield per square metre than flat panels. However, they are more expensive and fragile than flat panels. Evacuated heat tubes perform better than flat plate collectors in cold climates because they only rely on the

The DIY-solar hot water systems are being used both in the developed world. It comprises a glass substrate.246 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Combisystem 247 light they receive and not the outside temperature. DIY SOLAR HOT WATER SYSTEMS With an ever rising diy-community and their increasing environmental awareness. evacuated tubes can maintain their efficiency over a wide range of ambient temperatures and heating requirements. because it is highly transparent (low optical losses). will produce an endothermic reaction which cools the air. They are well suited to extremely cold ambient temperatures and work well in situations of consistently lowlight. Although glass is brittle. however this has changed as the technology has advanced to maximize the absorption area. the efficient but costly evacuated tube collectors have net benefit in winter and also give real advantage in the summer months.Tubes come in different levels of quality so the different kinds have to be examined as well. it is a good material for this purpose. and is configured to transmit visible light and infrared radiation. possibly with some refraction. and an interference layer. due to the reflection coefficient caused by its index of refraction being higher than air. known as the "first surface". relatively inexpensive. depending on the angle of incidence. When employed in arrays of 20 to 30 or more. a fairly high temperature to be reached with pumped solar panels with no auxiliary power supply. as in the developing world to generate hot water. For a given absorber area. and fairly easy to clean. They also have the same performance in similar light conditions summer and winter. Most of the solar energy is transmitted through the glass substrate to the lower layers of the mirror. In extremely hot climates. . chemically inert. will reflect some of the incident solar energy. The high stagnation temperatures can cause antifreeze to break down. The absorber area only occupied about 50% of the collector panel on early designs. Its purpose is to protect the other layers from abrasion and corrosion. desiccant cycles and solar-mechanical processes. Through the internet. and people have sprung up building them for their own domestic requirements. where high water temperatures or steam need to be generated. Properly designed evacuated tubes have a life expectancy of over 25 years which greatly adds to their value. so careful consideration must be used if selecting this type of system in temperate climates. a reflective layer for reflecting the solar energy. SOLAR THERMAL COOLING Solar thermal cooling can be achieved via absorption refrigeration cycles. fairly hard (abrasion resistant). The absorption cycle solar cooling system works like a refrigerator in that it uses hot water to compress a gas that. The same pumped solar thermal installation can be used for producing hot water for the whole year. High quality units can efficiently absorb diffuse solar radiation present in cloudy conditions and are unaffected by wind. The main problem currently is that the absorber machine works with liquid at 90 °C. flat-plate collectors will generally be a more cost-effective solution than evacuated tubes. resistant to UV. SOLAR MIRROR A Solar mirror is a reflective surface used for gathering and reflecting solar energy in a system being powered by solar energy. They are also used in industrial applications. The top surface. people have begun building their own (small-scale) solar hot water systems from scratch. once expanded. It is composed of a float glass with high optical transmission characteristics in the visible and infrared ranges. the community is able to attain plans to solar hot water systems. It can also be used for cooling in the summer and partially heating the building in winter. COMPONENTS Glass Substrate The glass substrate is the top layer of the mirror in which solar energy is transmitted. The purpose of the solar mirror is to achieve a substantially concentrated reflection factor for solar energy systems. DIY solar hot water systems are usually much cheaper than their commercial counterparts and installation costs can sometimes be avoided as well.

photocell percent conversion efficiency actually increased at higher levels of concentration. This is useful for space heating and heating water.248 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Combisystem 249 Reflective Layer The reflective layer is designed to reflect the maximum amount of solar energy incident upon it. and (presumably) its higher cost is justified due to higher efficiency and longevity. which reduces the mirror's resistance to corrosion and makes it more susceptible to abrasion (i. for generating electricity. are capable of converting efficiently up to 250 times as much radiation as is normally provided by simple exposure to direct sunlight. normal to the direction of the sun. For higher temperature applications. The reflective layer has a high refractive index (see dielectric). a task normally assigned to flat or parabolic arrays of solar mirrors. It is designed for diffuse?-reflectance of near-ultraviolet radiation. or supplying a heat engine or turbineelectrical generator. back through the glass substrate. if cooled. including solar power satellites. In order to enhance reflection in the near-UV region of the spectrum. Were this interference layer not present. The use of silver as the reflective layer leads to higher efficiency levels. Some types of PV cell. in order to prevent it from passing through the glass substrate. In tests done by Sewang Yoon and Vahan Garboushian. and not on the bottom surface. and the bottom is covered with a protective coating which usually comprises a copper layer and varnish. Locating the aluminum layer on the first surface. Photovoltaic Augmentation Photovoltaic cells (PV) which can convert solar radiation directly into electricity are quite expensive per unit area. aluminum is often not used as the reflective layer for a solar mirror. exposes it to weathering. The reflective layer comprises a highly reflective layer of thin silver plating. For this reason silver is a higher performance reflector material. wherein an aluminum layer would have to be placed on the top surface of the glass substrate. it would allow near-ultraviolet radiation to pass into the glass substrate and through to the reflective layer. Despite the use of aluminum in generic mirrors. Terrestrial Applications Solar thermal systems have been constructed to produce "concentrated solar power" (CSP). Interference Layer An interference layer is located on the first surface of the glass substrate. Adding a protective layer to the aluminum would reduce its reflectivity. Terrestrial Application To date no large scale testing has been performed on this concept. such as cooking. Despite being relatively sensitive to abrasion and corrosion. The interference layer is composed predominantly of titanium dioxide. . This would substantially enhance the overall reflection of near-ultraviolet radiation from the mirror. Solar Thermal Applications The intensity of solar thermal energy from solar radiation at the surface of the earth is is about 1 kilowatt of energy per square meter of area. e. Space Power Application "Solar dynamic" energy systems have been proposed for various spacecraft applications. under clear-sky conditions. the thickness of this layer may be optimized for its interference effects.g. provided external cooling is available to the photocells. for Amonix Corp. often by significant amounts. Presumably this is because the increased cost of the reflectors and cooling generally is not economically justified. This is because of aluminum's reflection factor in the UV region of the spectrum. scratching). gallium arsenide. because it is the most reflective metal. the maximum collector temperature is about 80-100 deg C. Another configuration is the trough system. the silver layer is protected by the (glass) substrate on top. where a reflector focuses sunlight on to a heat engine such as the Brayton cycle type. this energy must be concentrated.e. The large Sandia Lab solar power tower uses a Stirling engine heated by a solar mirror concentrator. When solar energy is unconcentrated.

Some planets will be destroyed. Ideas concerning the origin and fate of the world date from the earliest known writings. moons. Immanuel Kant. Many moons have formed from circling discs of gas and dust around their parent planets. the models have been both challenged and refined to account for new observations. geology. including astronomy. known as the nebular hypothesis. asteroids. Ultimately. Znamya-3 never flew. who wrote about systems called "Lunetta". This widely accepted model. Its subsequent development has interwoven a variety of scientific disciplines . Since the dawn of the space age in the 1950s and the discovery of extrasolar planets in the 1990s. This conception had been gestating for millennia. The positions of the planets often shifted. forming the Sun. A preliminary series of experiments called Znamya was performed by Russia. from which the power is then transmitted to receiver stations on earth. Krafft Arnold Ehricke. as in the case of the Earth's Moon. however. Most of the collapsing mass collected in the centre. the gravity of passing stars gradually will whittle away at the Sun's retinue of planets. An early proponent of this concept was Dr. has fallen into and out of favour since its formulation by Emanuel Swedenborg. The first recorded use of the term "Solar System" dates from 1704. Immanuel Kant. "Biosoletta". existed. the nebular hypothesis. The next flight Znamya-2. After visiting the EO-12 crew aboard the Mir space station the Progress-TM-15 then undocked and deployed the reflector this mission was successful. The Solar System has evolved considerably since its initial formation. before casting off its outer layers as a planetary nebula. designated Znamya-2. there was no attempt to link such theories to the existence of a "Solar System". physics. and planets have switched places. the model which placed the Sun at the centre of the system and the Earth in orbit around it. In the far distant future. 4. for almost all of that time.250 Solar Energy and its Uses The Solar Combisystem 251 Solar Power Satellite Application Theoretically. while other moons are believed to have been bodies captured by their planets or. and planetary science. the Sun will cool and expand outward to many times its current diameter (becoming a red giant). and other small Solar System bodies formed. was first developed in the 18th century by Emanuel Swedenborg. Several options were studied by Boeing corporation. over the course of trillions of years. In roughly 5 billion years. captioned "Architecture 4.6 billion years ago with the gravitational collapse of a small part of a giant molecular cloud. the authors describe a system of solar mirrors used to augment the power of some nearby solar collectors. but was widely accepted only by the end of the 17th century. while the rest flattened into a protoplanetary disc out of which the planets. it is likely that the Sun will be left alone with no bodies in orbit around it. others ejected into interstellar space. The first. In their Fig. was launched aboard Progress-TM-15 on 27 October 1992. to have resulted from giant collisions. and Pierre- Space Reflectors for Night Illumination Another advanced space concept proposal is the notion of Space Reflectors which reflect sunlight on to small spots on the night side of the Earth to provide night time illumination. and leaving behind a stellar corpse known as a white dwarf. This planetary migration now is believed to have been responsible for much of the Solar System's early evolution. and Pierre-Simon Laplace. The first step toward a theory of Solar System formation and evolution was the general acceptance of heliocentrism. in the sense we now understand it. "Soletta". Formation and Evolution of the Solar System The formation and evolution of the Solar System is estimated to have begun 4. simply because it was not generally known that the Solar System. solar mirrors could reduce PV cell costs and launch costs since they are expected to be both lighter and cheaper than equivalent large areas of PV cells. GEO Harris Wheel". The current standard theory for Solar System formation. "Powersoletta". One interesting theoretical method to construct such an orbiting solar mirror is the "tension stabilized steerable orbiting mirror". for space-based solar power satellite designs.5 failed. Collisions between bodies have occurred continually up to the present day and have been central to the evolution of the solar system.

Eddington went further and suggested that other elements also might form within stars. In 1935. these elements would then be recycled to form other star systems. At first it was regarded as impractical due to the lack of a workable method of sending power collected down to the Earth's surface. It is a renewable energy source. The SPS concept was first described in November 1968 .S. from an SPS to the Earth's surface) using microwaves . This changed in 1973 when Peter Glaser was granted U. industry. and only generates waste as a product of manufacture and maintenance.647 for his method of transmitting power over long distances (eg. as originally proposed would be a satellite built in high Earth orbit that uses microwave power transmission to beam solar power to a very large antenna on Earth. exactly as the nebular hypothesis predicts... When a red giant finally casts off its outer layers. However. unaffected by the day/night cycle. Advantages of placing the solar collectors in space include the unobstructed view of the Sun. The most significant criticism of the hypothesis was its apparent inability to explain the Sun's relative lack of angular momentum when compared to the planets. or seasons.252 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Power Satellite 253 Simon Laplace in the 18th century. patent number 3. and SPS will not be able to compete with conventional sources (at current energy prices) unless at least one of the following conditions is met: • Sufficiently low launch costs can be achieved • A determination (by governments. . weather. Arthur Stanley Eddington's confirmation of Albert Einstein's theory of relativity led to his realisation that the Sun's energy comes from nuclear fusion reactions in its core. zero emission after putting the solar cells in orbit. 8 SOLAR POWER SATELLITE A solar power satellite. which has led to its re-acceptance. and avoiding future conflict over dwindling energy sources. However.781. since the early 1980s studies of young stars have shown them to be surrounded by cool discs of dust and gas. loss of life. Fred Hoyle elaborated on this premise by arguing that evolved stars called red giants created many elements heavier than hydrogen and helium in their cores. military spending. the costs of construction are very high. • Conventional energy costs increase sufficiently to provoke serious search for alternative energy In common with other types of renewable energy such a system could have advantages to the world in terms of energy security via reduction in levels of conflict. or SPS or Powersat.) is made that the disadvantages of fossil fuel use are so large they must be substantially replaced. Understanding of how the Sun will continue to evolve required an understanding of the source of its power.

SOLAR ENERGY CONVERSION (SOLAR PHOTONS TO DC CURRENT) Two basic methods of converting photons to electricity have been studied. NASA became interested and signed a contract with ADL to lead four other companies in a broader study in 1974. At some cost point.254 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Power Satellite 255 from a very large (up to one square kilometer) antenna on the satellite to a much larger one on the ground. Solar photons will be converted to electricity aboard the SPS spacecraft. as a result of the widely varying costs of electricity which sometimes approach (or even exceed) this point. In addition. This will be considerably lighter than any similar structure on Earth since it will be in a zero-g. solar dynamic (SD) and photovoltaic (PV). More recently. They found that. and much larger. Glaser then worked at Arthur D. Energy. it showed enough promise to merit further investigation and research. Inc. the SPS concept has again become interesting. The study remains the most extensive performed to date. Little. increased energy costs. The simple aspects include the physical structure required to hold the SPS together and to align it orthogonally to the Sun.. aimed at Earth 3. typically made up of solar cells 2.chiefly the expense of putting the required materials in orbit and the lack of experience on projects of this scale in space. continued advances in material science and space transport continue to whittle away at the startup cost of an SPS. By some estimates. this has already happened in some locations.1981 the US Congress authorized DOE and NASA to jointly investigate. together investigating most of the possible problems with such an engineering project. as a vice-president. there was no follow up work as the political climate had shifted against such projects. while the concept had several major problems -. and Land) • Financial/Management Scenarios • Public Acceptance • State and Local Regulations as Applied to Satellite Power System Microwave Receiving Antenna Facilities • Student Participation • Potential of Laser for SPS Power Transmission • International Agreements • Centralization/Decentralization • Mapping of Exclusion Areas For Rectenna Sites • Economic and Demographic Issues Related to Deployment • Some Questions and Answers • Meteorological Effects on Laser Beam Propagation and Direct Solar Pumped Lasers • Public Outreach Experiment • Power Transmission and Reception Technical Summary and Assessment • Space Transportation • Office of Technology Assessment After these studies were published. starting in 1997 with the NASA "Fresh Look" however funding is still minimal. . one or more paired. During the period from 1978 . The DOE study conclusions were critical of the project's possibilities. which came to be known as a rectenna. Confused press reports claimed. and that electricity will be fed to an array of Klystron tubes which will generate the microwave beam. In 2007. and emission implications. a solar collector. due to increased energy demand. vacuum environment and will not need to support itself against a gravity field and needs no protection from terrestrial wind or weather. the US Department of Defense expressed interest in the concept. that the concept had been found infeasible. They include: • Resource Requirements (Critical Materials. The SPS essentially consists of three parts: 1. a microwave antenna on the satellite. Several reports were published addressing various issues. antennas (rectennas) on the Earth's surface SPACECRAFT DESIGN In many ways. the SPS is a simpler conceptual design than most power generation systems previously proposed. incorrectly. They organized the Satellite Power System Concept Development and Evaluation Program . the high initial costs of an SPS project will become favourable due to the low-cost delivery of power.

A major advantage of space solar is the efficiency with which huge mirrors can be supported and pointed in zero gravity and vacuum conditions of space. CPV designs with a small area of 40%+ efficient cells and large reflector area are less expensive to produce. the power produced will drop very quickly. because most proposed designs require accurate and stable optical focus. amorphous-silicon designs require much less energy to produce but are less efficient. all other things being equal. and will likely be rather different from the glass panel protected solar cell panels familiar to many and in current terrestrial use. PV uses semiconductor cells (e. Terrestrial solar dynamic systems typically use a large reflector to focus sunlight to a high concentration to achieve a high temperature so the heat engine can operate at high thermodynamic efficiencies. They can be constructed with very thin aluminum or other metal sheets and very light frames. this may be significant if lunar manufacturing is planned.out of the energy .. perhaps to near zero. and lenses to achieve high concentration ratios and are able to reach efficiencies above 40% Concentrating Photovoltaic Technology. On Earth. for reasons of weight. In addition. But. the materials used in some PV cells (eg. on the Moon's surface). and meteorite strikes on control mechanisms. CPV should be lighter. large area to be acceptable for a significantly sized power station. having been in widespread use on Earth in many contexts for centuries. CPV. easily constructed from materials available in space (eg. AND SD The main problems with non-concentrating PV are that PV cells continue to be relatively expensive. These are commonly known as "solar cells". vibration. gallium and arsenic) seem to be less common in lunar materials than is silicon. mirrors. since it replaces the thermal power plant (except for a radiator for waste heat) with a much lighter PV array. PV cells weigh between 0. If some practical protection can be designed this also might be reducible (eg. they also use tracking systems. It is also possible to use Concentrating Photovoltaic (CPV) systems. As well. They will. semiconductor PV panels will require a relatively large amount of energy to produce. Because their PV area is rather smaller than for conventional PV. if an SD or CPV array orientation drifts a few degrees. silicon or gallium arsenide) to directly convert sunlight photons into voltage via a quantum mechanical mechanism. as with SD systems. the majority of the deployed collecting area in CPV systems is mirrors.5kg/kW and 10kg/kW depending on design. probably be built in a membrane form not suitable to terrestrial use which is subject to considerable gravitational loading. and require a relatively WORKING LIFETIME The lifetime of a PV based SPS is limited mainly by the ionizing radiation from the radiation belts and the Sun. the power being produced will drop a few percent. Deterioration is likely to be more rapid during periods of high exposure to energetic protons from solar particle events. radiation and particle shields for the PV cells -. If a PV array orientation drifts a few degrees. limits on usable reaction mass (though electrically powered gyros would avoid that problem). Two heat cycles for solar dynamic are thought to be reasonable for this: the Brayton cycle or the Stirling cycle.g. so they share the advantages of building and pointing large (simple) mirror arrays in space as opposed to (complex) PV panels. an SPS implementation will be similar. being without terrestrial wind and gravitation loads. Both CPV and SD systems have more severe pointing requirements than PV. SD designs also vary but most seem to be heavier per kW produced than PV cells and thus have higher launch costs. solar wind. this is likely to cause the cells to continuously degrade by about a percent or two per year. Currently. for a CPV station. Without some method of protection. but it has its own problems of gyroscopic action. thus avoiding thermodynamic constraints which apply to heat engines. SD is a more mature technology. Aiming reflector arrays requires much less energy in space than on Earth. COMPARISON OF PV.256 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Power Satellite 257 SD uses a heat engine to drive a piston or a turbine which connects to a generator or dynamo. which like SD are a form of existing terrestrial Concentrating Solar Energy approaches which convert concentrated light into electricity by PV.

For current silicon PV panels the energy needs are relatively high. and so the ability to cause ionization. The relative merits of PV vs SD is still an open question. Earth based power handling systems must always be carefully designed. such as micrometeorite impact.75 kWh/kg for a 100% efficiency system to lift a kg from the surface of the earth to GEO. With SPS net energy received on the ground is higher (more or less necessarily so. metal fatigue of turbine blades. the material does not need to be launched a second time. and typically several years of deployment in a terrestrial environment is needed to recover this energy. so this energy payback period would be somewhat reduced. thus thermal efficiency will not be in itself an important design parameter except insofar as it affects the power/weight ratio via operational efficiency and hence pushes up launch costs. most mirror surfaces will degrade from both radiation and particle impact. are more similar to conventional power stations and are likely to be less energy intensive. a microwave-powered model helicopter that . and typically three-four years of deployment in a terrestrial environment is needed to recover this energy. but such mirrors can be designed simply (and so light and cheap). This established an upper bound for the frequency used. As well. instead of warming the adjacent local biosphere as with conventional sources. are more similar to conventional powerstations and are likely to be less energy intensive and would be expected to give quicker energy break even. William C. from loss of structural integrity leading to impaired optical focus amongst components. being made of conventional materials. of course). Clearly for a system (including manufacture. increases with frequency. about 6 weeks. With SPS net energy received on the ground is higher (more or less necessarily so. launch and deployment) to provide net power it must repay the energy needed to construct it. with operational thermal efficiency in mind. for the system to be worth deploying). depending on construction technology. The power could be transmitted as either microwave or laser radiation at a variety of frequencies depending on system design. In theory. and from temperature extremes effects. launch and deployment) to provide net power it must repay the energy needed to construct it. It takes 14. Even with 3% efficient rockets. so this energy payback period would be reduced to about a year. another advantage of the SPS design is that waste heat developed at collection points is re-radiated back into space. Brown demonstrated in 1964 on CBS news with Walter Cronkite. for both economic and purely engineering reasons. the energy payback time is only WIRELESS POWER TRANSMISSION TO THE EARTH Wireless power transmission was early proposed to transfer energy from collection to the Earth's surface. Lifetimes for SD based SPS designs will be limited by structural and mechanical considerations. depending on construction technology. Solar satellites pay back the lift energy in a remarkably short time. They would be expected to give quicker energy break even. If the satellite generated a kW with 2kg of mass. One useful 'trick' SPS has up its sleeve is that at the end of life. for the system to be worth deploying). In either case. degradation or loss of lubricants and working fluids in vacuum. potentially at a significantly lower cost than launching an SPS from new. however SD. (For example SD may require larger radiators when operating at a lower efficiency). ENERGY PAYBACK Clearly for a system (including manufacture. so replacement may be practical. the payback time would be 29.For current silicon PV panels the energy needs are relatively high. wear of sliding surfaces (although this might be avoidable by hydrostatic bearings or magnetic bearings). This might allow a very expensive launch cost to be paid for over multiple satellite lifetimes. Thermal systems being made of conventional materials. Whatever choice is made. as energy per photon. it would be possible to recycle the satellite 'on-site'. the transmitting radiation would have to be non-ionizing to avoid potential disturbances either ecologically or biologically if it is to reach the Earth's surface.5 hours.258 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Power Satellite 259 path from the mirrors. Ionization of biological materials doesn't begin until ultraviolet or higher frequencies so most radio frequencies will be acceptable for this.

However. triple junction gallium arsenide) solar cells with a maximum efficiency of 40.45 GHz has been proposed as being a reasonable compromise. connected via diodes. To minimize the sizes of the antennas used. used in standard RF (Radio Frequency) antenna design. EARTH BASED INFRASTRUCTURE The Earth-based receiver antenna (or rectenna) is a critical part of the original SPS concept. 2.700 km). the ground antenna (rectenna) should be elliptical. as the thin wires used for support and for the dipoles will only slightly reduce sunlight. increased debris collision difficulties. it is not known whether this would be an improvement over a GEO installation. the satellite antenna should be circular and about 1 kilometers in diameter or larger. both for the transmitting and receiving antennas. For the desired (23mW/ cm²) microwave intensity these antennas could transfer between 5 and 10 gigawatts of power. And. ADVANTAGES OF AN SPS The SPS concept is attractive because space has several major advantages over the Earth's surface for the collection of solar SPACECRAFT SIZING The sizing will be dominated by the distance from Earth to geostationary orbit (22. In either cases. lower cost to orbit) and disadvantages (constantly changing antenna geometries. to collect and convert that much power. For these reasons. the wavelength should be small (and frequency correspondingly high) since antenna efficiency increases as antenna size increases. the system needs to operate at maximum capacity. A loitering stratospheric airship has been proposed to receive higher frequencies (or even laser beams). and the laws of physics. There would be advantages. etc). making it larger than most man-made structures here on Earth.) Smaller antennas would result in increased losses to diffraction/sidelobes. (much shorter path length allowing smaller antenna sizes. the chosen wavelength of the microwaves. To be most cost effective.45 GHz for retransmission to the ground. but the cost and complexity is also considerably greater. specifically the Rayleigh Criterion or Diffraction limit. For best efficiency. the satellite would need between 50 and 100 square kilometers of collector area (if readily available ~14% . the angular beam width is inversely proportional to the aperture of the antenna. Crops and farm animals may be raised underneath a rectenna. converting them to something like 2. LEO/MEO INSTEAD OF GEO A LEO system of space power stations has been proposed as a precursor to GEO space power beaming system(s). 35. It might be possible to deploy LEO systems sooner than GEO because the antenna development would take less time.7% could reduce the necessary collector area by two thirds. The proposal has not been as carefully evaluated for engineering plausibility as other aspects of SPS design. measured in units of the transmission wavelength. the SPS's structure would be kilometers wide. The highest frequencies that can be used are limited by water vapor and CO2 absorption of air at higher microwave frequencies. because full engineering feasibility studies have not been conducted.260 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Power Satellite 261 received all the power needed for flight from a microwave beam. Ultimately. quite expensive. 10km wide. so such a rectenna would not be as expensive in terms of land use as might be supposed. efficient monocrystalline silicon solar cells were deployed). (Typically 14km at some North American latitudes. Rectennas would be multiple kilometers across. Between 1969 and 1975 Bill Brown was technical director of a JPL Raytheon program that beamed 30 kW over a distance of 1 mile at 84% efficiency. the reception efficiency is still better. and a length that makes the rectenna appear circular from GSO.300 miles. but would not necessarily give overall lower costs. that frequency results in large antenna sizes at the GEO distance. With a conventional microwave antenna. State of the art (currently. building structures of this size in orbit has not yet been attempted. More precisely. It would probably consist of many short dipole antennas. While almost certainly not beyond current engineering capabilities. Microwaves broadcast from the SPS will be received in the dipoles with about 85% efficiency. almost certainly prohibitively so.

000 metric tons for the solar panels for the same 4 GW capacity station. To give an idea of the scale of the problem. assuming an (arbitrary. These sizes can be somewhat decreased by using shorter wavelengths. the 1978 NASA SPS study required a 1-km diameter transmitting antenna. The large size of the transmitting and receiving antennas means that the minimum practical power level for an SPS will necessarily be high. Calculations show that launch costs of less than about $180225 per pound ($400-500/kg) to LEO (Low Earth orbit) seem to be necessary. where it would likely be converted into subassembly solar arrays. oil storage tanks. Additionally. SPS poses no such problems. an SPS would be illuminated over 99% of the time. or any significant mass reduction of any focusing mirrors) a 4 GW power station would weigh about 80. meaning 4. Very lightweight designs could likely achieve 1 kg/kW. This puts the economics of an SPS design into the practicable range. Reusable vehicles could quite conceivably attack the launch problem as well. is currently a matter of debate.g.. in current circumstances. but are not a well-developed technology. SPS would create new jobs and opportunities for companies. There is no air in space. for a microwave beam at 2. unaffected by weather. etc) necessary in many Earth-based power generation systems. an SPS will avoid entirely the polluting consequences of fossil fuel systems. which raises the possibility that high efficiency (but slower) engines could move SPS material from LEO to GEO at acceptable cost. The SPS would be in Earth's shadow on only a few days at the spring and fall equinoxes. small SPS systems will be possible. SPS is also applicable on a global scale. The industrial capacity needed to construct and maintain such constructions would significantly reduce the cost of other space endeavours. the potential amount of power production is enormous. However. Power beaming from geostationary orbit by microwaves has the difficulty that the required 'optical aperture' sizes are very large. instead of tens of billions. This allows the power generation system to avoid the expensive storage facilities (e. This would be the equivalent of between 40 and 80 heavy-lift launch vehicle (HLLV) launches to send the material to low earth orbit. Current rates on the Space Shuttle run between $3. Examples include ion thrusters or nuclear propulsion.000 metric tons.45 GHz. SPS provides an incentive to stabilise and a sustained opportunity to lease land for launch sites. and a 10 km diameter receiving rectenna. Politically. the upper limit is vastly higher still. such arrangements are called Dyson spheres.. For nations on the equator. economies of scale for expendable vehicles could give rather large reductions in launch cost for this kind of launched mass. as no space-ready design has been adequately tested) solar panel mass of 20 kg per kilowatt (without considering the mass of the supporting structure.262 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Power Satellite 263 power. which then could use high-efficiency ion-engine style rockets to PROBLEMS Launch Costs Without doubt. More long-term.600/kg and $11. Thousands of rocket launches could very well reduce the costs by ten to twenty times. antenna. depending on whose numbers are used. be launched from the Earth. it is not possible to make a narrower beam by combining the beams of several smaller satellites. Much of the material launched need not be delivered to its eventual orbit immediately. lakes behind dams.000 and $5. If power stations can be placed outside Earth orbit. but uneconomic. Because of the thinned array curse. let alone the developed world. the ecological problems resulting from many renewable or low impact power generation systems (eg. . although they have increased atmospheric absorption and even potential beam blockage by rain or water droplets.000 per pound ($6. using standard costing models. so the collecting surfaces would receive much more intense sunlight.000/kg) to low Earth orbit. Whether bio-fuels can support the western world. dams). and even then for a maximum of 75 minutes late at night when power demands are at their lowest. They might even be designed to be reusable. For example. all of which would. In geostationary orbit. In the extreme. the most obvious problem for the SPS concept is the current cost of space launches. Nuclear power especially is something many governments would be reluctant to sell to developing nations. A manned trip to mars (for example) might only cost hundreds of millions.

Once built. January 2006) and an SPS's ability to send its energy to places of greatest demand (depending on rectenna siting issues).000 ton mining vehicle (to be assembled in orbit) that would return a 500. likely unrealistically. Asteroid mining has also been seriously considered.93 billion per year or $38. With current market prices of $0. that represents nearly a 95% reduction in launch costs. current SPS designs will generate 8.75 terawatt-hours of electricity per year. which could be arranged to be the spent rocket stages used to launch the payload. total launch costs would range between $20 billion (low cost HLLV. Economies of scale on such a large launch program could be as high as 90% (if a learning factor of 30% could be achieved for each doubling of production) over the cost of a single launch today. In addition. this would equate to $1. Congressional money and imagination permitting. So how much money could an SPS be expected to make? For every one gigawatt rating. With an estimated serial launch cost for shuttle-based HLLVs of $500 million to $800 million. Space Elevators More recently the SPS concept has been suggested as a use for a space elevator. under NASA contract NAS9-15560. much less on the Moon. concluded that use of lunar resources would be cheaper than terrestrial materials for a system of as few as thirty Solar Power Satellites of 10GW capacity each. and that the asteroid miner itself couldn't be reused. or 175 TWoh over a twentyyear lifetime. heavier panels). NASA's CEV should be capable of beginning such a survey. possibly making them competitive . thus far. and probably one or more smaller one(s) in GEO. this proposal suffers from the current lack of such automated systems on Earth. it may turn out to be substantially cheaper to recast onsite steel in GEO. there would be the cost of an assembly area in LEO (which could be spread over several power satellites). due to the lower gravity. There has been no such survey. Lofstrom Launch Loop A Lofstrom loop could conceivably provide the launch capacity needed to make a solar power satellite practical. Assuming. Assuming facilities are available. the Final Report ("Lunar Resources Utilization for Space Construction") by General Dynamics' Convair Division. The rest would be reaction mass for the mass-driver engine. Again.264 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Power Satellite 265 (slowly) reach GEO (Geostationary orbit). This approach would require substantial up front capital investment to establish mass drivers on the Moon.6 billion over its lifetime. A NASA design studyevaluated a 10. The elevator would make construction of an SPS considerably less expensive. Launch costs from the Moon are about 100 times lower than from Earth. This 1970s proposal assumed the then-advertised future launch costing of NASA's space shuttle. when it became obvious NASA's launch cost estimates for the space shuttle were grossly optimistic. If true. that 100% of the returned asteroid was useful. Extraterrestrial Materials Gerard O'Neill.000 ton asteroid 'fragment' to geostationary orbit. the true merits of such a method would depend on a thorough mineral survey of the candidate asteroids. The costs of these supporting efforts would also contribute to total costs. low weight panels) and $320 billion ('expensive' HLLV. The Lofstrom loop is expected to cost less than a conventional space elevator to develop and construct. and to provide lower launch costs. proposed building the SPS's in orbit with materials from the Moon. it is believed that a launch loop could be built with today's materials. In 1980. Nevertheless. Unlike the conventional space elevator. then the initial launch cost could be spread over multiple SPS lifespans.22 per kWoh (UK. The example 4 GW 'economy' SPS above could therefore generate in excess of $154 billion over its lifetime. However. we have only estimates of their composition. O'Neill et al published another route to manufacturing using lunar materials with much lower startup costs This 1980s SPS concept relied less on human presence in space and more on partially self-replicating systems on the lunar surface under telepresence control of workers stationed on Earth. on 30 April 1979. Only about 3000 tons of the mining ship would be traditional aerospace-grade payload. noting the problem of high launch costs in the early 1970s. This is a high capacity launch system capable of reaching a geosynchronous transfer orbit at low cost (Lofstrom estimates a large system could go as low as $3/kg to LEO for example). than to launch it from Earth.

Some have suggested locating rectennas offshore. via fencing). but it would require establishing an Si mining and solar cell manufacturing facilities on the Moon. of 23 mW/cm2 (less than 1/4 the solar irradiation constant). and an intensity of less than 1 mW/cm2 outside of the rectenna fenceline (10 mW/cm2 is the current United States maximum microwave exposure standard). the workplace exposure limit (10 mW/ cm2) is expressed in voluntary language and has been ruled unenforceable for Federal OSHA enforcement. circuits in each of the antenna's subarrays compare the pilot beam's phase front with an internal clock phase to control the phase of the outgoing signal. This forces the transmitted beam to be centered precisely on the rectenna and to have a high degree of phase uniformity. In addition. particularly birds. beam energy will fall on the rectenna. simply. the transmitter would be too far away and too small to be able to increase the intensity to unsafe death ray levels. Furthermore.266 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Power Satellite 267 with conventional sources. Safety The use of microwave transmission of power has been the most controversial issue in considering any SPS design. The microwave beam intensity at ground level in the center of the beam would be designed and physically built into the system. but this presents serious problems. Such a system would be physically incapable of focusing its power beam anywhere that did not have a pilot beam transmitter. first described by Jerome Pearson in 1979. Experiments with deliberate microwave irradiation at reasonable levels have failed to show negative effects even over multiple generations. including corrosion. Outside of the rectenna. The long-term effects of beaming power through the ionosphere in the form of microwaves has yet to be studied. so nearby towns or other human activity should be completely unaffected. a suggested microwave beam would have a maximum intensity. this concept would not rely on materials technology beyond the current state of the art. A variant to the Earth-GSO elevator concept is the Lunar space elevator. . but any thought that anything which strays into the beam's path will be incinerated is an extreme misconception. It is important for system efficiency that as much of the microwave radiation as possible be focused on the rectenna. for example) the phase control value fails and the microwave power beam is automatically defocused. microwave intensities would rapidly decrease. The remaining microwave energy will be absorbed and dispersed well within standards currently imposed upon microwave emissions around the world. discussed above. if an Earth-GSO space elevator is ever practical. A commonly proposed approach to ensuring fail-safe beam targeting is to use a retrodirective phased array antenna/rectenna. The beam's most intense section (more or less. mechanical stresses. and typical aircraft flying through the beam provide passengers with a protective shell metal (ie. A "pilot" microwave beam emitted from the center of the rectenna on the ground establishes a phase front at the transmitting antenna. Because of the ~20 times shallower (than Earth's) gravitational well for the lunar elevator. and biological contamination. if the pilot beam is lost for any reason (if the transmitting antenna is turned away from the rectenna. etc) can avoid exposure by observing airflight control spaces. as is currently done for military and other controlled airspace. but nothing has been suggested which might lead to any significant effect. at its center. However it appears unlikely that even recent advances in materials science. which will intercept the microwaves. even in principle. a design constraint is that the microwave beam must not be so intense as to injure wildlife. Other aircraft (balloons. a Faraday Cage). similar to O/Neill's lunar material proposal. can make possible such an elevator. at its center) is far below dangerous levels even for an exposure which is prolonged indefinitely. namely carbon nanotubes. nor to reduce the short term cost of construction of the elevator enough. At present. ultra-light. Over 95% of the . There. per OSHA. Consider that quite similar microwave relay beams have long been in use by telecommunications companies world wide without such problems. exposure to the center of the beam can easily be controlled on the ground (eg. At the earth's surface.

but normal maintenance and COMPARISON WITH FOSSIL FUELS The relatively low price of energy today is entirely dominated by the historically low cost of carbon based fossil fuels (e.000 revenue per hour. Computer security may be a bigger issue than physical defense.268 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Power Satellite 269 DEFENDING SOLAR POWER SATELLITES Solar power satellites would normally be at a high orbit that is difficult to reach. extortion (by threatening to destabilize its orbit) or outright "grand theft satellite". especially if it is deployed for North America. Whether this is a realistic attack scenario is arguable.) This may be difficult. or operate for a very long period of time. operation and dismantling of the generating systems--including lifestyle and health costs. This greatly reduces the prices paid for power currently reducing the apparent benefits of SPS'. seldom fail. but are obsolete as of 2007. This would translate to a lifetime output of $77-$193 billion for power delivered to the UK. Current Energy Price Landscape In order to be competitive on a purely economic level. which multiplied by $. Neither of these failure modes is much of a problem if service is available. or offer other advantages. $250.000 × 24 hours × 365 days × 20 years = $43. last forever. the commercial value of that power is (5. There are several problems with existing energy delivery systems.000. the life of a satellite can be greatly increased. Currently(2007) most Earth-based power generation does not include these costs. fail due to correctable maintenance issues which we do not correct because we have no repair people on site.. They are subject to (among other problems) • political instability for various reasons in various locations -. which make up the largest percentage of mass. SPS'S ECONOMIC FEASIBILITY replacement of less durable components makes this unlikely. The cost figures below are that there are large hidden costs in maintaining military or other presence so as to continue supplies • depletion (some well regarded estimates suggest that oil and gas reserves have been in net decline for some time and that price increases and supply decreases are inevitable) .800. too) with satellites in geostationary orbit. where energy costs have been relatively low.000. If the lifetime of an SPS is 20 years and it delivers 5 gigawatts to the grid. It must cost less to deploy. in the United Kingdom (October 2005) electricity can cost 9-22 cents per kilowatt hour. the receiving stations on the ground. such an attack would probably be considered an act of war by every single nation (except the attacker.g. an SPS must cost no more than existing supplies. are more easily attacked. coal and natural gas).000. and conventional power generators (which are unlikely to be completely replaced by solar power satellites).000 watts)/(1000 watts/kilowatt) = 5. With available refueling and battery replacement. Common failures are: running out of station keeping fuel or dead batteries-no longer holding a charge. it has been suggested that a large enough quantity of granular material placed in a retrograde orbit at the geostationary altitude could theoretically completely destroy these kinds of system and render that orbit useless for generations.000. However. in our now-extensive experience. Many proponentswho? have suggested that the lifetime is effectively infinite.000. petroleum.000 kilowatts. but typical household delivery costs about 5 cents per kilowatt hour in North America. (But with regular maintenance there is no reason that a high orbit satellite has to 'die. (Such costs must include the costs of cleaning waste from construction. which would lose its satellites. and hence attack. By contrast.05 per kWoh gives $250. and an attack with more conventional anti-satellite weapons would probably be considered an act of war by the nation whose satellite was attacked. since launch capabilities aren't necessary to hack a satellite for purposes of malicious orbital "corrections". In any case.) Current prices for electricity on the public grid fluctuate depending on time of day. Structural components.' Currently (2007) the majority of such satellites-weather and communications. Satellites do not. and in any case at the present time there is only a small list of countries with the necessary launch capability to do this. Nearly all of the other components can be modularized for easy replacement/upgrade.

SPS does not require any fundamental engineering breakthroughs. the H-bomb). There is still no credible estimate of how long it will be before a nuclear fusion reactor could become commercially possible. and hence receives little insolation over much of the year. with a 20-fold . and does not have larger problems in any respect. Following the Kyoto Treaty.not a problem with SPS • public perception of danger -.. Matthew Simmons) that the days of cheap oil are over • greenhouse pollution -. and will likely be inherently failsafe. sustained nuclear fusion generators have only just been demonstrated experimentally. 141 countries introduced the first system of mandatory emissions control via carbon crs. There has been much criticism of the value of continued funding of fusion research. e. the country as a whole is further north than even most inhabited parts of Canada. fusion research continues to receive substantial funding by many nations. But. On balance. though how fast and how high are less easily predicted.problem with both SPS and nuclear power • consequences of major accident. this has not yet happened in the developed world with nuclear power.g. SPS avoids nearly all of the problems with current nuclear power schemes. However. perhaps sufficient to translate into political power. Because of the net increase in demand. COMPARISON WITH NUCLEAR POWER (FISSION) Detailed analyses of the problems with nuclear power specifically (nuclear fission) are published elsewhere.control of SPS would be a power/ influence center. The ultimate direction of such policies is to increase efficiency of fossil fuel use.g. By contrast.g.not a problem with SPS • preventing fissile material from being obtained by terrorists or their sponsors -. has already been extensively reviewed from an engineering feasibility perspective over some decades. with some comparative comments: • nuclear proliferation -. in the beams produced by an SPS and received on Earth) dangers could become an issue. Proponents have successfully argued in favor of ITER funding. despite well funded research over a period of several decades (since approximately 1952). suggesting to some industry observers (e. China and India) are increasing steadily.270 Solar Energy and its Uses o oil prices rose from around $20/bbl in the early 2000s to over $130/bbl in early 2008. per-kilowatt-hour photovoltaic costs have been in exponential decline for decades. However. Projected nuclear fusion power plants would not be explosive. Some are given below. COMPARISON WITH NUCLEAR FUSION Nuclear fusion is a process used in thermonuclear bombs (e. although public perception of microwave power transfer (ie. despite no major disruptions in supply. the energy requirements of Third World or developing countries (e. so conventional solar power is not competitive at 2006 per-kilowatthour delivered costs. Chernobyl -effectively zero with SPS.not a problem with SPS • disposal and storage of radioactive waste -.. perhaps to the point of elimination in some countries or even globally. SPS has received minimal research funding to date. However. the difference may be substantial. Despite these advantages. COMPARISON WITH TERRESTRIAL SOLAR POWER In the case of the United Kingdom. and needs only incremental improvements of existing technology to be deployed. a greenhouse gas.g. and may be reduced with SPS. contributing to global warming and climate change. With sufficient commitment from SPS backers. save on launch (during construction or for maintenance) • military and police cost of protecting the public and loss of democratic freedoms -.. For example. These have been notoriously long with nuclear power plants (at least in the US). the ITER facility currently under construction will cost 10 billion.fossil fuel combustion emits enormous quantities of carbon dioxide (CO2).. energy prices will continue to increase. Solar Power Satellite 271 • installation delays.

for quite different reasons. some form of energy storage would be required to provide power at night.g. though this would be reduced somewhat for desert installations. for instance.. but beamed microwave power allows one to adaptively reroute delivered power near to places it is needed (within limits -. and harder to repair/replace. at least until long distance superconducting distribution becomes possible. and even transparent. or pumped storage hydroelectricity. Assuming. Wear and tear on orbital installations will be of very different character. hence the size of rectenna required per collected watt would be about 8. inescapable maintenance for any economically feasible electrical installation. and can be reduced by care in design and fabrication. of course. energy storage on this scale is prohibitively expensive. An SPS requires much less ground area per kilowatt (approx 1/5th).2% to 24% that of a terrestrial solar panel array with equivalent power output. That is. compressed air. if it is assumed that a ground-based solar array must supply baseload power (not true for every projected configuration). since no power is generated at night and less light strikes the panels when the Sun is low in the sky or weather interferes. abrasion of surfaces as well as mechanically large wind forces causing direct physical damage. With present technology. • Such a system would require a very large solar array built in a well-sunlit area. A station in the Sahara could provide practical power only to the surrounding area. complex. • Terrestrial solar panel locations are inherently fixed. Terrestrial systems are also more vulnerable to terrorism than an SPS's rectenna since they are more expensive. neglecting weather and night/day cycles. sandstorms cause devastating damage to human structures via. with fewer land use issues than a conventional terrestrial solar array. A small version of such a ground based array has recently been completed by General Electric in Portugal. By comparison. such as hydrogen generation/storage. drainage and runoff problems (increased flood risk) and loss of habitats. • A terrestrial solar station intercepts an absolute maximum of only one third of the solar energy an array of equal size could intercept in space. and distribution of generated power equally so. current demand is relatively low there. the Sahara Desert for instance. By comparison an SPS rectenna would deliver about 23mW/cm² (230 W/m²) continuously. Crops could be grown beneath the rectenna. at high latitudes) will not be as efficient). current levels of solar cell efficiency. and will incur energy losses as well. • The rectenna on the ground is much larger than the area of the orbiting solar panels.272 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Power Satellite 273 decrease from 1975 to 2001. which in turn would result in increased soil erosion. • Further. so this situation may change. Let us consider a ground-based solar power system versus an SPS generating an equivalent amount of power. A ground-only solar array would have the advantage. of costing considerably less to construct and requiring no significant technological advances. intolerant of partial damage. Long experience with terrestrial installations shows that there is substantial. as photovoltaic . so the land needed could be dualuse. which will make remotely sited Earth surface collection systems more practical. • The receiving SPS rectenna will be quite simple. including that from an SPS. for example. A solar panel in the contiguous United States on average delivers 19 to 56 W/ m² . • Weather conditions would also interfere with power collection. ground-based solar panels would completely block sunlight thus destroying vegetation and having a considerable effect on local ecology. There is no such area in the UK. • Remote tropical location of an extensive photovoltaic generator is a somewhat artificial scenario. and will cause wear and tear on solar collectors which will be avoided in Earth orbit. compared to a GEO (Geosynchronous orbit) solar array.rectennas near the SPS's horizon (e. cheap.

HYDRO. and for hydro-electric projects in particular. In addition. SOLAR PANEL MASS PRODUCTION Currently the costs of solar panels are too high to use them to produce bulk domestic electricity in most situations. ethanol). that there are also frequent developments in the production of solar panels.perhaps substantially -. and maintenance cost and effort will increase substantially compared to a large centralized design. Many advances in solar cell efficiency (eg. this will also increase the economic feasibility of an SPS. TIDAL. Deployment of ground-based photovoltaics can be distributed (say to rooftops). any panel design suited to SPS use is likely to be quite different than earth suitable panels. improved construction techniques) that make an SPS more economically feasible might make a ground-based system more economic as well. so not all such improvements will have this effect.274 Solar Energy and its Uses costs continue to decline. and are more than merely lost efficiency as such losses all contribute to pollution (eg. This may benefit earth based array designs as costs may be lower (see the cost analysis above). as in the proposed hydrogen economy. depending largely on existing local cost structures. which will. Govt. For most. However. However.3%. the engineering feasibility studies have established that none of these losses will be large enough to make an SPS project infeasible on those grounds. geothermal. exhaust gases).5% of electricity generation. private space corporations could become interested in transporting goods (such as satellites. hydro-electric. supplies and parts of commercial space hotels) to LEO (Low Earth orbit). have the capacity to supply only a tiny fraction of the global energy requirement. no launching required. reduce production costs as well as weight. Solar Power Satellite 275 techniques would have to be extremely competitive to be significant on Earth. mass production of the solar panels necessary to build an SPS system would be likely to reduce those costs sufficiently to change this -. but will not be able to take advantage of maximum economies of scale. • Energy payback time for the capital costs of terrestrial PV cells has been typically in the 5-15 year range. Thin film solar panels and so-called "nanosolar" might increase collection efficiency. so such construction COMPARISON WITH OTHER RENEWABLES (WIND. For 2005. the limitation is geography as there simply are very few sites in the world where generating systems can be built. that some would be lost internally at the SPS (no equipment is loss free). without interruptions during nighttimes or bad weather. Also. and so piggyback on production of Earth based panels. and other renewables 2. Such a system could be (more or less easily) adapted for operation on Earth. But. Or they could both be used to run an energy storage scheme (such as pumping water uphill at a hydropower generation station). now or in the foreseeable future. dispersed installation is not possible for some terrestrial solar collectors. many SPS designs assume the framework will be built with automated machinery supplied with raw materials. Earthbased construction already has access to inexpensive human labor that would not be available in space. but nevertheless. If they can reduce costs. hydro-electric power accounted for 6. Energy Information . and that still more would be lost in transmission back to the Earth. The U. in the US. there are few sites still open. While it is true some of the potential energy available would not be collected (cell inefficienies will assure this in any case). In any case. of course be essentially continuous.S. It should be noted. tidal energy. Payback for an orbital installations is likely to be quicker due to the higher total insolation rate. Both SPS and ground-based solar power could be used to produce chemical fuels for transportation and storage. since they already are developing spacecraft to transport space tourists. GEOTHERMAL) Most renewable energy sources (for example. Losses due to conventional fossil fuel generation are of larger magnitude than in an SPS design. typically aluminium. and therefore reduce the total cost of an SPS installation. the required acreage (at any credible solar cell efficiency) will remain very large.especially as fossil fuel costs have been increasing rapidly. however.

but unlike hydro has significant potential for expansion. have wind resources that could equal the current electricity consumption of the entire country. growing at an annual rate of approximately 30%.4% and other renewables will increase to 2. The potential for wind power appears to be very large. and construction in these environments is well-understood. Wind power has been the fastest-growing form of renewable energy throughout the 2000s. which are surrounded by well-developed power grids and large populations of electricity consumers. switchgrass) is not practicable as of 2007. Ocean-based windpower offers access to very large wind resources (there being large areas for potential installations. Texas. Kansas.276 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Power Satellite 277 Administration projects that in 2030 hydro-power will decline to 3. has reduced the cost of wind power to be competitive with fossil fuel. Department of Defense expressed interest in studying the concept. Offshore wind resources appear to be even larger than on-shore wind resources.A. would pose fewer corrosion problems. and winds tend to blow stronger and steadier over water than over land due to reduced surface friction). Corn prices have risen substantially in 2006 and 2007. Some potential locations for offshore wind turbines suffer less from these problems. For example. but wind power accounted for a large share of new power generation capacity in several countries including the United States and the United Kingdom. CURRENT WORK For the past several years there has been no line item for SPS in either the NASA nor DOE budgets. a minimal level of research has been sustained through small NASA discretionary budget accounts. to review the current state of the market and technology In 2007 the U. This gives wind power a lower capital risk compared to large-scale power generation schemes that require heavy investment for years before they become operational (e. In 2001 plans were announced to perform additional research and prototyping by launching an experimental satellite of capacity between 10 kilowatts and 1 megawatt of power. and South Dakota). partly as a result of nascent ethanol production demand.. currently the two leading sources of ethanol fuel. but it is strongly affected by two factors: the difficulty of long distance power transmission as many regions of high demand are not near the sea. and by the very large difficulty of coping with corrosion. NASDA (Japan's national space agency) has been researching in this area steadily for the last few years. Due to the high energy cost of industrial agriculture as well as the azeotropic distillation necessary to refine ethanol. wind power's share of global energy output remained small. nuclear power). On 10/10/2007 The National Security Space . being fresh water. and begin generating electricity (and thus revenue) as soon as they connect to the transmission grid. There is insufficient farming capacity for both significant energy production and food production. though pilot plants are in development. serious questions remain about the EROEI of ethanol from corn. COMPARISON WITH WIND POWER Wind power is somewhat unique among the renewables as having emerged as competitive with fossil fuels on cost (similar to hydro). Processing improvements (eg. a breakthrough in enzyme processing) may change this relative disadvantage. agricultural waste or purpose collected non-cultivated plants. Improvements in technology. One advantage of wind farms is their ability to expand incrementally.9%. COMPARISON WITH BIOFUELS Ethanol power production depends on farming in the case of corn or sugar cane. individual wind turbines can be assembled on site at a typical rate of approximately one per week. Ethanol from cellulose (eg.S. and survivability problems faced by all seaborne installations. such as the Great Lakes of the United States and Canada.g. hydroelectric power. The lakes. As of 2008. eg. In May 2007 a workshop was held at MIT in the U.S. just the four windiest states in the United States (North Dakota. The National Space Society (a non-profit NGO) maintains a web page where the latest SPS related references are posted and kept current. contamination. especially the trend toward larger wind turbines mounted on taller towers.

generating steam that is piped into a turbine. IN FICTION Space stations transmitting solar power have appeared in science-fiction works like Isaac Asimov's Reason (1941). The 15 MW Solar Tres Power Tower in Spain builds on these projects. These high energy protons cause several effects. plants that improvised solar satellite technology called microwave powerplants were available in the future. BrightSource Energy dedicated its Solar Energy Development Center (SEDC) in Israel's Negev Desert. The site. be used to boil water for use in steam turbines. low maintenance. with construction of the first plant planned to start in 2009. the difference being that electrons and not protons are involved. Sodium is a metal with a high heat capacity. SOLAR PROTON EVENT A Solar proton event occurs when protons emitted by the Sun become accelerated to very high energies either close to the Sun during a solar flare or in interplanetary space by the shocks associated with coronal mass ejections. The high energy at this point of concentrated sunlight is transferred to a substance that can store the heat for later use. In Spain the 11 MW PS10 solar power tower was recently completed. the largest solar power commitment ever made by a utility. BrightSource is currently developing a number of solar power plants in Southern California. Google. SOLAR POWER TOWER The solar power tower (also known as 'Central Tower' power plants or 'Heliostat' power plants or power towers) is a type of solar furnace using a tower to receive the focused sunlight. The report was released at a press conference which simultaneously announced the formation of the Space Solar Alliance for Future Energy which intends to pursue the recommendations of the NSSO-Led Study. It uses an array of flat. a solar power plant is planned with 4000 to 5000 heliostat mirrors. The concentrated energy is then used to heat a boiler atop the tower to 550 degrees Celsius. They can penetrate the Earth's magnetic field and cause ionization in the ionosphere.47 ?/kWh. published an assessment report . BrightSource Energy entered into a series of power purchase agreements with Pacific Gas and Electric Company in March 2008 for up to 900MW of electricity. This system did not allow for power generation when the sun is not shining.600 heliostats that track the sun and reflect light onto a 60 meter-high tower. The anime series Gundam 00 explores the effects and politics of space based solar power. The plant was discontinued in SimCity 4 but several fan-made microwave powerplants were available on various SimCity 4 fan-sites. In June 2008. mass produceable heliostat components to reduce this cost in the near future. Energetic solar protons are also a significant radiation . EXAMPLES OF HELIOSTAT POWER PLANTS The 10 MWe Solar One and Solar Two heliostat demonstration projects in the Mojave Desert have now been decommissioned. allowing that energy to be stored and drawn off throughout the evening. A site near Upington has been selected. Solar Power Satellites have also been seen in the work of author Ben Bova's novels "Powersat" and "Colony". That energy can. COST The US National Renewable Energy Laboratory NREL has estimated that by 2020 electricity could be produced from power towers for 5. each having an area of 140 m². in turn. features more than 1. They are a means to supply power to planet production. The most recent heat transfer material that has been successfully demonstrated is liquid sodium. In both SimCity 2000 and 3000. where electricity can be produced. The effect is similar to auroral events. that centers around the troubles caused by the robots operating the station. Water had originally been used as a heat transfer medium in earlier power tower versions (where the resultant steam was used to power a turbine).278 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Power Satellite 279 Office of the US Department of Defense. Solar Sats are used in the online browser-based game ogame. In South hopes to develop cheap. movable mirrors (called heliostats) to focus the sun's rays upon a collector tower (the target). located in the Rotem Industrial Park.

The more severe proton events can be associated with geomagnetic storms that can cause widespread disruption to electrical grids. particularly at latitudes where most of the Earth's population resides. the effects can be minimized if astronauts are in a low-Earth orbit and remain confined to the most heavily shielded regions of their spacecraft. protons can be produced with sufficient energies to penetrate deeper into the Earth's magnetosphere and ionosphere. The majority of the energy is extinguished in the extreme lower region of the ionosphere (around 50-80 km in altitude). Proton radiation levels in low earth orbit increase with orbital inclination. When the energetic protons leave the Sun. Energetic proton storms also destroy the efficiency of the solar panels that are designed . These events commence and last as long as the energy of incoming protons at approximately greater than 10 MeV (million electron volts) exceeds roughly 10 pfu (particle flux units) at geosynchronous satellite altitudes. Astronauts have reported seeing flashes or streaks of light as energetic protons interact with their optic tissues. Power grids are only sensitive to fluctuations in the Earth's magnetic field. Regions where deeper penetration can occur includes the north pole. they are guided by the Earth's magnetic field into the polar regions where the majority of the Earth's magnetic field lines enter and exit. south pole. during unusually strong solar flare events. solid state memory on spacecraft can be altered. The effect can be so pronounced that during extreme events. However. Such events are known as Polar Cap Absorption events (or PCAs). the greater the exposure to energetic proton radiation will be. which is critical if ground controllers are to maintain control. Protons are charged particles and are therefore influenced by magnetic fields. Energetic proton storms can also electrically charge spacecraft to levels that can damage electronic components. nor are they responsible for producing geomagnetic storms. When solar protons enter the domain of the Earth's magnetosphere where the magnetic fields become stronger than the solar magnetic fields. However. High altitude commercial transpolar aircraft flights have measured increases in radiation during energetic proton events. Similar flashes and streaks of light occur when energetic protons strike the sensitive optical electronics in spacecraft (such as star trackers and other cameras). For example. Significant proton radiation exposure can be experienced by astronauts who are outside of the protective shield of the Earth's magnetosphere. but a warning system is in place that limits these effects by alerting pilots to lower their cruising altitudes. The Earth's magnetic field is exceptionally good at preventing the radiative effects of energetic particles from reaching ground levels. they preferentially follow (or are guided by) the Sun's powerful magnetic field. the closer a spacecraft approaches the polar regions. Energetic protons that are guided into the polar regions collide with atmospheric constituents and release their energy through the process of ionization. However. such as an astronaut in-transit to. This can cause spacecraft to lose their orientation. Extremely intense solar proton flares capable of producing energetic protons with energies in excess of 100 MeV can increase neutron count rates at ground levels through secondary radiation effects. which may cause data or software contamination and result in unexpected (phantom) spacecraft commands being executed. They can also cause electronic components to behave erratically. These rare events are known as Ground Level Events (or GLE's). proton events themselves are not responsible for producing anomalies in power grids. Aircraft flights away from the polar regions are far less likely to see an impact from solar proton events.280 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Power Satellite 281 hazard to spacecraft and astronauts. The enhanced ionization produced by incoming energetic protons increases the absorption levels in the lower ionosphere and can have the effect of completely blocking all ionospheric radio communications through the polar regions. it is not possible to obtain quality images of the Sun or stars. Solar protons normally have insufficient energy to penetrate through the Earth's magnetic field. and South Atlantic magnetic anomaly. Therefore. This area is particularly important to ionospheric radio communications because this is the area where most of the absorption of radio signal energy occurs. or located on the Moon. There is no substantive scientific evidence to suggest that energetic proton events are harmful to human health at ground levels.

though the magnitude only measures the visual output of the Sun.000. is one-fourth the solar constant (approximately 342 W/m²). plus or minus 3. not just the visible light.89 and 2.96 langleys (Ly) per minute. but as it rotates this energy is distributed across the entire surface area (4·?·RE²). on a linear scale and plotted against wavenumber. he attempted to remove effects due to atmospheric absorption. a variation that appeared to be due to the Sun and not the Earth's atmosphere. When ultraviolet radiation is not absorbed by the atmosphere or other protective coating. it can cause a change in human skin pigmentation. This is during daytime. solar radiation is obvious as daylight when the sun is above the horizon.800 K. The Solar constant does not remain constant over long periods of time (see Solar variation).9% during a year (from 1412 W/m² in early January to 1321 W/m² in early July) due to the earth's varying distance from the Sun.282 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Power Satellite 283 to collect and convert sunlight to electricity. It is measured by satellite to be roughly 1366 watts per square meter (W/m²). 2903 W/m². combining the perception of bright white light (sunlight in the strict sense) and warming. It is linked to the apparent magnitude of the Sun. measured on the outer surface of Earth's atmosphere in a plane perpendicular to the rays.5%. Between 1902 and 1957. though this fluctuates by about 6.400. in that the solar constant and the magnitude of the Sun are two methods of describing the apparent brightness of the Sun. measurements by Charles Greeley Abbot and others at various high-altitude sites found values between 1322 and 1465 W/m². By taking readings at different times of day. for the whole Earth (which has a cross section of 127. it is experienced as sunshine. Samuel Pierpont Langley attempted to estimate the Solar constant from Mount Whitney in California. taking into account the angle at which the rays strike and that at any one moment half the planet does not receive any solar radiation. The angular diameter of the Earth as seen from the Sun is approximately 1/11. The warming on the body and surfaces of other objects is distinguished from the increase .86×1026 watts. At any given moment.96 calories per minute per square centimeter. Solar radiation is radiant energy emitted by a sun as a result of its nuclear fusion reactions.740×1017 W.22 calories (1318 to 1548 W/m²).000 steradians. Thus the Sun emits about two billion times the amount of radiation that is caught by Earth.8. SOLAR RADIATION Solar irradiance spectrum at top of atmosphere. The spectrum of the Sun's solar radiation is close to that of a black body with a temperature of about 5. About half that lies in the visible short-wave part of the electromagnetic spectrum and the other half mostly in the near-infrared part. SOLAR CONSTANT The solar constant is the amount of the Sun's incoming electromagnetic radiation (Solar radiation) per unit area. In 1884. the amount of Solar radiation received at a location on the Earth's surface depends on the state of the atmosphere and the location's latitude.000 radians. The solar constant includes all types of solar radiation. Hence the average incoming solar radiation (sometimes called the solar irradiance). the power is 1. meaning the solid angle of the Earth as seen from the sun is approximately 1/140. but not at all in winter near the poles. The Earth receives a total amount of radiation determined by its cross section (?·RE²). or 1. The solar constant includes all wavelengths of solar electromagnetic radiation. Abbott proved that one of Langley's corrections was erroneously applied. and also in summer near the poles at night. His results varied between 1. spacecraft can lose a substantial amount of electrical power that may require important instruments to be turned off. ?26. the value he obtained. During years of exposure to energetic proton activity from the Sun. 1366 W/m² is equivalent to 1. CLIMATE EFFECT OF SOLAR RADIATION On Earth. Solar radiation is commonly measured with a pyranometer or pyrheliometer. was still too great. not just the visible light (see Electromagnetic spectrum). However. in other words about 3. Some also lies in the ultraviolet part of the spectrum. When the direct radiation is not blocked by clouds. and by a few parts per thousand from day to day.000 km²). Thus.

EADS Astrium built Eurostar E3000 geostationary communications satellites use solar sail panels attached to their solar cell arrays to off-load transverse angular momentum. Forward in 1984. especially when they use light sources other than the Sun) are a proposed form of spacecraft propulsion using large membrane mirrors. it would be necessary to give the detached part an accurate optical shape and orientation. This neglect has inspired some enthusiasts to attempt private development of the technology. The radiation pressure on the mirror provides a minuscule amount of thrust by reflecting photons. The vanes would be adjusted by electric motors. sun). The total insolation remains almost constant but the seasonal and latitudinal distribution and intensity of solar radiation received at the Earth's surface also varies. It was again proposed by Friedrich Zander in the late 1920s and gradually refined over the decades. Almost all missions would use the sail to change orbit. at latitudes of 65 degrees the change in solar energy in summer & winter can vary by more than 25% as a result of the Earth's orbital variation. The Earth's orbit and obliquity change with time (over thousands of years). Because changes in winter and summer tend to offset. The concept was first proposed by German astronomer Johannes Kepler in the seventeenth century.g. SOLAR SAIL Solar sails (also called light sails or photon sails. sometimes forming a nearly perfect circle. Although the thrust is small. however. Tilting the reflective sail at an angle from the Sun produces thrust at an angle normal to the sail. The amount of radiation intercepted by a planetary body varies inversely with the square of the distance between the star and the planet. Solar collectors. Mission planners are not yet willing to risk multimillion dollar missions on unproven solar sail unfolding and steering mechanisms. but the technology to manage large solar sails is still undeveloped. Recent serious interest in lightsails began with an article by engineer and science fiction author Robert L. rather than thrusting directly away from a planet or the sun. For example. to do that focusing.67%). but unlike rockets. steering would be done with auxiliary vanes. In theory a lightsail (actually a system of lightsails) powered by an Earth-based laser could even be used to decelerate the spacecraft as it approaches its destination. In theory a lightsail driven by a laser or other beam from Earth can be used to decelerate a spacecraft approaching a distant star or planet. but the redistribution of energy between summer and winter does strongly affect the intensity of seasonal cycles. such as the Cosmos 1. by detaching part of the sail and using it to focus the beam on the forward-facing surface of the rest of the sail. In most designs. Radiation pressure is about 10-5 Pa at Earth radii and decreases by the square of the distance from the light source (e. to help ordinary spacecraft and satellites make minor attitude control corrections and orbit modifications without using fuel. The sail is rotated slowly as the sail orbits . Some unmanned spacecraft (such as Mariner 10) have substantially extended their service lives with this practice. solar sails require no reaction mass. acting as small solar sails to change the attitude of the large solar sail. thereby saving fuel (angular momentum is accumulated over time as the HOW THEY WORK The spacecraft deploys a large membrane mirror which reflects light from the Sun or some other source. A few have even had small purpose-built solar sails for this use. The science of solar sails is well-proven. This conserves fuel that would otherwise be used for maneuvering and altitude control. Sails orbit. and therefore do not need to hover or move directly toward or away from the sun. the change in the annual average insolation at any given location is near zero. and that means that. temperature-control panels and sun shades are occasionally used as expedient solar sails. it continues as long as the light source shines and the sail is deployed. and at other times stretching out to an orbital eccentricity of 5% (currently 1. most of the deceleration would happen while the two parts are at a great distance from each other.284 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Power Satellite 285 in air temperature. Such changes associated with the redistribution of solar energy are considered a likely cause for the coming and going of recent ice ages. gyroscopic momentum wheels control the spacecraft's attitude this excess momentum must be offloaded to protect the wheels from overspin). In practice. For example.

Usually there are four masts that spread the corners of the sail. When an orbit is far enough away from a planet. and a mast in the center to hold guide wires. In particular. One of the largest advantages is that there are no hot spots in the rigging from wrinkling or bagging. Sails in this class would offer accelerations an order of magnitude higher than designs based on deployable plastic films. This is false. Control would probably use small sails on the ends of the spars. He made and handled samples of the film in the laboratory. and payload size is often small.286 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Power Satellite 287 around a planet so the thrust is in the direction of the orbital movement to move to a higher orbit or against it to move to a lower orbit. sails can go toward the sun by thrusting against their orbital motion. Proven mathematically (like many other astronautical items well in advance of their actual launches). LIMITATIONS OF SOLAR SAILS Solar sails don't work well. even though the sail should be an advanced all-metal sail. This form can therefore go quite close to the sun. In all cases. until the first half of the 1990's. they must arrange to loop behind the outer planet. INVESTIGATED SAIL DESIGNS "Parachutes" would have very low mass. Solar sails have to be physically large. There is a common misunderstanding that solar sails cannot go towards their light source. The best sort of missions for a solar sail involves a dive near the sun. Therefore. The spacecraft mass-to-sail area ratio does not need to achieve ultralow values. launch. This reduces the energy of their orbit. He designed a sail using reflective panels of thin aluminum film (30 to 100 nanometres thick) supported by a purely tensile structure. The intention was that such structures would be stiffened by their angular momentum. and the . The highest thrust-to-mass designs known (2007) were theoretical designs developed by Eric Drexler. hence the design relied on space-based production of the film panels. Going close to the Sun may be done for different mission aims: for exploring the solar poles from a short distance. It rotated and would have to be continually under slight thrust. In the 1970s JPL did extensive studies of rotating blade and rotating ring sails for a mission to rendezvous with Halley's Comet. and sail efficiencies are high. if at all. The highest-thrust to mass designs for ground-assembled deployable structures are square sails with the masts and guy lines on the dark side of the sail. where the maximum thrust is present. in low Earth orbit below about 800 km altitude due to erosion or air drag. An unsuspected feature. This flight mode is also known as fast solar sailing. The thrust vector (spatial)vector would therefore be away from the Sun and toward the target. and deployment. but the material is too delicate to survive folding. see Tack (sailing). joining them to a deployable tension structure. eliminating the need for struts. but theoretical studies show that they will collapse from the forces placed by shrouds. Solar sails must face the sun to decelerate. Radiation pressure does not behave like aerodynamic pressure. Deploying solar sails is also highly challenging to date. surprisingly large amounts of tensile strength were needed to cope with dynamic loads. and the sail protects the structure from the sun. and decelerate into the sunlight. the sail then begins similar maneuvers in orbit around the sun. for flying by the Sun such that the sail gets a very high speed. Most theoretical studies of interstellar missions with a solar sail plan to push the sail with a very large laser Beam-powered propulsion Direct Impulse beam. Weaker sails would ripple or oscillate when the sail's attitude changed. and saving mass. Above that altitude they give very small accelerations that take months to build up to useful speeds. of the solar sail propulsion is to allow a sailcraft to escape the solar system with a cruise speed higher or even much higher than a spacecraft powered by a nuclear electric rocket system. for observing the Sun and its near environment from a nonKeplerian circular orbit the plane of which may be shifted some solar radii. spiraling the sail toward the sun. such sailing mode has been considered by NASA/Marshall as one of the options for a future precursor interstellar probe exploring the near interstellar space beyond the heliosphere. on trips away from the sun. where the light is intense.

A 15-meter-diameter solar sail (SSP. about one to five percent of the total area. A joint private project between Planetary Society. might be made to have artificial gravity roughly equal to the gravity on the surface of Mars. along with a team from the NASA Ames Research Center. Pekka Janhunen from FMI has invented a type of solar wind sail called the electric solar wind sail. Although the design had no mass advantage over a square sail. The spacecraft's altitude and direction were to be completely controlled by changing the angle of the blades in various ways. This fact also makes it possible to maneuver a ship with electric solar wind sail by regulating the electric charge of the wires. NANOSAIL-D A team from the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. The mission would have lasted for one month. A solar sail would have been used to gradually raise the spacecraft to a higher earth orbit. The experiment was purely a test of the deployment mechanisms. The structure is made of aluminum and plastic.3 m²) of light-catching surface. also because of rocket failure. but research in the area is continuing. including visible light. . It deployed from the stage. On August 9. So the difference in the thrust-to-mass ratio was almost nil. The inner ring. Because the solar wind electrons react on the electric field similarly as on a concrete solar wind sail. Designs differ. A suborbital prototype test by the group failed in 2001 as well. and the spacecraft failed to reach orbit. 2005. No solar sails have been successfully deployed as primary propulsion systems. The panels would have slight gaps. A solar sail can serve a dual function as a high-gain antenna. and made it to orbit. Lines would connect the edge of one sail to the other. Both sails used 7. with the spacecraft weighing less than 10 pounds (4. JPL's reference design was called the "heliogyro" and had plastic-film blades deployed from rollers and held out by centripetal forces as it rotated. JPL also investigated "ring sails" (Spinning Disk Sail in the above diagram). The sail has about 100 square feet (9. NASA has successfully tested deployment technologies on small scale sails in vacuum chambers. Cosmos Studios and Russian Academy of Science launched Cosmos 1 on June 21. panels attached to the edge of a rotating spacecraft. SAIL MATERIALS The best known material is thought to be a thin mesh of aluminium with holes less than ½ the wavelength of most light. The electric field of the wires extends a few tens of metres into the surrounding solar wind plasma. Nanometre-sized "antennas" would emit heat energy as infrared. A clover type sail was deployed at 122 km altitude and a fan type sail was deployed at 169 km altitude. 2006. not of propulsion.288 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Power Satellite 289 oscillations would add and cause structural failure. A NanoSail-D mission dashboard was recently released. have developed a solar sail mission called NanoSail-D which is scheduled for launch aboard a Falcon 1 rocket in 2008. in particular. It has little in common with the solar wind sail design externally. Weights in the middles of these lines would pull the sails taut against the coning caused by the radiation pressure.5 kg). but most modify the metallization pattern to create a holographic monochromatic lens or mirror in the radio frequencies of interest. The wires are electrically charged and thus an electric field is created around the wires. A full-sized functioning electric solar wind sail would have 50-100 straightened wires with a length of about 20 km each. the function radius of the wires is based on the electric field that is generated around the wire rather than the actual wire itself. bacause the sails are substituted with straigthened conducting tethers (wires) which are placed radially around the host ship. solar sail sub payload. but the Volna rocket failed. soraseiru sabupeiro-do) was launched together with ASTRO-F on a M-V rocket on February 21. 2004 Japanese ISAS successfully deployed two prototype solar sails from a sounding rocket. it remained attractive because the method of deploying the sail was simpler than a strut-based design.5 micrometer thick film. but opened incompletely. and the static designs were much easier to control. similar to the cycle and collective pitch of a helicopter. from a submarine in the Barents Sea. JPL researchers said that this might be an attractive sail design for large manned structures.

Masers could also be used to power a painted solar sail. and Energy Science Laboratories' new carbon fiber material weighs in at 3g/m². it has been theorized by da Vinci Project contributor T. and more power for the lasers than humanity currently generates. This would be placed at a location between the laser or maser and the spacecraft. and the means for manufacturing such material on an industrial scale are not yet available. Geoffrey Landis in 1998-9. For comparison. it is too fragile to unfold or unroll with known technology. The most common material in current designs is aluminized 2 µm Kapton film. Pesando that solar sail-utilizing spacecraft successful in interstellar travel could be used to carry APPLICATIONS Robert Forward proposed the use of lasers to push solar sails. The hypothetical "Starwisp" interstellar probe design would use a maser to drive it. a type of satellite called a statite. would require . The aluminium reflecting film is on the Sun side. Research by Dr. Masers spread out more rapidly than optical lasers thanks to their longer wavelength. Such a spacecraft could conceivably be placed directly over a pole of the Sun. showed that various materials such as Alumina for laser lightsails and Carbon fiber for microwave pushed lightsails were superior sail materials to the previously standard aluminum or Kapton films. While such materials have as-of-yet only been produced in laboratory conditions. Given a sufficiently powerful laser and a large enough mirror to keep the laser focused on the sail for long enough. such materials could weigh less than 0. providing beam-powered propulsion.1 g/m² making them lighter than any current sail material by a factor of at least 30. since the manipulation of microwave radiation is somewhat easier than the manipulation of visible light. where the weave "spaces" are less than ½ the wavelength of light impinging on the sail. Spacecraft fitted with solar sails can also be placed in close orbits about the Sun that are stationary with respect to either the Sun or the Earth. The sails of Cosmos 1 were made of aluminized PET film.290 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Power Satellite 291 Although samples have been created. incredibly powerful lasers. The plate could then be propelled outward using the same energy source. To do so. This is possible because the propulsion provided by the sail offsets the gravitational potential of the Sun. a conventional sail coated with a layer of chemicals designed to evaporate when struck by microwave radiation. hyper-light sail material. and so would not have as long an effective range. but it is so porous that it has the same weight. as a form of lightweight ablative laser propulsion. There has been some theoretical speculation about using molecular manufacturing techniques to create advanced. strong. funded by the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts. In 2000. 5 micrometre thick Mylar sail material weighs 7 g/m². however. To further focus the energy on a distant solar sail. based on nanotube mesh weaves. The rigidity and durability of this material could make solar sails that are significantly sturdier than plastic films. Likewise a solar sail-equipped spacecraft could also remain on station nearly above the polar terminator of a planet such as the Earth by tilting the sail at the appropriate angle needed to just counteract the planet's gravity. The material is over 200 times thicker than conventional solar sail designs. A potentially easier approach would be to use a maser to drive a "solar sail" composed of a mesh of wires with the same spacing as the wavelength of the microwaves. Energy Science Laboratories developed a new carbon fiber material which might be useful for solar sails. precisely-shaped optical mirrors or lenses (wider than the Earth for interstellar transport). the engineering of massive. thus maintaining its position so as to focus the energy on the solar sail. Such an orbit could be useful for studying the properties of the Sun over long durations. and remain at that station for lengthy durations. The momentum generated by this evaporation could significantly increase the thrust generated by solar sails. Additionally. It resists the heat of a pass close to the Sun and still remains reasonably strong. aluminized Kapton films weighs up to 12 g/m². The material could selfdeploy and should withstand higher temperatures. designs have considered the use of a large zone plate. a solar sail could be accelerated to a significant fraction of the speed of light.

This goal is strongly related to the management of very large (i. However. but this effect would be small compared to the force due to radiation pressure from light reflected from the sail. These particles would impart a small amount of TECHNICAL CRITICISM OF SOLAR SAIL CONCEPT It has been proposed that momentum exchange from reflection of photons is an unproven effect that may violate the thermodynamical Carnot rule. Such an endeavour could allow future solar-sailed craft to effectively utilize focused energy from other stars rather than from the Earth or Sun." Another alleged solution is that when reflected by a solar sail. in order to save transit time at the cost of directness of the route. Thus. There is also a misunderstanding that solar sails capture energy primarily from the solar wind high speed charged particles emitted from the sun. A robotic solar sail could therefore multiply an interplanetary payload by several times by reducing this significant fuel mass. This criticism was raised by Thomas Gold of Cornell. Interplanetary missions would arrive thousands of kilometers off course if correct equations had not been used. thus propelling them more swiftly through space and perhaps even to more distant stars. leading to a public debate in the spring of 2003. its wavelength increases (and energy decreases) by a factor dependent on the velocity of the sail. The force due to light pressure is about 5000 times as strong as that due to solar wind. James Oberg has also refuted Dr. A much larger type of sail called a magsail would employ the solar wind. For example. and photon pressure has been successfully calculated for all large spacecraft. multimission spacecraft. This criticism has been refuted by Benjamin Diedrich pointing out that the Carnot Rule does not apply to an open system. in which the directness of the course is unimportant compared to the fuel mass savings and fast transit times of a solar sail. a photon undergoes a Doppler shift. in the near/medium term. However. solar sail propulsion is aimed chiefly at accomplishing a very high number of non-crewed missions in any part of the solar system and beyond. Most near-term planetary missions involve robotic exploration craft. well above 1 km²) surfaces in space and the sail making advancements. Gold's analysis: "But 'solar sailing' isn't theoretical at all. Further explanation of lab results demonstrating is provided. most existing missions use multiple gravitational slingshots to reduce necessary fuel mass. The effect for a genuine 'solar sail' will be even more spectacular. the majority of mass on most interplanetary missions is taken up by fuel. momentum upon striking the sail. While most direct applications created so far intend to use the sails as inexpensive modes of cargo transport. .e. and create a reusable. the potential of such a theory remains uncertain if not dubious due to the high-speed precision involved and possible payloads required. scientists and engineers around the world remain encouraged and continue to work on solar sails. when in Earth orbit. transferring energy from the sun-photon system to the sail.292 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Power Satellite 293 their own zone plates or perhaps even masers to be deployed during flybys at nearby stars. FUTURE VISIONS Despite the loss of Cosmos 1 (which was due to a failure of the launcher). MISUNDERSTANDINGS Critics of the solar sail argue that solar sails are impractical for orbital and interplanetary missions because they move on an indirect course. some scientists are investigating the possibility of using solar sails as a means of transporting humans.

57. Emergence. Faupel: Environmentalism and Civil Rights in Sumter County. J. Campbell. 266. 275. Investment. 13.: Principles of Gene Manipulation. 3. and Fear. I Implications. New York. 47. Corporate. 115. 136. 144. 27. 138. Colorado. 277. 250. 128. 125. 258. Churchill. 152. 139. and Community. 199. 164. 225. 161. 118. 138. 131. 160. Erickson. 217. 191. 1973. Jones and Barlett Publishers. Kalidas: Food Biotechnology. INDEX A Administration. 251. R.: Plant Genetic Engineering. 144. Crops. 176. 54. Genes and Crop Biotechnology. 165. Sudbury MA. Prometheus Books. L. Westview Press.W. 274. 74. 2005. Boston. 1960. 28. Customers. 218. Allyn and Bacon. 116. 137. 124. 16. 158. 250. 69. 1988. 156. Norton. 162. 184. Open University Press. Agriculture. 116. Bailey. E Ecology.. 107. 289. Conner and Charles E. 47. 89. 148. Architecture. Amherst. . 1994. 6. 144. 32. 190. Sydney. Blackwell Scientific Publications. London. Walden. 79. Economy. Genes and Crop Biotechnology. 277. 240. 58. 141. 81. 2005. 117. 108. 2003. S.BIBLIOGRAPHY Adelberg. 29. Cambridge University Press. H Horticulture. 145. Hill. and Expropriation in Contemporary North America. 4. 2003. 17. 276. 144.B. 26. 55. England. 258. Trauma. Contribution. 158. 4. 161. C Communication.: Papers on Bacterial Genetics. 44. 46. Considerations. 1. Agency. Ronald: Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution. 137. Edward A. 274. 273. 255. 79. 30. W. 155. University of New South Wales. Maarten : Plants. Sudbury MA. 252. 158. Rinehart and Winston. 221. 122. Evolution. 121. 254. 276. Ward: Struggle for the Land: Indigenous Resistance to Genocide. Bailey. 264. 207. D Deployment. Kai: A New Species of Trouble: Explorations in Disaster. 1972. Common Courage Press. 115. 216. 127. 1. 158. 25. 130. Poverty. 1985. 4. 144. 139. 149. 172. 71. John H. Richard: Genetic Transformation in Plants. Government. 82. 150. 41. 1993. 130. 2003. 27. Boston. 259. 150. 16. 106. L Language. Pollution. Corporation. and Wade. New York. 9. Finance. 115. 1992. New York. Primrose. Power. R. 190. 127. 164. 224. Chrispeels. 261. 274. 161. 105. David: The Quality of Life in America. Ecocide. 79. Monroe. 126. 287. 52. 145. 54. 46. 270. 1989. 185. 272. Agreement. Dekker/CRC Press. New York. 127. Dodds. 76. David Sadava: Plants. 97. Jones and Barlett Publishers. Leaders. 86. Shetty. Legislation. F G Global Warming. 150. 132. 141. 183. Cooperation. Brown and Company. 222. B Business. 144. 191. 161. 250. Murray.: Society and Environment: The Coming Collision. 272. 167. Hydrogen. 224. Information. 98. Holt. 162. David: Seeds of Concern: The Genetic Manipulation of Plants. 17. 24. 123. 240. 167.

139. 186. 82. 41. 172. 181. 3. 201. 253. 5. 118. 246. 255. 12. 123. 108. 19. 187. 5. 160. 271. 89. 5. 185. 289. 179. 152. 178. Renewable Heat Energy. Solar Variation. Photosynthesis. 179. 268. 82. 26. 9. 154. 185. 239. 159. R Reflections. 276. Sodium. 17. 107. 181. 197. 152. 165. 185. 88. 119. 28. 167. 153. 140. Organization. 219. 181. 138. 187. 262.296 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Energy and its Uses 297 M Management. 34. 215. 39. 242. 3. 160. 155. 92. O Operation. 166. Policy. 11. 95. 200. 66. 236. 84. 6. 11. Metabolism. Solar Power. 181. 272. 33. 124. 55. Solar Lighting. 143. 2. 14. 187. Weapon. 31. 222. 97. 188. 190. 166. Measurement. 191. 6. 29. 162. P Parliament. 179. Relationship. 194. 112. 273. 58. 10. 225. 116. 168. 254. 156. Nuclear Energy. 268. 282. 225. 274. 49. 175. 188. 146. 149. CONTENTS 1. 182. 29. 69. 197. World War. 177. Partnership. 158. 1. 130. T Tanks. 243. 189. 249. 195. 141. 52. Manifestations. 177. 74. 13. 12. 4. 242. Manipulation. 137. 261. 203. 44. 254. 174. 7. 130. 141. Solar Thermal. 9. 47. 196. 131. Solar Array. 22. 23. . 66. 183. 278. 132. 8. 146. 212. Wind Power. 279. 144. 16. 45. 83. 291. 1. 218. 47. 244. 180. 250. Water Power. 278. 162. 95. 150. 199. W Water Heating. 133. 162. Preface Introduction Solar Variation Solar Variation Theory Solar Array The Solar Cell Supremacy Over other Energy Sources The Solar Combisystem Solar Power Satellite Bibliography Index 1 31 44 84 88 143 199 253 294 295 N Nitrogen. 165. Revolution. 140. 59. 257. 200. 141. 170. 153. Solar Electricity. 212. 167. 38. 243. 292. Mechanism. 243. 125. 2. 232. 8. 184. 5. 16. 277. 172. 42. 190. 256. 28. 41. 155. 174. 171. S Society. 15. 191. 202. 145. 171. 272. Propagation. 188. 189. Terrorism. 274. 1. 99. 17. 221. 184. 131. Solar Vehicles. 277. 4. 273. 143. 146. 124. 73. 180. 265. 123. 147. 162. 147. 143. 118. Protection. 92. Morphology. 45. 249. 112.

298 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Energy and its Uses 299 .

300 Solar Energy and its Uses Solar Energy and its Uses 301 .

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