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HOUSE DESIGN

Renewable Energy
LVARO DE ANDRS EMMANUEL KYERE-FREMPONG QIAO HE ZHENHUA ZHANG GORKA BARRIO FERNANDEZ

TABLE OF CONTENT
2. Introduction ........................................................................................................................ 3 3. Electric Power production from Solar ................................................................................ 4 4. Environmentally Friendly Architecture.............................................................................. 5 a) Passive solar architecture. ......................................................................................... 5 b) Active solar architecture. ........................................................................................... 5 c) Sustainable architecture. ............................................................................................ 5 d) Self-sufficient house. .................................................................................................. 5 e) Bioclimatic architecture. ............................................................................................ 5 5. Bioclimatic Architecture .................................................................................................... 5 a) Location ...................................................................................................................... 6 b) Shape of the house ...................................................................................................... 6 c) Orientation ................................................................................................................. 6 f) Isolation and thermal mass ......................................................................................... 8 g) Ventilation. ................................................................................................................. 8 h) Climatic use of soil. .................................................................................................. 10 i) Stopper rooms. .......................................................................................................... 10 j) Protection from summer radiation. ........................................................................... 10 6. Environmental Impact and Safety .................................................................................... 12 1) Is this material effective for your conditions? ...................................................... 13 2) Is this material safe and healthy? ......................................................................... 13 3) Is this material durable and easily maintained? .................................................. 13 4) Is this material used efficiently? ........................................................................... 14 1. Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (AAC): .................................................................. 15 2. Recycled Cotton/Polyester insulation: ................................................................. 16 3) Straw Bale building: ............................................................................................. 16 7. PV ECONOMIC CONSIDERATIONS ........................................................................... 18 The cost of energy independent house .......................................................................... 18 Why is solar energy so expensive? ............................................................................... 19 Governments policy ..................................................................................................... 19 8. Conclusions ...................................................................................................................... 21 9. References ........................................................................................................................ 22

Figure 1. Converting Solar to Electricity. Source: http://www.energyquest.ca.gov/story/chapter15.html...................................................4 Figure 2. Orientation for maximum sun light. Source: http://www.geocities.com/ResearchTriangle/Facility/8776/indiceE.htm.........6 Figure 3. Solar Panel Orientation. Source: http://www.solarhouse.com.......................7 Figure 4. Heat transfer. Source: http://www.geocities.com/ResearchTriangle/Facility/8776/indiceE.htm.......................7 Figure 5. Source: http://www.geocities.com/ResearchTriangle/Facility/8776/indiceE.htm.......................8 Figure 6. Natural Ventilation. Source: http://www.geocities.com/ResearchTriangle/Facility/8776/indiceE.htm.......................9 Figure 7. Source: http://www.geocities.com/ResearchTriangle/Facility/8776/indiceE.htm.......................9 Figure 8. Source: http://www.fasec.com/.....................................................................10 Figure 9a & 9b. Source: http://www.geocities.com/ResearchTriangle/Facility/8776/indiceE.htm......................11 Figure 10. Source: http://www.geocities.com/ResearchTriangle/Facility/8776/indiceE.htm......................11 Figure 11. Source: http://www.geocities.com/ResearchTriangle/Facility/8776/indiceE.............................12 Figure 12. Floor tiles made from recycled rubber Source: http://www.greenguide.com/gallery/index.html...............................................14 Figure 13. Tile made with recycled glass Source: http://www.greenguide.com/gallery/index.html.............................................................15 Figure 14. Pores from AAC Source: http://www.toolbase.org/Technology-Inventory/Foundations/autoclaved-aeratedconcrete...........................................................................................................................15 Figure 15. Recycled cotton insulation Source: http://www.greenguide.com/gallery/index.html................................................16 Figure 16. Straw bale insulation Source: http://www.greenguide.com/gallery/index.html................................................17 Figure 17. Economic curve............................................................................................18 Figure 18. Source: SEIA, 2004-09 (http://www.istis.sh.cn/list/list.asp?id=1602).........20 Figure 19. Source: SEIA, 2004-09 (http://www.istis.sh.cn/list/list.asp?id=1602).........20

TABLE OF FIGURES

1. Background
Renewable energy resources of sun, wind, and water can improve the quality of life and promote sustainable development for people throughout the world. Renewable energy systems are practical, reliable, cost efficient, and environmentally sound. In the Renewable energy course, we were asked to do a project about existing energies that renewable and sustainable. After discussing, we decided to write about using solar energy to power a house focusing on the architectural design of the house to make the maximum use of the sun energy.

2. Introduction
The vast quantity of energy received by Earth from the sun and the potential for converting that energy into more useful forms for society has intrigued scientists, engineers and social planners for about a decade. After that, tremendous interest was displayed by the scientific and lay community alike, in alternative energy source, including a turn to solar energy. Energy from the sun was considered by many families as a relatively low-cost and essentially pollution-free source, particularly in contrast with polluting, non-renewable, socalled fossil fuel and with nuclear fuels, which many people consider in a negative light. During the 1970s, many million of dollars were invested by governments worldwide and by private institution, architectural and solar equipment firms toward the development of practical, economically competitive solar energy systems. As a result of that activity, progress in designing passive solar energy system into buildings had been more popular in the past. Many house's windows, walls, and floors can be designed to collect, store, and distribute solar energy in the form of heat in the winter and reject solar heat in the summer. This is called passive solar design or climatic design. Unlike active solar heating systems, passive solar design doesn't involve the use of mechanical and electrical devices, such as pumps, fans, or electrical controls to move the solar heat. Passive solar homes range from those heated almost entirely by the sun to those with southfacing windows that provide some fraction of the heating load. The difference between a passive solar home and a conventional home is design. The key is designing a passive solar home to best take advantage of the local climate. So we can apply passive solar design techniques most easily when designing a new home. But not nearly so extensive as once estimated. Active solar energy systems, in which solar radiation is converted into another energy form has also progressed, but the number of outstandingly successful installations is relatively limited, and essentially these are presently regarded as still in an experimental phase. In contrast, considerable research continues to be directed toward solar, but it should be immediately stressed that solar cells for communication and other satellites and space vehicles are vitally needed, because they provide an energy source difficult to obtain in 3

other ways. Cost, in this instance, is not supercritical, but one finds that solar cells for building, etc. heating and power still are essentially non-competitive. Some relatively lowcost, small solar-powered devices designed mainly for public consumption have appeared in recent years. But when considering the design of an environmentally friendly house we must not forget materials origin, pollutants contained in them and the disposal of them after they are not used any more.

3. Electric Power production from Solar

Figure 1. Converting Solar to Electricity. Source: http://www.energyquest.ca.gov/story/chapter15.html

We can also change the sunlight directly to electricity using solar cells. Solar cells are also called photovoltaic cells - or PV cells for short - and can be found on many small appliances, like calculators, and even on spacecraft. When sunlight strikes the solar cell, electrons (red circles) are knocked loose. They move toward the treated front surface (dark blue colour). An electron imbalance is created between the front and back. When the two surfaces are joined by a connector, like a wire, a current of electricity occurs between the negative and positive sides. These individual solar cells are arranged together in a PV module and the modules are grouped together in an array. Some of the arrays are set on special tracking devices to follow sunlight all day long. The electrical energy from solar cells can then be used directly. It can be used in a home for lights and appliances. It can be used in a business. Solar energy can be stored in batteries to light a roadside billboard at night. Or the energy can be stored in a battery for an emergency roadside cellular telephone when no telephone wires are around.

4. Environmentally Friendly Architecture


Energy consumption at homes is the second biggest personal energy expense only after transportation. That is the reason why actual architecture should focus on new designs with which the same comfort level is reached without wasting any energy. With this idea in mind we can distinguish between various types of designing and building systems which work in the same direction but with some peculiarities.

a) Passive solar architecture.


This kind of housing design is related with the efficient use of solar energy without using any mechanical device in house conditioning.

b) Active solar architecture.


It takes advantage of solar energy by the means of mechanic and/or electric systems for heating (solar collectors/thermal solar energy) and electric conversion (photovoltaic panels).

c) Sustainable architecture.
This name stands for the more general concept of designing, locating and building, using and demolishing a house causing a minimum impact to the environment. This aim can be reached taking into account the whole lifecycle of the building.

d) Self-sufficient house.
A self-sufficient house can be independent from centralized supply networks as electricity, gas, water and even food, by taking advantage of locally available resources.

e) Bioclimatic architecture.
It is the one that takes into account local climatic conditions in order to achieve thermal comfort indoors. It deals with design and architectural elements, avoiding, as far as possible, mechanical or electronic systems.

5. Bioclimatic Architecture
As it has been said before, the bioclimatic architecture takes advantage of the climatic conditions of the house location. Because of this, it is essential to have a deep knowledge of the most representative climatic variables in each season. This data can be taken from meteorological institutes of from the own experience of that areas inhabitants. In this section we will try to give a general guideline about some of the tools that can be used and some points to have in mind when designing a bioclimatic house. 5

a) Location
One of the most important points in a bioclimatic house is the location since climatic issues will influence strongly in indoor conditioning. Some geographical features such as rivers, forests, lakes or mountains have a may change regional macroclimatic conditions (Average temperatures, rain fall, solar radiation or main wind direction and power). This is the socalled microclimate. When building a bioclimatic house, the first point to take into account is that concerned with macro and microclimatic conditions, in order to make the best of them for our own profit.

b) Shape of the house


Referring to the shape of the house it has to be said that the surface in contact with the outdoor environment should be as small as possible for a certain volume. Minimizing this surface, convective heat losses due to the wind can be strongly reduced.

c) Orientation
This point is very important for making the best of the sun light received. Usually we will be interested in capturing as much solar light as possible since this will be our main energy resource. During summer time, radiation can be avoided if necessary with the use of elements that cast shade to the house. In north hemisphere a good orientation is the one that has a big glass surface in the south faade in order to get as much radiation as possible. East and west facades should be minimized and north wall should not have many windows so heat losses are not big but allow illumination and ventilation. Dominant wind should as well be taken into account in order to avoid excessive convective heat losses.

Figure 2. Orientation for maximum sun light. Source: http://www.geocities.com/ResearchTriangle/Facility/8776/indiceE.htm

d) Active solar collecting

Solar roofing is one of the newer styles of photovoltaic unit for a large household system, solar roofing have the appearance of regular roofing shingles or regular metal channel roofing. It is the most pleasing option for a full-house solar system; these products are now becoming available on a widespread basis.

Figure 3. Solar Panel Orientation. Source: http://www.solarhouse.com

e) Passive solar collecting In bioclimatic architecture sun light collecting is done taking advantage of the house design. Due to the greenhouse effect, light comes in through windows heating air and materials behind them. If those materials have a certain heat capacity, they will store the heat and liberate it during the night while using systems to avoid heat losses through windows. We can classify heating systems as follows:

Direct systems. Sun enters directly through glasses and the heat is stored in inertial masses. These systems have a high efficiency and a low delay period. Semi direct systems. It is based in the use of an intermediate room, such as a greenhouse, between indoor and outdoor space. The energy inflow from this room can be regulated. The efficiency of these systems is lower than in the former and the delay is greater. Indirect systems. Energy collecting is done in an inertial mass situated directly behind the glass. Heat stored there can pass to the house by conduction, convection or radiation. This inertial mass can be water deposits, stones or other high heat capacity material. The efficiency is the lowest of the three systems and also the delay.
Figure 4. Heat transfer. Source: http://www.geocities.com/ResearchTriangle/Facility/8776/indiceE.htm

f) Isolation and thermal mass


The heat emission delay caused by inertial masses works in different time scales. Daily cycle. Throughout winter time, the mass stores heat during the day and releases it in the night, while in summer time, the heat stored in walls during the day avoids a rise in indoors temperature and is evacuated by ventilation in the night. Inter-diary cycle. The thermal mass is able to maintain for some days indoor conditions although external weather has changed. Annual cycle. Heat is stored from summer to winter. Only soil can perform that function.

Thermal insulation makes heat losses in winter or inlets in summer through walls more difficult. Insulation material should be placed outside thermal masses to make the best of these masses. It is not worth to put excessive insulation when ventilation in some extent will be necessary. It is essential as well, a good isolation in windows either by the use of double glasses and blinds or shutters.
Figure 5. Source: http://www.geocities.com/ResearchTriangle/Facility/8776/indiceE.htm

Related to this insulation matter, when trying to build a green building we have to be careful with the materials we use in order to be as ecological as possible. A brief choosing guideline on this issue will be described in the environmental impact section.

g) Ventilation.
Ventilation in a bioclimatic house has different uses: Air renewal. Removing heat in summer. Thermal comfort increasing in summer since air movement decreases heat sensation.

Different ventilation systems can be considered: Natural ventilation. This kind of ventilation takes place when we open windows and air drafts are created. In order to be as efficient as possible, windows should be placed opposite to each other and in the direction of main wind.

Figure 6. Natural Ventilation. Source: http://www.geocities.com/ResearchTriangle/Facility/8776/indiceE.htm

Convective ventilation. It is the one that takes place when hot air rises and is replaced by new air. In order for this ventilation to be efficient, the new air should be cold air. If there are some apertures in the top part of the house and the new air comes from a cool place like a garden or buried devices, ventilation will be satisfactory. Air drafts can be strengthened by the use of solar heating of the air in the top part of the house.

Figure 7. Source:

http://www.geocities.com/ResearchTriangle/Facility/8776/indiceE.htm

Convective ventilation through attic. An attic can perform a double function: during winter time, it acts as an additional isolation reducing heat losses through the roof; we can design apertures for convective ventilation. Ventilated faade. It is based in the use of an external air chamber that when heated creates an upwards air draft cooling the walls and thus the indoor environment.

Figure 8. Source: http://www.fasec.com/

h) Climatic use of soil.


Soil has a high thermal inertia, thus it can damp outsides temperatures variations. This can be used in a bioclimatic house by means of partially or totally burying the north faade in order to be protected of cold wind as well as damping temperature changes. Additional use of the soil can be done burying some tubes and forcing air to circulate from there to the house. With this, we will obtain good refrigeration.

i) Stopper rooms.
They are rooms which are attached to the house and are used only in conditioning means. Inside these rooms, climatic comfort is not guaranteed but they strongly help in conditioning the rest of the house. Examples of these can be the garage, the attic or the greenhouse.

j) Protection from summer radiation.


When studying solar radiation throughout the year we have to consider the relative position of the sun in each season. It is well known that Earths rotation angle varies during the year being this, the cause of having different seasons.

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Figure 9 b Figure 9a. Source: http://www.geocities.com/ResearchTriangle/Facility/8776/indiceE.htm

From figure 9a & 9b, we can realize that the angle with which sunlight will strike a house will vary throughout the year. During winter time, the sun is low in the horizon, and a South oriented faade will receive a big amount of radiation while other walls will not. In the other hand, during summer time the sun will be higher in the horizon line and a south oriented faade will not receive as much direct radiation, while East and West oriented ones, will be very exposed in the morning and in the afternoon. During summer time passive solar capture systems for winter heating are harmful. Thus, it is important to avoid radiation to enter the house. Luckily, sun is higher in the horizon in summer so by using an eave over the windows direct solar light can be stopped. Furthermore, the lack of perpendicularity of the sun shines with the glass surface makes that less radiation can enter the house. But there are three main inconvenient: Summer solstice does not coincide with the hottest days of summer. So when it is hotter, sun is lower in the horizon. Days are longer and sky is clearer in summer than in winter. Diffuse and reflected radiation must be taken into account.
Figure 10. Source: http://www.geocities.com/ResearchTriangle/Facility/8776/indiceE.htm

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We will point out here some tools that can be used in order to reduce solar penetration at homes during summer: Fixed eaves over windows. Adjustable canopies. External blinds. Shutters. Deciduous leave vegetation. This kind of vegetation provides with shade during summer and does not impede light pass in winter. Furthermore, season changes are more accurately followed by vegetation that by fixed elements. It is a good idea to plant perennial leave trees opposite north faade in order to protect from north wind in winter while deciduous leave vegetation in south faade.

Figure 11. Source: http://www.geocities.com/ResearchTriangle/Facility/8776/indiceE

6. Environmental Impact and Safety


Energy supply from solar is pure and environmentally friendly; it does not emit any gases, no liquid pollutant, and no radioactive substances. Since PV energy system have no moving parts they are also save in terms of producing noise. Due to the actual situation of global warming and Kyoto Protocol exigencies, the saving in CO2 emissions achieved by the use of solar power is essential. The environmental impact of the manufacturing of silicon cells is not significant. The basic material from which the cells are made is 99% silicon which is not intrinsically harmful. However, as with any chemical process, much attention must be paid to plant design and operations to ensure that contain of any toxic or potentially harmful chemical are well taken care of. Even though PV panels are potentially very long-lived devices, eventually they will come to the end of their useful life and will have to be dispose off or recycled. Since PV panel contains insignificant quantity of toxic metals, safe recycling and disposal methods will have to be developed to ensure that these substances are not released into the environment.

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Another important issue in house designing is the election of the materials needed to build the house. However, we shouldnt forget that the selection of the suitable material must be done after deciding which the correct site is and which will be the appropriate design for those conditions. Nowadays there are lots of green building materials available due to a growing concern about environmental issues. Nevertheless the following tips are actually helpful in order to make a good choice:

1) Is this material effective for your conditions?


The materials usually have a range of conditions in which they work best. So it is actually important that when you buy a material you make sure that it fits your conditions. A material that works in a soft climate is maybe unable to bear freezing temperatures. For example, steel will be a better choice than wood if your structure is going to be located in an area where termites are a real threat.

2) Is this material safe and healthy?


Materials must be safe and healthy for the workers that harvest or extract, manufacture and finally install them, but also for the inhabitants who are exposed to their particles and fumes. For example, inhabitants as long as painters benefit from paints that dont spread toxic fumes. Moreover, materials and all that is related to their production, use and disposal must be safe for the planet, because we dont want our homes to add to environmental problems such as pollution, global warming, loss of habitat and ozone reduction. For example, if the wood we use comes from a sustainable managed forest, the forest remains viable for future tree harvesting and wildlife habitat. That is not the case with a tree farm, so if we want to be sure that we are using a green material we have to look for the certification provided by an independent testing company. Another usual example is that when clay tile is disposed of, it biodegrades easily, while pressure-treated lumber (CCA) is treated as a hazardous waste. CCA (Chromated Copper Arsenate) is a preservative for wood that protects wood from rotting due to insects and microbial agents. It was banned for residential use in 2004 by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) due to its high content in arsenic.

3) Is this material durable and easily maintained?


If we use materials that last long time, we are saving in the resources needed to replace them and we reduce the disposal problems and costs. In addition if that material requires little maintenance, we are saving in time, materials, work and as a consequence saving money. 13

For example, using earth materials (brick, stone, clay,..) as the buildings outside layer means that you wont have to replace or paint it and you also avoid problems with termites.

4) Is this material used efficiently?


The first step to efficiency is to buy materials that come from and have been processed in the region where you are going to build, since transportation results in pollution. The second step is to use the material in its natural state or with little processing. Materials like stone or wood can be used with little processing. If we are using a material that needs processing, the manufacturing process must be efficient by reducing energy consumption and greenhouse effect gases and minimizing waste. The third step is to analyze if this material can be used for more than one purpose, so that other materials wont be needed. For example, an earth material column doesnt need to be covered with a finish material but a lumber beam needs to be treated with preservatives for long term durability. In the fourth step we have to make sure that the material we are using makes efficient use of the resources its made of. For example we can use products made with recycled content such as roofing products and tiles made with recycled rubber or clay tiles made using recycled glass.
Floor tiles made from recycled rubber

Figure 12. Source: http://www.greenguide.com/gallery/index.html

The material has to be easily recyclable (for example concrete blocks). Products made of many different materials are difficult to recycle because it is a hard job to separate them.

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Tile made with recycled glass

Figure 13. Source: http://www.greenguide.com/gallery/index.html

The fifth step consists on deciding whether this material is effective in relation to its cost. The cost of a material is not only the purchase prize; we must also take into account additional costs such as maintenance and replacing. What seems a bargain at first may become a future problem. Here are descriptions of some green building materials:

1. Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (AAC):


In the beginning of the 19th century Swedes discovered a mixture of cement, lime, water and sand that expands by adding aluminium powder. Nowadays, due to a huge development we have a material that is like wood but without disadvantages such as combustibility or termite damage.

Pores from AAC

Figure 14. Source: http://www.toolbase.org/Technology-Inventory/Foundations/autoclaved-aeratedconcrete

Some of the advantages of AAC are: 1. It is completely recyclable. 2. It is a very durable material (over 60 years) 3. High thermal insulation (cooler in summer and warmer in winter) 15

4. The use of AAC eliminates the need for applying materials against fire. 5. Mould resistance (prevents illnesses). AAC is breathable and made with inorganic materials, so it doesnt offer the nutrients needed for mould growth. 6. High indoor air quality ( it doesnt contain toxic substances and doesnt decompose) 7. Easy to repair using an AAC mortar.

2. Recycled Cotton/Polyester insulation:


Nowadays the most used insulation product is the fibreglass. However, U.S. and German governments have considered it as a suspected carcinogen; so it seems that it is actually interesting to explore other fields such as cotton insulation.
Recycled cotton insulation

Figure 15. Source: http://www.greenguide.com/gallery/index.html

For example, Bonded Logics cotton insulation product its about 78 per cent pre-consumer blue jeans scraps from closely located factories. Here are other interesting features: Lower primary energy demand than fibreglass Lower carbon dioxide emissions (considering manufacturing and transportation phase). Higher acoustic insulation than fibreglass. It is safe product for the workers.

3) Straw Bale building:


There are to types of bale wall building: the first needs a steel, wood or concrete structure and the bales are placed in the wall as insulation. The other one uses the bales to bear weight, for example in the roof. Straw Bale building has many advantages such as: Great insulation properties, which means a reduction in the use of energy resources in order to provide heating and cooling. 16

Contributes to diminish the cutting down of trees. Good indoor air quality due to their breathability. Straw bales allow a gradual transfer of air through the wall. It is a non-toxic product that needs no or little processing. It is available whenever a grain crop is grown (in some parts of the world, the straw it is considered as a waste whereas in others it is used to breed animals after getting the proper treatment) They also provide a good sound insulation. When condensed into bales, straw resist combustion due to the lack of oxygen.
Straw bale insulation

Figure 16. Source: http://www.greenguide.com/gallery/index.html

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7. PV ECONOMIC CONSIDERATIONS
The significant factor driving the solar energy system design process is whether it is economical. Although there are other environmental or strategy factors, decisions are almost dominated by the levelized energy cost. The cost of energy independent house The total cost of an energy independent house is divided into two parts, including initial cost and operational cost. Initial Cost: Including the fee of equipment, such as PV panels, mounting hardware, original battery set etc. and the installation fee. The recent price sheet shows that, through September 2006, the price of equipments which are needed to construct an energy independent house is 29,592 dollars and the installation fee is 5,864dollars. That means before you are enjoying your free of energy, you should invest 35,456 dollars first. Its really a big amount of money. No wonder why people always take a careful consideration before purchasing it. Operational cost: Including battery replacement and the cost of backup generator power during the winter months. However, for the solar energy is delivered free of charge, so the operational cost of this technology is much less than standard or comparable products.
other

Here we can use a simple graph to illustrate whats the difference between the cost of solar energy and the other forms of energy. The p solar vertical ax stands for the cost of energy; meanwhile, the horizontal one represents time. Because the initial cost of solar energy is much higher, its curve starts from a higher place in the P-ax ; the slope rate means the cost per year, T which is called operational cost. For the operational cost of solar energy is very small, its t Figure 17. Economic curve curve seems flat ; on the other hand, because of the comparative low initial cost of using other forms of energy, its curve starts from a low place in the P-ax. But with time increasing, the fee increases dramatically for the high operational cost. So the curve is much steeper than the solar one. The interaction of two curves means, they both cost p at t. and we notice that, when T t, the solar-curve is higher than the other-curve, showing that solar is much more expensive; when T t, the opposite thing happens. The cost of other energy is more expensive than solar power, and with year goes by, it gets more and more expensive. Considering the development of the society, we should take a long run view. And from this point of view, solar power is a cheap one. P

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Why is solar energy so expensive?


There are many reasons why solar energy is so expensive. Ill try to shed light on a few of them. Shortage in supply of raw-material is the main factor

In the global chain of PV system industry, high-purity silicon material (more than 99.9999% purity) is the core raw material for PV system industry to produce solar cell. The booming of PV system industry in recent years resulted in the shortage of silicon supplying. In 2003, its world market price is 24 dollars per kilo; and it grows to 32 dollars per kilo the next year. More exaggerated, it reached 80 dollars per kilo at the end of 2005. Technology limited Competition is minimal It seems more expensive when compared with the other way to produce power.

Photovoltaic power generation cost is about biomass power generation (gas to generate electricity) 7-12 times 6-10 times the wind power generation, the traditional method of coal 11~18 times. Most people are focusing on the day to day survival; they are not willing to be concerned with a long run investment such as solar energy. We have become addicted to fossil fuel energy concentrates the way a child becomes addicted to candy. High designing fee

Governments policy
From this stage, to be able to promote solar energy industry, the key is to lower the consumers cost -- --whatever it is civilian or business. To achieve this goal, the further development of the technology in government support (subsidies) are also very important; lets take a close look at the what was lay on in the two biggest solar energy consuming country. Germany: On April 2000, the German government introduced the "tax return" (Feed-In Tariff) policy. The solar products supplier promise to maintain the same price for 20 years. And after the solar energy has been incorporated into the public power grid, the industry can get the return of about 50 euro cents from the government per kilowatthour of electricity output. For those new contract, the price will be reduced by 5% annually promise to encourage solar energy technology manufacturers to reduce costs. This tax-return policy which is composed of low-interest loans for 100,000 roofs program, made a great promotion to German solar energy market. So the size of the 19

market has risen from less than 20 megawatts to 130 megawatts annually. Meanwhile it attracted so many investors to indulge in, maintained the markets sustained development. The cost was shared by all electricity consumers, thus there was no negative impact on the public sectors. And the government was free from allocating funds. The following graph shows that Germany "tax return" policy to the tremendous growth of solar energy market. Picture: the growth in the installation of solar energy systems in Germany

Figure 18. Source: SEIA, 2004-09 (http://www.istis.sh.cn/list/list.asp?id=1602)

Japan: In Japan, by the stimulation of 70,000 roofs program, the solar market has been expanding rapidly in recent years. This subsidy scheme which included 50% of the initial cost of the 3-to 4-kW grid-connected residential systems was all financed by the Japanese government. Implementation of the plan makes solar energy product prices lower by more than 50% in the past 10 years alone, the number of newly installed systems increased from 500 to 100,000, and the gradual elimination of the pre-existing discount phenomenon. State governments investment has cultivated a large-scale international competitiveness of solar manufacturing capacity. The following graph shows 70,000 solar roofs on Japanese products in lower prices and the positive role of the capacity of installed equipment.

Picture: the number of installed solar energy systems with the price trend in Japan

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Figure 19. Source: SEIA, 2004-09 (http://www.istis.sh.cn/list/list.asp?id=1602)

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8. Conclusions
The initial or the up-front cost of installing solar panels is very high therefore, making it hard for people to make decision whether to buy it or not. However, putting it together with the design and building of the house make more economical and competitive not even considering the environmental benefits. Further saving could be made by using solar roofing instead of normal roofing materials. The cost of roofing your house would be part of the cost of the solar energy. Further more, professor Vivian Alberts who works at the University of Johannesburgs department of physics, has developed a revolutionary process to produce solar panels using CIGS (copper-indium-galliumdiselenide) instead of silicon. The final product is expected to cost a quarter of the price of current solar panels. Professor Albertss revolutionary CIGS photovoltaic technology makes this project more cost effective and very attractive.

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9. References
Books: Godfrey Boyle (1996) Renewable Energy, Power for a Sustainable Future John Twidell & Tony Weir (2006) Renewable Energy Resources 2nd edition Internet: http://www.energyquest.ca.gov/story/chapter15.html http://www.nabcep.org/news.cfm http://www.sessa.org.za/mediaandlinks/newsandarticles/commrev http://www.pvresources.com/en/top50pv.php#top50table http://www.solarhouse.com/index2.htm http://www.bp.com/genericarticle.do?categoryId=3050476&contentId=3060081 http://www.solarbuzz.com/Utilities2.htm http://www.powerfromthesun.net/chapter1/Chapter1.htm http://www.toolbase.org/TechInventory/techDetails.aspx?ContentDetailID=619 http://www.sunfrost.com/stand_alone_PV.html http://www.strawbale.com/why.html http://www.strawbale-building.co.uk/index.php?page=faq http://sitemaker.umich.edu/snre-student-cscheuer/files/insulation_lca.pdf http://www.epa.gov/wastewise/pubs/wwupda16.pdf http://www.aacpa.org/aboutaac/index.htm http://www.toolbase.org/Technology-Inventory/Foundations/autoclaved-aerated-concrete http://www.geocities.com/ResearchTriangle/Facility/8776/indiceE.htm http://www.bondedlogic.com/insulator.htm http://www.austinenergy.com/energy%20efficiency/programs/Green%20Building/Resource s/ http://www.epa.gov/oppad001/reregistration/cca/index.htm http://www.newbuilder.co.uk/ http://www.greenguide.com http://www.csostenible.net http://www.afrepren.org/ http://www.vivienda-bioclimatica.com/index.htm http://www.tecnun.es/ http://centros5.pntic.mec.es/ies.victoria.kent/Departamentos/DFyQ/energia/e3/energias.htm http://www.powerfromthesun.net/chapter1/Chapter1.htm http://256.com/solar/ http://www.istis.sh.cn/list/list.asp?id=1602 http://energymatch.com/features/article.asp?articleid=20 http://www.fasec.com/ http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/

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