You are on page 1of 7

Solar Power Future of Renewable Energy

SCCE CASCADE

April, 2014

Contents
What is Solar Power and how Solar Cells work Solar Power Producing Countries

Challenges
Way Ahead

SCCE CASCADE

April, 2014

What is Solar Power and how Solar Cells work


Photovoltaic (PV) Cells convert Sunlight directly into Electricity A module is a group of PV cells connected electrically and packaged into a frame (more commonly known as a solar panel), which can then be grouped into larger solar arrays. Photovoltaic cells are made of special materials called semiconductors such as silicon, which is currently used most commonly. PV cells have one or more electric fields which force electrons freed by light absorption to flow in a certain direction. This flow of electrons is a current, and by placing metal contacts on the top and bottom of the PV cell, we can draw that current off for external use, say, to power a calculator. This current, together with the cell's voltage (which is a result of its built-in electric field or fields), defines the power (or wattage) that the solar cell can produce. It does not create pollution as compared to other sources of energy.

SCCE CASCADE

April, 2014

Solar Power Producing Countries


Total photovoltaic peak power capacity (MWp)
Germany has a goal of producing 35% of electricity from renewable sources by 2020 and 100% by 2050. Solar power in the People's Republic of China is one of the biggest industries in Mainland China.

A recent study indicates that a solar generating facility covering just 0.3% of the area comprising North Africa could supply all of the energy required by the European Union.
In July 2009, India unveiled a US$19 billion plan to produce 20 GW of solar power by 2020. The Charanka Solar Park, at 214 MW the largest in the world, was commissioned on April 19, 2012, along with a total of 605 MW in Gujarat, representing 2/3 of India's installed photovoltaics. Pakistan is setting up a solar power park, funded by the Chinese company TBEA, in the Cholistan desert near Yazman, about 30 kilometers from the eastern city of Bahawalpur. The solar project, which is to be set up on 5,000 acres, would produce 1,000 MW when completed. The first phase would be the development of eight projects of 50 Megawatts each.

In 2012 solar power produced just 0.5% of global electricity. Its very small when compared to coal (42%), natural gas (21%), hydro (15%) and nuclear (12%).
SCCE CASCADE
April, 2014

Challenges
High-Cost Manufacturing Facility (CapEx)
To be capable of manufacturing a low-cost product, low-cost manufacturing facilities are required. The solar business is a low-margin business and capital expenditures for production facilities (CapEx) will have to drop dramatically (currently in the $1 per watt range for thin-film factories) for the industry to compete with subsidized fossil fuels and also possess healthy profit margins.

Low Efficiency
The highest efficiency, without concentration, is currently averaging below 20% for a module and below 23% for an individual cell. This is not nearly high enough to sufficiently offset the balance of system (BOS) costs. To compete with other electricity generation (gas turbines and coal-fired plants), efficiencies in excess of 50% (without concentration) are needed.

High Cost Per Watt


Over the past decade, the industry has made dramatic progress in lowering the cost of PV panels, from more than $3 per watt to under $1 per watt. The industry is to be commended for this progress. To reach the necessary price levels to accelerate the industry forward and give manufacturing companies a reasonable margin, the manufacturing costs in the higher-efficiency-panel area need to be significantly below 50 cents per watt with the potential to go much lower.

Paradigm Shift Needed


To accomplish all three of the technical attributes and for the industry to accelerate worldwide, a major push forward with unconventional thinking is required toward a fully distributed solar future.

SCCE CASCADE

April, 2014

Way ahead..
We need to reassess how we generate our energy. The majority of the energy sources we utilize today have an imminent shelf life; the diminishing levels of fossil fuels will eventually cause an energy crisis. Indeed, were already seeing prices rocket. Added to that, the enormous damage the burning of those fossil fuels is doing to our planet and it is clear that alternative means of producing enough energy to power the globe is the need of the hour. The economics of solar power are improving. It is a far more cost-competitive power source today than it was in the mid2000s, when installations and manufacturing were taking off, subsidies were generous, and investors were piling in. Power companies are already incorporating solar energy into their energy sources, giving hope for a future powered by renewable resources such as sunlight. Cost reductions will put solar within striking distance, in economic terms, of new construction for traditional powergeneration technologies such as coal, natural gas and nuclear energy. The utility sector represents a fascinating example of the potential for significant disruption as costs fall, even as solar energy scale remains relatively small. Although solar accounts for only less than half a percent of electricity generation, the business model for utilities depends not so much on the current generation base as on installations of new capacity. Solar could seriously threaten the latter because its growth undermines the utilities ability to count on capturing all new demand, which historically has fueled a large share of annual revenue growth. (Price increases have accounted for the rest.) One of the biggest advantages of solar energy is the ability to avoid the politics and price volatility that is increasingly characterizing fossil fuel markets. The sun is an unlimited commodity that can be sourced from many locations, meaning solar is less vulnerable to the price manipulations and politics that have more than doubled the price of many fossil fuels in the past decade.

The main hindrance to solar energy going widespread is the cost of installing solar panels. Particularly obstructive is the fact that installing solar panels has large upfront costs after which the energy trickles in for free.
All is not lost though nuclear is a good example (economically) of energy production that was initially incredibly expensive, but became more feasible when appropriate energy subsidies were put in place.

SCCE CASCADE

April, 2014

Sources of Information :
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_by_country http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/energy/solar-cell1.htm http://shrinkthatfootprint.com/the-worlds-top-10-solar-countries http://www.mckinsey.com//insights/energy_resources_materials/the_disruptive_potential_of_solar_power http://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/2013/10/solar-can-save-planet-dont-fear-disrupting-system/

6.
7.

http://cleantechnica.com/2013/10/08/advantages-disadvantages-solar-power/#JBphjJtbiqq3imWo.99
http://www.alternative-energy-news.info/technology/solar-power/

If you have liked reading this issue or have any suggestions for improvements, cascade@scce.edu.in

please do write to the team :

Cascade, a monthly electronic publication of SCCE is distributed by SCCE, Pune with an access to all the Corporate Learners. This is also for the benefit of our alumni and due care has been taken to ensure that the information published herein is correct to the best of our knowledge.

Website: www.scce.edu.in

Email: cascade@scce.edu.in
SCCE - Cascade Team : Prof. Seema Singh, Head, SCCE & Ms. Joyita Rudra, Senior Coordinator, SCCE

SCCE CASCADE

April, 2014