We have been posting about Renewable Solar Resources for some time, but in this article, we thought we would back up and review some basics you may or may not know.
What is renewable energy?
The US Energy Information Administration defines renewable energy as energy (power) from sources that are naturally replenishing but flow limited; renewable resources are virtually inexhaustible in duration but limited in the amount of energy that is available per unit of time.
It is a good way to define renewable energy, but there are some things that are slightly misleading about it. For instance, it refers to limited availability at any given time, and that is true, but perhaps a better way to explain the limitations are that man has not figured out how to effectively gather and utilize the full amount of a renewable resource as it is available. For instance, solar panels have vastly improved in the last few decades, but today, most solar panels are still only 20% efficient. Wind turbines in realistic applications have an average efficiency of 35 to 45% (The BETZ limit is 59% but it rarely occurs in regular applications).
Luckily, homes and businesses can still be run on either renewable resource, solar panel arrays or wind turbines, but more efficient technology in both energy generators will make the conversion and upkeep less costly, and deliver a surplus of power to be stored for less productive hours. Photovoltaic energy was in the news a few years ago regarding an accidental discovery. Researchers discovered that a new semiconductor material, based on argon gas and the non-metal semi conducting element, selenium; is capable of converting the entire solar spectrum into electrical power with 100% efficiency.
Meanwhile, in the wind turbine energy industry, Siemens Energy launched a new Direct Drive wind turbine which has three megawatts of power, runs on fifty percent fewer parts and produces twenty five percent more power than current turbines. Wind turbines are still usually used in commercial applications and are limited in where they can be effective in producing electricity.
As improvements continue to advance renewable energy resources for home and business use, the skies become cleaner due to more conversions, which makes the solar systems become more efficient. Because it does not rely on a commercial utility to convert, solar has become a popular option for many US homeowners, and Government incentives through the end of 2020 make it an even smarter option.
What this means for most homeowners.
Today, homeowners have more choices in electricity generation, and can get rewarded financially for making the switch to cleaner energy. Unfortunately, time is running out to take advantage of the financial incentives, so even when you know you will be getting less sunlight to power your system, if you have been considering converting to solar power, this is a good time to contact your local installation company – In the Minneapolis area, visit http://www.renewable-solar.com/ or call (888) 432-9024 for information on the best way to convert your home to solar power while you can still receive financial assistance to make the change.