Tag: Residential Solar Power

Why Solar Power will change Traditional Power Systems

Solar Site Assessment for your HomeWhy solar power will change traditional power systems and when is the big question facing electrical generation companies, transmission companies, and investors? Utilities in the power generation and transmission business have been cash cows for investors for years. Many investors are beginning to wonder if their cash dividends are at risk. The quick answer is that it depends on how the existing companies respond to this new source of power. How do they manage the environmental impact message for the new and old systems? There is no question that there is less air pollution from solar and wind farm generation compared to coal, oil, and natural gas-fired generation plants. There is a lot of pressure to have a higher percentage of generation come from these sources as time goes on.

Why Solar Power will change Traditional Power Systems

Traditional power system companies must realize that they need to invest in this new technology to protect their investments in transmission systems and retain existing customers while being seen as being progressive from an environmental perspective. Progressive companies will make this transition and therefore protect their dividend stream for investors while producing low-cost electrical power.

The real threat comes from rooftop solar power which removes bottom line revenue from the system. This drives the per unit cost up for everyone else who does not deploy a rooftop solar installation. Remote areas and high cost per kilowatt areas will be the first to convert, simply because of the economics.

An aggressive approach to generating power by traditional power generation companies will help to keep costs to the consumer down. This action will also decrease the motivation to install rooftop solar generation. The jury is still out on how this issue will evolve. However, investors in utilities would be wise to pay attention to these issues.

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Are Solar Panels Really Green?

Solar Site Assessment for your HomeThe standard assumption by most consumers is that solar panels along with wind technology is that they are green and make a positive contribution to the reduction of pollution around the world. But, are solar panels really green? Technology has been around for years. They are also touted as a green technology that will change the way that electricity is generated. Reductions in coal-based generated electricity will put many people out of work. Reduction in coal use will also reduce the amount of pollution. This is the argument of most environmentalists. What are the facts and will this trend really help us in the long run?

Are Solar Panels Really Green?

The jury is actually still out on this question, Are Solar Panels Really Green, believe it or not. This is still a relatively new industry. Before we can definitely say that there will be reductions in pollution based on solar panels. Here are a few examples.

Coal-Fired Electrical Generation Plants – Switching to solar panels will reduce the amount of electricity needed from these plants. Therefore reducing the amount of coal burned is a good thing. The reduction in the amount of local pollution is a good thing from an environmental perspective. Switching to natural gas will also reduce pollution.

Solar Panel Farms – They take up a large area. Nothing else can be done with the land they occupy. Much more space is required for solar panels than for traditional power plants. And water is becoming a short supply issue for many areas.

Manufacturing Solar Panels

China predominantly manufactures these products. China has very lax standards in terms of control of toxic chemicals used in the process. It takes a great deal of energy to make a solar panel. Toxic waste is not disposed of properly. China and other countries are having to deal with significant levels of pollution in their countries.

Recycling –  No business has yet developed to deal with the toxic chemicals in solar panels. They are ending up in landfill sites.

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Solar Power Impact on the Grid

Solar Power Impact on the GridWith windmills and solar panels becoming increasingly popular, many investors as well as company managers are wondering what the solar power impact on the grid will be. We see solar panels appearing all over the country. Windmills are popping up in a variety of locations.  To the uninformed, it looks like there could be a significant impact on the grid. However, stop for a minute. Consider all of the homes and businesses that are powered by the nation’s electrical generation plants. These are massive sites, generating millions of kilowatts of power. What is the impact today on the grid? Almost nil!

Solar Power Impact on the Grid

We were able to find several charts that put this in perspective. For the year 2014, wind turbines generated 3% of the world’s power needs. By comparison, solar and tidal wave generation amounted to 1%. Coal is by far the largest at 39% and of course, produces the most pollution. Will these numbers shift over time? Of course, but it is going to take time. Perhaps as many as 20 years before there is a sizable change.

In the United States, coal is still at 39%, with natural gas at 27% and nuclear at 19% of the total generation requirements. Solar is down at .4% and wind at 4.4%. Other countries are making advances and attempting to begin the shift from greenhouse gas-causing power generation to renewables such as wind and solar.

The real driver for many energy companies facing historic demands for electrical power will be growth in the wind and solar areas. Whether these are large corporate-driven power plants or individuals installing their own windmills and solar systems and attaching them to the grid, much of the growth needs will be taken up by these new forms of energy generation.

The real impact on the grid is not how much power is generated. Instead, it will be making sure that the power coming from these small localized systems is clean energy without interference that can cause damage to sensitive computers and monitoring systems. Strict guidelines and standards will be required to ensure that this phenomenon is successful over the long term.

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