Toward a Solar-Powered Grid: Four Ways to Make Electric Power Systems More Flexible to Integrate Intermittent Renewable Energy

Author/s: Dr. Varun Sivaram
1st Edition Year: 2019
Edition: First edition
Language: English
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At present, solar energy accounts for two percent of the world’s electricity and this is set to rise, but its growth could very well hit a ceiling. Therefore, urgent investment is needed now if the 21st century is to see humanity achieve affordable, clean and limitless energy.

Solar is the best shot at a clean energy transition. If solar provides 33 percent of world energy use by 2050, then we can reach zero percent carbon emissions this century, with solar the most important element in this.

Some solutions can avoid hitting the wall and making sure the value of solar panels stays above its costs. For example, silicon solar panels could be much more efficient; perovskite can be layered right on top of a silicon cell to boost its efficiency; concentrated Solar Power (CSP) can also store sunlight in the form of thermal energy, CSP can be a valuable complement to intermittent solar PVs. New CSP designs equipped with thermal storage and capable of reaching high temperatures cost far less and generate power 24/7. Moreover, solar tower facilities, which store solar as heat, can be used to generate electricity, while artificial leaf technology enables portable fuels that can compete with petroleum.

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