Greenhouse gas emissions and solar panels have become major topics of discussion in recent years. With a rising climate change threat, the world needs to find creative solutions to combat global warming. This article discusses what steps are being taken to address the issue.
The IEA’s twelfth annual congress and exhibition in Barcelona is just about upon us. To celebrate the occasion IEA has commissioned the best and brightest alums to do the honors of bestowing a golden ring of their own. Several industry luminaries have come to a roundtable and are now on their way to Barcelona. One of the more hive worthy members is MIT’s venerable e-school’s Solar Power Laboratory. It is no secret that one of MIT’s founding members is a solar power buff. Indeed, it may be one of the few universities that boasts the most solar power per square foot of any university in the United States.
Concentrating solar power (CSP)
Concentrating solar power (CSP) is a form of renewable energy that uses the sun’s heat to produce electricity. It can also be used for cooling and industrial process heating.
CSP has become increasingly popular in the Middle East and North Africa. It can provide clean and renewable energy, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. But there are some risks to building and operating a CSP plant, as well as the costs. However, technology advances have made installation and operation much less costly.
The global market for CSP is expected to increase in the coming years. Capacity will increase as more projects are built. The world’s installed capacity is estimated to have reached 6,800 MW in 2021.
The United States remains the world leader in CSP, with nearly one-third of the total installed capacity. The country has been pioneering the development of the technology, and is also developing CSP plants in Mexico, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, and Israel.
The market for CSP is expected to grow in the coming years as it becomes more competitive. Competition and economies of scale will help lower the cost of installing and operating a CSP plant.
Policies that support research on concentrating solar power (CSP) can make the technology more effective and competitive. Similarly, stringent greenhouse gas mitigation policies can make CSP systems more efficient and less expensive to install.
Although CSP is becoming more widespread, its market is still limited to emerging markets. For example, the Mojave Desert hosts the earliest operating CSP plants in the world. It is projected that new CSP capacity will grow over the next decade, but its pace will depend on the policies supporting its development.
Solar PV is a very important technology in the transition to a low carbon economy. It has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by 664 million tons per year. In fact, PV is a much cheaper and more viable energy supply technology than coal-fired power stations. It also has the best chance of reducing emissions from the National Grid.
In fact, PV is the fastest growing energy source in the world. The global photovoltaic industry manufactured more than 2,200 megawatts in 2006. The PV industry has grown at a rate of 40 percent annually for the following eight years. During that time, Japan has been leading the way.
A recent study by the Solar Generation organization estimated that PV provided 276 TWh of energy in 2020. This is equivalent to 1% of the global electricity demand projected by the International Energy Agency. It has been estimated that well-installed solar systems in sunny parts of the US can generate over 1,000 kWh of energy per kWp.
In the UK, the solar photovoltaics are not as widely adopted as they are in Germany and other leading markets. However, the technology has a bright future. With more investment in the PV sector, major advances in manufacturing efficiencies and automation are now being implemented.
The most efficient PV technology is cadmium telluride, or CdTe. It is estimated that a CdTe-based system is 63% more efficient than a monocrystalline system. It has slightly more embodied carbon but this is offset by the savings on electricity from the national grid.
In the UK, solar is no longer a novelty. The country’s electricity footprint is now smaller than it was four years ago.
Near-term climate change solutions
Whether you want to reduce your carbon footprint, increase your resilience to climate change, or improve the health of your community, there are several near-term solutions available. Some of them are easy to implement and others are relatively expensive. While some of these solutions can be accomplished by individuals, most can be applied at the community level.
The first step in addressing climate change is to understand how it impacts our lives. For example, global warming causes sea levels to rise and extreme weather events to occur. Adapting to these effects can help communities avoid the larger costs associated with a future disaster.
Climate change will also affect how we experience seasons. For example, extreme heat will intensify and wetter summers will become more frequent. It will also impact migration patterns, heavy precipitation events, and pest species.
One solution is to switch from high-carbon to low-carbon fuels. By doing this, we can decrease emissions of carbon dioxide.
Another approach is to use renewable energy sources. Solar and wind energy have seen sustained 85% cost decreases, while battery technology has been able to cut energy costs by more than 70%.
Natural climate solutions include preserving or increasing natural ecosystems and forests. These landscapes have the potential to remove carbon from the atmosphere at a scale greater than that of any other method. These strategies are often combined with other methods of decarbonization.
For example, improving energy efficiency in buildings can be a very effective way of reducing CO2 emissions. Investing in new infrastructure can reduce fuel consumption and power demand.