The new king in solar photovoltaic (PV) facilities is located on 2,400 acres of land between Phoenix and Yuma, Ariz. Called Agua Caliente, it is now operational as the world’s largest PV solar facility at 290 megawatts (MW).
In the ongoing narrative of renewable power, success is often measured in superlatives.
The stories that get top billing often describe massive wind-farm developments, science-fiction-like discoveries and major breakthroughs. A recent project in Los Angeles is no exception.
In this age of sustainable energy, no stone is left unturned as every conceivable source of power is explored. Even the nuclear industry, a pariah of sorts to many clean-power proponents, has been exploring alternative fuels.
A group of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) say liquid metals could provide the solution to the solar energy-storage problem, ensuring that the power is available at all times and not just when the sun is shining.
Rather than plugging it into the wall, imagine charging a cell phone or other portable device by simply rubbing it with the palm of your hand. The user actually creates the electricity and becomes a discrete, reliable and the ultimate distributed source of power generation.
In a technology-driven era, scientists are always trying to find new and more efficient ways to harness power. The quest places no limits on the imagination. Some ideas are downright wacky, while others are only a little off the mark.
In the discussion of solar power’s potential, proponents often cite the claim that enough solar energy hits the Earth’s surface in one hour to power the world for one year. Critics, however, argue solar-power technologies have yet to achieve the ability to harvest even a fraction of that energy.
The most important renewable-energy source in the United States is most frequently overlooked. Wind and solar energy may capture more headlines (and congressional attention), but hydropower has held the title as the most productive—and, arguably, least expensive—renewable option for decades.
In the future, windows may not only serve the primary functions of allowing light indoors and conserving heat or cooling, but they may also capture enough solar power to meet all of a building’s energy needs. In other words, windows of the future may pull double duty as solar collectors.