The world’s cumulative solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity capacity surpassed 100 gigawatts (GW) in 2012, achieving just more than 101 GW, according to market figures from the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA).
According to the National Alliance for Advanced Battery Technology, the confluence of powerful trends underway across the nation’s electrical-energy system is driving the need for a drastically different approach to managing the grid system in the 21st century.
With all the hype and the investment that has been given to the solar industry in recent years, it should come as no surprise that the industry is taking off. That means job opportunities in the industry are also plentiful.
A recent study by the consulting firm Clean Power Research showed that solar power in New Jersey and Pennsylvania delivers value to the electric grid that exceeds its cost by a large margin, making it a bargain for consumers.
There will always be a little bit of the outrageous in renewable power. Yet, every day, in the realm of energy, what once seemed like the exclusive domain of fantasy becomes an accepted part of our lives.
It is often said there is nothing new under the sun. There’s truth in that statement, but it ignores the fortuitous mistake or “Edisonian” moment. Such game-changers are often the result of exciting work being done in labs and promising technology picked up by enterprising startup companies.
Despite the growing popularity of solar power, the one thing that still casts a long shadow over the technology, and keeps everyone from installing a new photovoltaic (PV) system on their rooftop, is the high upfront cost. Recognizing this barrier, incentives are the norm.
Research into photovoltaic (PV) technology, like all renewables, is always striving for greater efficiencies and lower production costs. That quest often creates seemingly unimaginable possibilities. For example, consider solar glass with a view.
In the years that renewable power has been fighting for market competitiveness, overcoming the high capital costs compared to conventional energy sources has always been the big challenge. Now, for at least one form of renewable energy, it appears that challenge may have been met.
Everyone is selling something, whether it’s a physical product or an intangible, such as professional qualifications. As electrical contractors (ECs), it is your job to deliver solutions for electrical needs.
After much technical discussion in Code-Making Panel 4 and an appeal to the NFPA Standards Council, the requirements for a new product involving photovoltaic (PV) installations was inserted into 690.11 in the 2011 National Electrical Code (NEC).
Like all renewables, photovoltaics (PVs) are in a constant state of innovation. Researchers are forever striving for breakthroughs in materials and productivity to help them lower costs and chip away at the historical advantage enjoyed by fossil fuels in mainstream energy markets.
I started this series of articles after a friend asked some questions about overcurrent protection for the direct current (DC) output of photovoltaic (PV) modules, the DC output of combiner boxes, the location of disconnects for both the DC side and the alternating current (AC) side of the inverter,