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Photovoltaic solar cells have become very popular in the United States where it is projected to soon be the largest market in the world.
Enertopia's CTO has overseen the installation of over 3,000 PV systems and offers a wealth of practical experience. Enertopia can participate in just about any style or size of project, but tends to concentrate on certain technologies that maximize electrical output per dollar of budget.
According to a report issued by Lux Research in March, 2010, the global solar PV market for 2010 is expected to be $39 billion to produce 9.3 GW. Expectations of continued lower prices ahead for solar PV components is expected to fuel growth by 2015 to 26.4 GW worth $77 billion.
China is already the worlds biggest producer of solar PV but is also expected to be the world's biggest consuming nation of solar PV by 2015, disrupting conventional thinking of slower moving established manufacturers.
Solar Photovoltaic (PV) changes sunlight directly into electricity by direct current (DC). This DC power is converted by an inverter into AC power that is then used in the home or industrial application, or sent into the local power grid and sold. During times when the PV system is generating less than the building's demand, the additional required power will be automatically drawn from the grid. As PV production increases, the electricity meter will slow down depending on how much solar power is being generated, and when PV production exceeds demand the meter will run backwards and excess power flows into the grid where it is sold.
Solar PV has the advantage of producing an energy product that is easy to understand (electricity) and that is ubiquitous in need. Costs of the components used in solar PV systems have been reduced in many cases by 50% in the last five years, creating difficulties for some manufacturers but leading to more widespread use in the consumer market.
Generally speaking solar PV systems are more capital intensive than are solar thermal systems. Solar PV systems are more sensitive to light availability than are solar thermal systems: output of solar PV drops somewhat logarithmically in low light or partial shade conditions whereas those conditions produce only a proportionate decrease in output in a solar thermal installation.
Included in our solar PV business are the complete line of passive solar trackers that do not require any energy to track the sun. With this ability the actual amount of energy generated can be 125% to 145% of the comparable fixed-panel system in the same location.
Below is how the tracking system works for small scale residential through to utility scale projects.
The Track Rack begins operations with the rising sun. As the sun rises in the east, it heats the tracker, enabling the tracker to follow the sun. The solar panels track the sun without using any electricity. This alignment with the sun results in a minimum of 25% higher electric output compared to stationary panels. And our system is more efficient than others on the market that rely on electricity-consuming electric motors or gear drives.
As the sun moves, the rack follows (at approximately 15 degrees per hour), continually seeking equilibrium as liquid moves from one side of the tracker to the other.
- Mining, Forestry, or Oil & Gas work sites
- Remote housing, hotels, etc.
- Applications maximizing output per available roof or ground space
- Municipalities needing upgrades or expansion
- Remote communities in North America
- Villages and communities in disadvantaged third-world locations
- Disaster sites
- Every potential net metering sight, residential, commercial and industrial
- Every location that wants to use renewable energy
Solar tracking technology delivers higher output than stationary panels. Real estate - whether it's roof-tops or fields - always has value. Thus the higher output for any given area of space does improve the economics of an overall system. In some cases, the desired output from a given space cannot be achieved unless solar tracking technology is use.
Once the decision to utilize solar tracking technology has been made, then it is sensible to use the most efficient tracking technology available. Talk to Enertopia to discover how we can design and build the most efficient system possible. You need to maximize performance for every dollar spent and Enertopia will help you do just that.
Mark Snyder is our Chief Technology Officer and is President of his firm, Mark Snyder Electric, which is our partnered provider of clean energy solar PV solutions throughout the world.