Is it possible to Run Solely on Solar Power?
For several years now many have been trying to reduce the use of fossil fuels as an energy source. Consequently, renewable energy was brought to life–namely, solar, hydro and wind. These types of renewables can be utilized and maximized depending on the climate of an area. Here in the Philippines solar is the way to go due to its tropical climate and high irradiance of the sun.
Solar energy was first implemented in 1885 and the development continued until the outbreak of World War I.
Though it is an old technology, renewable energy is just starting to blossom in several countries. In fact, some of them are nearing or are at 100% electrification already. Paraguay, Norway, Turguay, Costa Rica, Brazil, Canada and Portugal are among the few countries where solar energy or renewable energy is used to power their countrymen’s daily lifestyles.
On a smaller scale, other building developments and mega cities that rely completely on solar to operate are:
- Cochin Airport (India)The airport, which accommodates approximately 10 million passengers annually, surprisingly runs solely on solar. Cochin, with its 29.5 megawatt capacity and $9.6 million dollars worth of solar panels, can sustain the daily operations of this 150,000 sqm airport. Cochin’s solar energy comes mainly from solar plants which are located in 8 different areas in India, of which one is a 45 acre plant.
- Babcock Ranch
A sustainable city where 440 acres of land is used as a solar farm in order to supply the energy needs of 20,000 homes. The solar farm was developed to power the activity required by the 18 acre planned community at maximum capacity. The ranch also has 8,000 acres of land for green space, perfect for eco-living. The goals of Babcock Ranch is to increase the number of people who live in the sustainable community to 50,000 by 2040, which will reduce the current energy consumption in Florida by 27%–a 40% ~ 42% energy reduction from the National Average. Kitson also released a statement saying, “By 2028 families would only need 1 car because of the solar powered shuttle that roams around the community.” According to a recent study by the U.S. Department of Transportation, “an average american household had 1.88 cars in 2017, which means there’s about 90% americans who have a light vehicle. Decreasing cars in an area such as the Babcock Ranch would help lessen the carbon footprint in America, which in turn is beneficial for the environment.
What is stopping mega cities from shifting to solar?
- Costs to Go Solar – The costs for solar energy are known to be high even with the sudden decrease that has happened in the recent years. The costing also varies on how much electric consumption a client consumes, a best example would be for homes, where costs to invest in a solar system range from PHP 150,000 to PHP 600,000.
- Weather Dependence – The efficiency of a solar panel system would differ depending on the availability of the sunlight, meaning the system should work if there are no hindrances on capturing the sun’s irradiance. For example on cloudy days, systems show a decrease in energy production by 10-25% of the solar panel’s maximum capacity.
- Impact on Pollution – This is mainly due to inquiries on how materials are being made, transported, and installed–which could possibly generate higher carbon emissions. In order to manufacture solar panels, manufacturers use quartz which then would be heated to form one key ingredient called silicon. During this process several chemicals are used in order to form wafers for Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline panels, one would be silicon tetrachloride. This chemical if not handled properly could be harmful both for humans and the environment: it can burn a person’s skin, increase air contamination that could lead to lung diseases, and can release release hydrochloric acid when mixed with water. Although, most manufacturers practice proper handling and recycling of chemicals. especially for the silicon tetrachloride. The transporting of the cells and installations would also differ depending on the manufacturers and resellers, and would at best contribute to lower the average carbon footprint.
Running solely on solar has numerous benefits be it a greener environment, lower utility costs, or to save more money. Learn more about what it takes to go solar at www.buskowitz.com.
Image from: Pixabay