Arshiya Jahanpour on solar power

Renewable energy is a major focus as gas and oil prices surge; policy makers are working to make solar and wind power reliable sources of energy in an effort to continuously cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. Lawmakers are working to offer consumers incentives to turn to alternative methods of energy as climatologists predict dire consequences if we do not move away from our dependence on fossil fuels.

Solar power as well as wind power are becoming the predominant methods of providing effective alternative energy in homes and businesses. Both of these methods of energy are predicted to surge over the next decade. Technology is advancing so that solar power is poised to become a reliable form of energy production. Solar power as a major form of producing energy is growing in popularity, growing more popularly than wind energy. When engineers looked at wind, solar, nuclear and hydro-electric methods for producing energy, solar took first place as it is able to garner up to 98 GW; wind, nuclear, and hydro-electricity all together were only able to produce 82 GW. With this information, consumers understand that solar energy is not just a developing area of alternative energy, but a significant method for producing energy on its own.

Perhaps the most important development in solar energy is the invention of Solar Thermal Fuel or STF. Engineers have always debated how to store solar energy. It was traditionally thought that solar energy could not be cheaply or efficiently stored. However, in 2018, the development of Solar Thermal Fuel has provided a solution to the problem of efficiently and cheaply storing solar energy. The development of STF means solar energy can be stored for up to eighteen years. It can be converted to thermal energy without any carbon emissions.

Solar Thermal Fuel is designed much like a rechargeable battery. Solar Thermal Fuel is promised to greatly increase efficiency in solar power, even in the most organic form of STF. Solar Thermal Fuel could work, not only for large buildings, but also in individual homes. In other worlds, a home system utilizing STF could generate its own energy instead of being reliant on the typical power grid. Initial STF prototypes are able to hold 250 watt-hours of energy per kilogram. When this stored energy is released, it can heat water to 63 Celsius or 145.4 F.

These early findings show that Solar Thermal Fuel could revolutionize the way we utilize domestic power, and STF could very well begin a new generation in solar power technology.

Another area of solar technology that appears to be taking off is Photovoltaic technology (also known as PV technology). This method of solar power takes sunlight and directly converts it to energy instead of sending the energy to a generator that then powers one’s home or business. Engineers are currently working on ways to integrate PV into everyday life rather than sending it to power stations. Those working in PV believe this technology could take a significant edge over other methods of solar energy.

One way engineers worked to integrate solar energy into everyday life was by weaving solar textiles into items such as curtains. The energy garnered in these textiles would then be integrated into the home in order to power household appliances. Another way engineers are utilizing PV technology is by making Interstate 66 a “solar roadway.” Those who utilize PV technology are proving that one does not have to build large infrastructure in order to capture solar energy nor integrate it into everyday use.

Investors, seeing the potential for PV, are beginning to support the development of PV technology, believing that energy prices could drop with the integration of these innovative measures.

Solar energy continues to revolutionise power consumption simply by making renewable energy available for individuals and homes without necessitating storage for said power. Solar is consistently outpacing wind power in both efficiency and cheap storage as well as reliability. Solar can take advantage of the current infrastructure and provide energy in a way that wind power cannot due to the innovation of both PV and STF technology. Arshiya Jahanpour says “Both of these technologies will give individuals more power over how they use energy; it could very well change the way we live.”

Show More