Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Shedding Light on Solar Panels

True or False: The solar industry cannot meet all of our energy needs.

This question has long confused me because the facts seem so contradictory. To begin with, consider the following statement by the Department of Energy: Enough solar energy falls to the Earth every hour to meet human energy needs for an entire year. The DOE goes on to add that, "PV technology can meet electricity demand on any scale. The solar energy resource in a 100-mile-square area of Nevada could supply the United States with all its electricity about 800 gigawatts using modestly efficient 10 percent commercial PV modules."

That being said, the answer is still true. Recent assessments by the DOE state that the solar industry does not have the capacity to manufacture and install enough solar panels to satiate the world's desire for energy, predicting pre-Obama stimulus package that solar energy will provide 10 percent of U.S. electricity needs by the year 2030.

Brian Anderson, principal of Anderson Solar Controls, believes we can do better. A local energy services provider who focuses both on solar energy and efficiency solutions through smart-home control systems, Anderson supports Sen. Joe Simitian's call for 33 percent of our utilities to come from renewable sources by 2020.

According to Anderson, what may have seemed impossible just months ago, when large investor-based projects and an attractive overseas market led to a nationwide shortage of panels, now seems quite feasible. With solar manufacturers ramping up production to meet perceived increased demand after the new tax breaks for solar installation came into effect, there is a current glut of solar panels on the market -- solar panels that Anderson believes we should be putting to use to help solve the nation's energy issues.

From the article:
Go Green, Jennifer Parrish, March 29, 2009: Shedding light on solar panels
By Jennifer Parrish
Read the whole article here

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