News & Events to Inspire STEAM Education

Solar and Thermal Energy

Solar and Thermal Energy

Jun 12, 2013

The reflective blue solar panels usually seen on roof tops is the most common thing most people think of when they hear the term ‘solar energy’ or ‘solar power(PV or Photo-Voltaic panels). PV cells is one aspect of Solar Energy however there is also solar ‘thermal energyalso known as concentrating solar thermal (CST) or concentrating solar power (CSP), where the sun is used to warm fluids up by producing steam to create electricity and is truly cost effective.

Today solar power is significantly less expensive to install than it was just ten years ago with such dramatic price falls in the past few years it will soon be one of the cheapest forms of power in many countries. Additionally, falling prices and innovations in financing are making renewables more affordable for a broader range of consumers in developed and developing countries alike.

According to REN 21 Global Status Report for 2013 which provides useful insight into the global renewable energy market and policy arena states, “Global demand for renewable energy continued to rise during 2011 and 2012, despite the international economic crisis, ongoing trade disputes, and policy uncertainty and declining support in some key markets.  During the five-year period 2008–2012, installed capacity of many renewable energy technologies grew very rapidly, with the fastest growth in the power sector. Total capacity of solar photovoltaics (PV) grew at rates averaging 60% annually. Concentrating solar thermal power (CSP) capacity increased more than 40% per year on average, growing from a small base.”

Stated from Renewable Energy World “It is encouraging that renewable energy investment has exceeded $200 billion for the third successive year, that emerging economies are playing a larger and larger part, and that the cost-competitiveness of solar and wind power is improving all the time,” said New Energy Finance Chief Executive Officer Michael Liebreich. “What remains daunting is that the world has hardly scratched the surface. CO2 emissions are still on a firm upward.”

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