Zero Carbon Emission
Besides solar energy being an alternative source energy to gain electricity, the bigger point is switching to a green source of energy without the emit of carbon dioxide. By going solar, you reduce demand for fossil fuels, limit greenhouse gas emissions, and shrink your carbon footprint. Most of the electricity generated in the US comes from fossil fuels like coal and natural gas, which is 28% of emission CO2 comes from. Based on EIA.gov, in 2017 the US generated about 4,034 billion kWh of electricity, fossil fuels played a major role of 62.9% of that, and renewables had 17% and out of that 17% solar energy had 1.3% contribution. On top of emissions, transportation plays another huge factor into the accumulation of emitting CO2 into the atmosphere by 28%. The Solar Park will be helping using a sustainable parking garage on campus powered by solar energy for a green source of energy, and helping with EV student transportation with built in charging stations in the garage to tackle both issues with one solution.
2. Reduces Electricity bills
Installing solar panels is an investment with the return of cheaper electricity bills to pay for. The campus can consider financial incentives that can lower upfront costs and shorter payback period. The campus can also sell their excess solar energy back into the grid to get an energy credit to lower the electricity bill for donating the excess energy. The Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act of 1978 (PURPA) requires power providers to purchase excess power from grid-connected small renewable energy systems at a rate equal to what it costs the power provider to produce the power itself.
3. Low Maintenance Costs
Solar energy systems generally don’t require a lot of maintenance. The solar panels for instant rarely need to be cleaned per year. Most solar panel manufacturers offer 20-25-year warranty. The solar panel of choice is the Canadian Solar CS3U-370MS Silver Mono Solar Panel (Mentioned in Tab 1) that comes with a 10-year limited product warranty from defects in materials and workmanship that have an effect on module functionality under normal application, installation, and use. Also comes with a 25-year limited performance warranty promising that on the first year, the company warrants that the output of the module will be no less than 97.5% of the labeled power output and by the 25thyear will be no less than 83.1% of the labeled power output. More of the warranty will be linked at the bottom of this section. The only true maintenance will be the inverter, cables to ensure your solar power runs at maximum efficiency, and battery storage for the entire plan.
4. Technology Development
The technology in solar is advancing each year in the research to make it more efficient to capture more of the sun’s array. With the help of purchasing solar panels, UH is benefiting the local companies that are manufacturing which benefit the economy. Researchers right now are digging deeper on how to make solar more efficient based on the material upgrades or possible Nanotechnology materials to double, or possibly triple, the electrical input of the solar power systems.
1. Weather Dependence
The amount of sunlight that arrives at the earth’s surface is not constant. The amount of sunlight varies depending on the location, time of day, season of the year, and weather conditions. This is where the battery storage comes in to help insure that the building will be getting power when the solar panels aren’t receiving any sunlight due to weather conditions and wildcard events. Another safety net is the garage is still connected to the grid just in case there isn’t any energy left in the battery as a backup generator.
The Earth intercepts about 173,000 TW of solar energy from the sun. In a single hour, the amount of power the sun that strikes the Earth is more than the entire world consumes in a year. Sadly, the efficiency on solar panels is nowhere near capturing all solar energy from the sun, which range in thermodynamic efficiency lost, reflection of light bouncing back, electron hole pairs recombine before the junction’s electric field has a chance to separate. There are some solutions to the problems mention by will make the solar panel more expensive in the end of the day. There is research into Nanotechnology that could help with the efficiency increase, as well as the multi junction layers to increase it.
3. Limited on Space of Solar Panels
The amount of sunlight reaching the square foot of the earth’s surface is relatively small, so a large surface area is necessary to absorb or collect a useful amount of energy. The more electricity we want to produce, the more solar panels we will need to collect more sunlight as possible. Solar panels require a lot of space, if we were to run out of space we could relocate additional solar panels onto the wall of the building plus the main ones on top of the roof.
4. Battery Capacity (Storage)
Many elements play a role into the capacity into the battery. There is the type of battery being used to consider that’s less maintenance, and cycle run it can achieve for its high investment. Other things to consider is the depth of discharge (DoD), Round Trip efficiency, the battery lifetime and warranty the manufacturer’s give you. Besides the price of the solar panels being expensive, storage batteries another chunk of investment into. This will be explaining in full in the next tab going how to pick the best battery, and the pros and cons between the two picked batteries.