Introduction to Solar Energy

Introduction to Solar Energy

Colin Palmer

40 years: Renewable energy

A tenfold cost reduction over the last ten years has caught many unaware, and solar PV is now set to be the largest source of renewable energy in the future. In this video, Colin explains how the conversion of sunlight to electricity in solar panels helped the industry develop. He further explains why and how solar energy generation will become ubiquitous.

A tenfold cost reduction over the last ten years has caught many unaware, and solar PV is now set to be the largest source of renewable energy in the future. In this video, Colin explains how the conversion of sunlight to electricity in solar panels helped the industry develop. He further explains why and how solar energy generation will become ubiquitous.

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Introduction to Solar Energy

13 mins 47 secs

Overview

The heating effects from focussing the sun’s rays have long been understood and during the early 20th century the photovoltaic effect was explained. By the mid 1950s, practical solar cells could be made, but the costs were extremely high. Continued development resulting in performance improvements and cost reductions, to the extent that by the first years of the 21st century, electricity from solar cells was becoming viable for large scale uses. The resulting market pull drove further cost reductions, to the point where, in may locations today, solar power is the lowest cost source of electric from any source.

A tenfold cost reduction over the last ten years has caught many unaware, and solar PV is now set to be the largest source of renewable energy in the future.

Key learning objectives:

  • How did the industry develop?

  • How is sunlight converted to electricity in solar panels?

  • Describe the make-up of the cost of solar PV power systems

  • Explain why and how solar energy generation will become ubiquitous

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Summary
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Expert
Colin Palmer

Colin Palmer

Colin has been involved in renewable energy since the late 1970's. In 1988 he launched his own renewable energy company Windcluster Ltd, which financed and built one of the first wind farms in the UK. Colin has also been a director of the British Wind Energy Association and ReGen Southwest as well as a trustee of the Centre for Sustainable Energy in Bristol.

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