About Vijay Venugopal, P.E

An electrical and computer engineer of 60s, a registered Professional Engineer in the USA, a practicing engineering & energy consultant, a solar technology educator, and an entrepreneurship skill developer (EDP organizer). Director of National Institute of Solar Technology, Managing Director of Florance Energy Solutions Private Limited, (India), CEO & Chief Consultant of Florance Engineering, LLC (USA).


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Zero carbon – we’re close

Masdar City in the U.A.E is a planned zero-carbon, fully sustainable city, which will rely completely on solar and other renewable energy! The city, once finished, will use “beam down” CSP for its electricity needs, and use solar power for its desalination plants.

While not all of us have the luxury of having a city build from scratch, we can do the best we can with what we have. Roof top solar power is taking off across the world, allowing people to generate their own electricity and even giving some back to the grid. The beauty of this concept is that individuals have control over their own electricity, and need not depend entirely on electricity utility companies. And the utilities can divert more power to large industries that cannot meet their demands yet with just renewable energy during the day. Win-win!

With new advances being made in the fields of thin-film solar using graphene that’s 1 atom thick, these are exciting times to be at the forefront of the green revolution.

One can only imagine the possibilities… stay tuned!

SOLAR TECHNOLOGY AND ELECTRICITY FROM SUN ENERGY

Introduction

It is now clear that the fossil-fuel era of non-renewable resources is gradually coming to an end. The renewable sources of energy derived from the Sun are one of the promising options. Solar energy can be used both directly and indirectly. It can be used directly in a variety of thermal applications like heating air or water, drying, distillation and space heating etc. A second way in which solar energy can be used directly is through the photovoltaic effect, in which it is converted to electrical energy.

Electricity from renewable energy (RE) sources is been seen as more viable solution for energy deficiency, energy security and for social development. Among the many RE technologies and sources, electricity produced directly from the sun using solar photovoltaic (SPV) technology is gaining interest from government and investments from private enterprises. The solar PV technologies are now increasingly seen as major electricity source for Indian scenario.

Solar PV technologies

Converting light to electricity Solar PV is a semiconductor device which converts sunlight directly into electricity. The operation of light to electricity conversion requires a built‐in electric field, normally obtained by making PN junction or PiN junction structures. A solar PV panel or a solar PV module when exposed to sunlight generates voltage and current at its output terminal. This voltage and current can be used for our electricity requirements. The amount of electricity a solar PV module can generate depends on the amount of sunlight falling on it. The higher is the intensity of the sunlight the more will be the electricity generated from it. When no sunlight falls on a solar PV module, no electricity is generated.

History of Solar energy conversion

Historically, it has been about 50 years since the first operational silicon solar cell was demonstrated. However, the last 10 years have seen large improvements in the technology, with the best confirmed cell efficiency now being over 24%, the main drivers being the improved electrical and optical design of the cells.Improvements in the electricity production area include improved activation of contact and surface regions of the cells and a reduction in the volume of heavily doped material within the cell. Optically, reduced reflection and improved trapping of the light within the cell have had a large impact. These features have increased silicon cell efficiency to a confirmed value of over 24.7%. Together with technical progress there is support from the governments for solar PV technologies around the world. Overall effect is significant growth of the PV technology.

SPV is here to stay and the faster we accept its utility, the easier it will be to solve much of our current electricity and energy deficiency problem.

Source courtesy: Wikipedia

Sun – the life supporter

The sun has been the life supporter for every living creature (and some dead ones) for ever, and it comes at no cost to us. But suddenly that has become a very costly affair when we tried to harvest electrical energy and power from the sun’s radiation.

Why?

Because that process involves investment in research, sophisticated human brain power and computer infrastructure, special materials and manufacturing process, and of course, downstream supply chain management and opportunists costs, etc.

We all know that plants and trees draw their energy from sun “free of cost” through a well known process called “photosynthesis”. Can we not do that for electricity harvesting?

Yes, we can.

Scientists around the world are really on war-footing efforts to transform that technology into reality in our solar power harvesting processes. The days are nearing. I guess we are not very far off from realizing those organic solar cells which can give us enough electricity from the sun while costing us peanuts. Till then, should we all sit around and idle and wait for it?

No.

Every one of us should put our efforts together to learn more and more about solar technology, solar science, and material science to contribute towards that end so we can get there quicker.

Sun is our power for ever! Sun is our energy for ever! The solar system gives us enough renewable energy to make our earth sustainable with maximum utilization, genuinely.

Welcome!

Welcome to the FESPL – NIST Blog. Here you’ll find interesting articles, thoughts, and discussions about various Renewable Energy Technologies and their impact on our lives.