Monthly Archives: April 2015

Top 5 Renewable Energy Sources

Here comes the sun

There is no way around it, our energy demands continue to grow at a frenetic pace as the nation and world populations increase. The traditional means for meeting these demands are outdated and will undoubtedly come up short in the not too distant future. In addition, the once relatively cheap non-renewable sourced have seen dramatic increases in price over the last 25 years and are subject to an extremely volatile market. What’s fortunate however, is that we are becoming increasingly more efficient at delivering power across the country through clean renewable energy. While the more popular renewable power sources are growing in utilization, collectively we should be pressing hard to make the switch to generate our power predominantly from the sources below.

Hydropower Energy

Energy from moving water is the largest source of renewable electricity in the United States.

Hydropower uses a fuel (water) that is not reduced or used up in the process. Turbines and generators convert the energy from flowing water into electricity, which is then fed into the electrical grid to be used in homes and businesses. Since the water cycle is endless, hydropower is considered a renewable energy. It’s important to note however that while water is a renewable resource, rivers themselves are not.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wind Energy

 

Wind is a form of solar energy that is caused by the uneven heating of the atmosphere by the sun, the irregularities of the earth’s surface, and rotation of the earth. Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy in the wind into mechanical power to use in the grid. When harvested by wind turbines this energy source can be used to as a power supply for homes and businesses.

Solar Energy

One of the other major players in renewable energy and making huge gains in the sector is solar energy. Inexhaustible and cheaper than ever, solar energy now powers everything from portable radios to homes, stores and even entire neighborhoods. Photovoltaics has seen a drastic decrease in cost of production and as such, have become a popular choice among those looking for a renewable energy source. Photovoltaic (PV) devices generate electricity directly from sunlight by a process that occurs naturally in certain types of material, called semiconductors. Electrons in these are freed by solar energy and can be made to travel through an electrical circuit, powering electrical devices or sending electricity to the grid. In addition to being a clean and renewable power source, some states also allow for bill consolidations to account for the energy your system adds to the energy grid.

Biomass Energy

Plant materials, such as wood, corn, and soy, account for nearly half the renewable energy in America. While it’s widely used, it’s not always sustainable and doesn’t present near the potential of other renewable sources going forward. However, methane power plants installed in landfills do have a renewable aspect to them, as long as garbage keeps getting dumped there!

Geothermal Energy

On the other end of the spectrum, geothermal energy has immense potential going forward as a viable renewable power source. In geothermal power plants steam, heat or hot water from geothermal reservoirs provides the force that spins the turbine generators and produces electricity. In geothermal power plants steam, heat or hot water from geothermal reservoirs provides the force that spins the turbine generators and produces electricity. The used geothermal water is then returned down an injection well into the reservoir to be reheated, to maintain pressure, and to sustain the reservoir.


This article was written by Brian Levesque.  Brian is an electrical engineer and advocate for sustainable power solutions.  Brian currently researches and provides content for Ablaze Energy – the premier solar solution provider for California and New York State.

Exciting New Advancements in Solar Technology

Solar House - wow
Studies to improve residential solar power are being carried out across the globe. These studies are done in a bid to improve the efficiency of solar energy systems. In the latest news, researchers have identified an inexpensive, new solid-state kind of light sensitive nanoparticle. It is called colloidal quantum dots and has the potential of leading to more flexible and less expensive solar cells when compared to what is currently available according to a recent study that was published in Nature Materials.Colloidal Quantum Dots
The colloidal quantum dots with a new particle that does not bind to air and maintains a stable pair of p- and n- type layers which boost light absorption and can offer new possibilities to advance infrared diodes, infrared laser and gas sensors, according to a University of Toronto release. Home panels that used the new hybrid p- and n- type material proved to be approximately 8% efficient at converting energy compared to the world’s most popular solar cells models. In addition to this, it is possible that this type of solar cell could become a ‘spray on’ solution that can absorb light and convert it to electricity.  This would even allow us to overcome the required rigid structure of the current solar panels that are used in residential settings, possibly allowing us to coat entire structures in this film in order to make them self sufficient!


Since most of the world’s attention is focused on the advancement of renewable energy sources, some of the greatest minds internationally have been critically studying current residnetial solar power systems. In the process they have managed to identify several points with potential improvement. For starters they are concentrating on improving materials to ensure solar cells in home solar panels are more efficient. Current advanced cells being used in the home are able to achieve efficiency levels that are higher than 40%. Obviously the majority of efficient cells are very expensive, but cheaper cells will also come along as new techniques are implemented and progress is made.
New Ideas


Similarly, new materials like perovskites are becoming more efficient at converting energy, even more affordable to manufacture and have the possibility of supplanting current silicon cells by absorbing particular wavelengths of light. The process makes it possible to ‘pile on’ sheets (semi-transparent) to augment the amount of energy being produced. Additionally, there are recent breakthroughs in rechargeable battery technology to keep in mind. The point is as research on solar energy improves the technology of existing solar energy systems, more home owners will start to see home solar system as not only a viable option for their energy needs, but also as a crucial option. In the long run, home solar panels will not be seen in a few homes, but almost in every home.
In addition to the new materials that are being explored as viable replacements for the current materials used to create solar power, new techniques using existing materials are also being persued.  With the current materials available, some firms are exploring the idea of multi-layered solar cells, which in effect, can gather more electricity per square inch than their counterparts.  This is due to the layering of the electronically charged materials, which allows for better absorbtion of solar radiation.  In addition to just multi-layered solar cells, it has been hypothosized that there could be such a thing as an ‘infinate layer module’ which could, theoretically, produce up to 68% efficiency at capturing the suns power.  Needless, to say, it will be interesting to see where things go in the near future, and how much electricity we can actually procure from the largest powerplant we hav access to – our Sun!
About the author:

This article was written by Rochelle Pentelute.  Rochelle is currently studying law in Denver, Colorado, but also helps her brother run the family owned business - Ablaze Energy.  Ablaze specializes in finding affordable, reliable solar solutions for residnets of California and New York, among other states.  Rochelle currently researches and conributes content for their blog and interesting articles across the web!