The energy of the future – All good things come from above
The sun has been active for several billion years. It provides us with light and heat without billing us for a single sunbeam. In less than an hour, the sun emits as much energy to the earth as is used by the entire population of the planet in one year. By comparison: every square metre of the sun radiates the energy equivalent of 6,300 litres of heating oil every hour. If less than one hundredth of this enormous energy potential were used, this would permanently solve all energy problems on our planet.
The end of fossil fuels?
In just a few centuries, we have managed to use up the natural fossil fuels formed over millions of years for heating, cooking, showering and driving. The increasing scarcity of these resources means that we may very soon face a permanent under-supply and exploding costs for raw materials.
Not to mention the environmental damage. Approximately three quarters of damaging greenhouse gases result from the use of oil, natural gas and coal. The consequences of the greenhouse effect can already be seen today. To combat the threat of a climate catastrophe, the industrial nations signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, and made a commitment to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
A sunny outlook for renewable energies
Our approach to energy is changing worldwide, and the changes are feasible and financially attainable for everyone. There are no common policies adapted by governments in the MEA region as yet, however talks are going on to consider the promotion of domestic and commercial Solar Solutions. In some markets where solar subsidies are in place, customer conversion to Solar Power has shown promising growth.
Studies have shown that in the regions which have taken a lead in promoting renewable energy sources, by 2050, 55-65 % of the electricity consumption could be provided by renewable energy sources. This would save 75 % of the greenhouse gas emissions, with about one third of these savings being provided by solar energy alone.
Apart from their environmental benefits, renewable energy sources will also have a positive effect on the socio-economical status of a country . The young photovoltaics sector is already creating job opportunities for thousands of skilled professionals across the world. With billions of dollars worth of investments being planned for the near future, the growth of renewable energy solutions will foster the sustainable development of our societies by increasing the level of responsibility towards the environment we live in and handing over a clean and sustainable planet to the future generations.
What is photovoltaics ?
Photovoltaics – Your power cable to the sun
Electricity from sunlight – No other form of power generation is as clean, environmentally-friendly and universally applicable. Using the sun as a natural energy source is not a new idea. In ancient times, 2,500 years ago, the Greeks designed their houses to make use of solar energy: large southerly windows allowed sunlight into the house during the day. The walls stored the heat and then released it again during the night.
Modern-day solar architecture is related to this ancient tradition of passive solar energy use. Passive solar energy use can be defined as the use of solar energy without technical assistance. The architecture of a building, especially a southerly orientation, can be used to heat rooms directly with sunlight. On fine winter days, the low sun can heat southerly rooms, while the high sun in summer does not overheat them. Significant energy yields can be obtained through the use of new building materials and technologies, especially via specific use of glass on southern facades. This also results in bright, friendly rooms.
Solar cells have been providing energy for satellites in space for 50 years, and solar-powered pocket calculators and clocks are now common household items. In the long term, solar energy is the most important source of energy for the human race. According to expert opinion, increasing global energy requirements will exhaust conventional energy resources such as oil, gas and coal before the end of this century.
Photovoltaics (PV), the generation of power from the sun, is becoming increasingly popular in the Middle East and African region not only for reasons of ecological commitment, but also because the cost of a PV systems is becoming continually economical. Efforts made by some of the countries in the region are commendable. Ambitions are running high, and measures are being taken to ensure that a sustainable future is really possible.
Masdar City, in the capital city of the UAE - Abu Dhabi, for instance is set to become the world's first Zero Carbon city. Other neighboring Arab and African states have also adapted Green Building standards to ensure that they are also contributing to the environmental commitment necessary to sustain our planet.
Your new source of income
With a relatively small capital investment you can make considerable profits with your own PV system, even after 25 years of operation. No matter whether you continue to feed the public power grid after the introduction of newly negotiated conditions or use the solar power for your own requirements.
Green Building Standards
The MEA region has been swift in adapting worldwide standards to ensure that the development of these markets is sustainable. The LEED rated Green Building standards being adapted in the region are allowing developers to ensure their properties are environmentally-friendly and ecologically viable. A lot of attention is being given to proper design aspects to adhere to these standards, with equal focus being given to the procurement of equipment and material with lowest carbon-footprints.
This further ensures that industries also pay attention to their manufacturing procedures to make more environmentally products, which are designed, manufactured and delivered in an environmentally friendly manner.
Photovoltaics: the principle is clear as daylight
Albert Einstein did not receive the Nobel prize in 1921 for the theory of relativity – as often assumed – but rather for his work on the photoelectric effect. A stroke of genius that, under the term photovoltaics (PV), has now advanced to become the most environmentally-friendly form of power generation.
Photovoltaics mean the direct conversion of sunlight into electricity via a physical reaction. This electrifying process is performed by the solar cells, which are normally connected in series to form photovoltaic modules.
Almost 95 % of all solar cells are made from the semiconductor silicon, which is the second most common element in the earth's crust and is available in enormous quantities. A solar cell consists of two layers: one negatively doped layer and one positively doped layer. When sunlight hits the solar cell, this triggers a physical reaction that generates direct current. Since most electrical appliances and the electricity grid run on alternating current, the direct current must be converted to alternating current at the correct voltage. This process is performed by an inverter. The solar power thus created can immediately be used in your home, stored in batteries or fed into the public power grid
A photovoltaic system is our direct power cable to the sun.
Grid connected: a rewarding connection
A Photovoltaic module converts sunlight into electricity. The alternating current generated is fed into the local power grid via a separate feed meter. An indoor distribution panel delivers appropriate electric loads to household electrical appliances. If provision exists, any excess electricity can be fed back into the grid which could then be purchased by the local grid operator. This provides the supplier with cash for every generated kilowatt hour fed into the grid, which can be monitored by WATT-HOUR meters installed into the Solar Power system.
A grid-connected PV system includes:
for converting light into electrical power
for converting the solar power to mains grid power
The inverter converts the direct current into alternating current and controls the entire system. This is necessary if the public mains grid fails or is switched off.
Watt-Hour meter (also known as AC meter OR Feed meter) for recording the power yields.
Safety components providing electrical protection for the PV system.
Technology that delivers what it promises
Photovoltaic systems have proven their worth under extreme conditions. Sharp PV modules have now been used in space for decades to provide satellites with power. They resist the forces of nature, such as storms and salt water, when installed in lighthouses. Sharp has been a pioneer in the field of Photovoltaics, with its panels being successfully used even in outer space applications.
Not only are Sharp's panels known for their high efficiency, but Sharp's PV panels are also renowned for their lowest Carbon-Footprint, making them the most preferred choice for designers and architects the world over. Especially for structures being designed under specific environmental standards, the inclusion of Sharp panels can make up for higher points for highest ratings.
Standalone solution: standing alone makes you strong
Stand-alone systems are most widely used for the high level of independence they can provide. Standalone PV systems are becoming increasingly popular in the MEA region, for varying applications ranging from large sized hotel and hospital facilities, medium sized district/village, School, Clinical applications and smalled sized domestic or home systems. The popularity is specially due to the ease of application, reduction in connection problems and complete elimination of the need for noisy generators promised by such systems. A grid-independent photovoltaic system provides you with power wherever you need it. For motor caravans, boats, allotment houses, weekend houses or ski huts: a home solar system provides convenient electricity for lighting, refrigerators, radios and televisions, and is at the same time environmentally friendly and quiet.
A standalone system includes:
for converting light into electrical power
for converting the solar power to mains grid power
A charge controller
for controlling the charging and discharging of the solar batteries Solar batteries
for storing the generated direct current