ENERGY OUTPUT FROM PV PLANTS1
Energy Output from PV Plants (Energy time series)
This paper aims at discussing the research work on energy output from PV plants by looking at the application areas of the PV system technology and things that would happen if the technology was available. The paper then continuous to discuss the research works potential future, whether it makes any sense to proceed with the research, the impact of the research on the world and the future trends of the technology.
A PV (photovoltaic) plant can be defined as a large scale power plant specifically designed to supply solar power that is usable through the use of photovoltaic into an electricity grid. In order to achieve this, the PV plants has a PV system that designed for this purpose. The PV system is made up of various components arranged in a particular way. It contains solar panels with photovoltaic modules which absorbs sunlight and then converts it into electricity. Another component is a solar inverter whose purpose is to convert the electric direct current (DC) to an alternating current (AC). The other components include electrical, cabling and other mounting accessories needed for the PV system to function. Energy time series can be defined as a sequence of graphed or listed energy data points in time order (Arnett, Schaffer, Rumberg & Tolbert, 1984). Energy time series is usually plotted and presented in line charts in terms of energy output to allow analysis to be done for successful extraction of meaningful data.
The PV system technology despite being a system that produces energy differs greatly from concentrated solar power and it is advisable not to confuse the two. The energy output of the PV system is rated using various methods depending on the country. However, the most used rating methods of the PV system power output is in megawatt-peak (). In some countries like Canada, some US states and japan, the output of the PV system is rated using the lower nominal
power output. This measure is however comparable to the other techniques of power generation. Another rating although less commonly used is in mega volt-amperes (MVA). A lot of developed PV plants have an at least scale of 1 The main objective behind the designing of the PV plants is to maximize the plants overall energy output and significantly reduce the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE).
The innovation behind PV systems includes: to provide an alternative source of electrical energy where it aims at meeting individuals and companies demand for energy supply and close the contradiction between demand and supply for electrical power supply that leads to power rationing. This is feasible from the fact that a large scale PV plant have the capability to produce a capacity of about 600 megawatts. In 2015, around 3,400 planned projects for electricity generation using PV system produced 60
of combined capacity (Jolly, Raven & Romijn, 2014).
Secondly, the implementation of the PV systems in large scale globally can drastically reduce the electricity energy prices. This is because the PV system technology can be applied in small scale and large scale where farmers, communities and individual households can generate their own electricity using investor, individual and community-owned PV plants and residential PV system. The availability of investors providing electricity at utility level helps in removing market monopoly where in some countries only one company exists in the electricity market making the company to control market prices. Lastly, the existence and implementation of the PV system technology can lead to increased agricultural and industrial production which leads to economic development and a rise in the standards of living.
The research of energy output from PV plants have a potential of providing a global solution to an alternative way of generating reliable electricity from clean energy leading to a renewable and sustainable feature. This is due to the fact that the PV systems technology generates electricity from the suns radiation rays. Currently, many scientists and engineers are concerned with providing innovations that use and provide clean energy because of the growing concerns regarding global warming where weather patterns and climate is changing drastically. Therefore, the PV system implementation at a global scale can help in conserving the environment. This is because the PV systems are clean and sustainable energy sources which has no adverse effects to the environment as compared to electricity generation using fossil fuels in the form of generator diesel and nuclear generation of electricity. The gases produced from the burning of fossil fuels to generate electricity are positive contributors to global warming.
In the future, the electricity price levels for other forms of generating electricity are bound to be twice the price of using PV systems and are guaranteed to remain the same into the future as PV systems continue to be implemented globally as an alternative to other forms of electricity generation (Torzewski, 2008). With the present rise in electricity tariffs, the research on PV plants in five years’ time will be of great importance because of the need for an alternative source of energy where PV systems will have been implemented in a large scale.
It is important to continue with this research for the purposes of further investigation into the PV plants and systems through the reviewing of published journals and articles regarding the PV plants and systems for a complete evaluation of the performance and feasibility of the various PV systems implemented by various PV plants. This will help in determining the viability of the PV plants in meeting the power requirements in the future given the PV plants reliance on sunlight (Besarati, Padilla, Goswami & Stefanakos, 2013).
This research on energy output from PV plants will have a positive impact to the world in terms of social and environmental benefits. The construction of many large scale PV plants capable of meeting the electricity demand by investors all over the world will lead to an increased demand for PV system components and create long term and short term employment opportunities all over the world. Short term employment will be created during the construction of the PV plants while long term employment will be created where individuals will be employed to work in the PV plant offices. This will bring about social development. Environmentally, the implementation of PV systems as the source of energy will help in climate change mitigation because of the reduced rate of carbon dioxide emissions. This change will be indicated by a reduction in the carbon footprint and the ecological footprint where the ecosystems bio-capacity will be bigger than the ecological footprint (Komoto, Ehara, Breyer, Wang, Cunow, Faiman,.. & Enebish, 2015).
To conclude, it is important to know that even though the PV system provides a better source of clean and sustainable energy and PV plants can be scalable to large scale PV plants, a better solution of mixed renewable sources of energy is required such as biomass, solar and wind energy. This is due to the fact that despite its advantages, PV plants have a major limitation of light since the systems functionality depends entirely on sunlight.
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