Utilization by corporate firms & innovation to brighten the solar energy industry

Utilization of solar energy optimally is the need of an hour. Giant corporate firms have realized that they need to use renewable energy optimally to save costs and contribute toward the environment. Tech giants such as Apple, Amazon, and others have taken significant steps by powering their facilities, data centers, and others through renewable sources of energy. Solar energy is one of the major types of energy utilized by them. Moreover, the heat wastage issue from solar plants has been addressed by a team of scientists. The efficiency of plants will increase as they implement carbon nanotubes. The industry for solar energy will boom in the coming years. According to the report by Allied Market Research, the global solar energy market is expected to generate nearly $422 billion by 2022. Following are the details on the plans of corporate firms and innovation by researchers:

Optimum utilization of solar energy by corporate giants:

The Cupertino-based tech giant Apple has led the corporate sector in the usage of solar energy with the development of renewable energy projects to reduce carbon emissions. According to the report by the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) on the leading corporate solar energy installers across the U.S., Apple carried out the installation of nearly 400 megawatts of solar capacity in 2018. On the other hand, Amazon installed nearly 330 megawatts and Target nearly 242 megawatts. Google ranked sixth in the report with the installation of nearly 143 megawatts. These rankings are based on on-site and off-site installations in the U.S.

Apple installed renewable energy projects to power its retail stores, data centers, and offices for its global facilities. Its Apple Park receives power from a rooftop solar installation of 17-megawatt along with four megawatts of biogas fuel cells and other sources. Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, outlined that the company would keep pushing the boundaries for what can be done with the materials in its products, recycling them, its facilities, and collaboration with suppliers for installing sources of renewable energy as the future is dependent on it. Commenting on the increase in awareness among corporate giants regarding solar energy, Abigail Ross Hopper, the President and CEO of SEIA, said that top firms have been investing in reliable and clean solar energy for its economic nature and the investments would be significant for fighting climate change, create new jobs, and enhance local economies.

With so many corporate giants trying to switch to renewables, market players have begun the installation of new solar plants in different parts. Avaada Energy has been planning to install two gigawatts (GW) of open access to solar plants in five different states in India. According to the press release by the firm, the five states include Maharashtra, Karnataka, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, and Odisha. The company informed that the plants are built for corporate companies that intend to meet the energy needs through solar solutions and optimize operating costs. The firm raised nearly Rs. 1,000 Crore from Germany’s Deutsche Entwicklungs- und Investitionsgesellschaft, Asian Development Bank, Netherlands Development Finance Company, Dutch Development Bank, and promoters. Vineet Mittal, the Chairman of Avaada Energy outlined that open access is a credible and economical solution for corporate companies that intends to roll down the electricity bills and CO2 emissions considerably. The firm has been working with many MNCs that have committed to utilizing 100 percent renewable energy.

Nanotubes to improve the efficiency of solar plants:

As solar panels are installed by giant corporate firms and government organizations across the world, the one issue remains unaddressed. The wastage of heat. The efficiency of solar panels needs to be as high as possible to convert heat in electricity. Researchers from Rice University developed a method that can improve the efficiency of solar panels. They have been developing a method to collect thermal photons that panels release. Junichiro Kono, a researcher from the Rice’s Brown School of Engineering said in a press statement, that photons emitted from a hot body are known as thermal photons. When an infrared camera is focused on something hot, it captures thermally excited photons. When heat and light are emitted by the sun, invisible energy known as infrared radiation is released. Gururaj Naik, who co-authored the paper with Kono and others said that the concern is that the thermal radiation is in broadband and the conversion of light to electricity is in the narrow band. These emissions are wasted.

Turbines or steam have been used for conversion of heat into electricity. However, they only offer half the conversion efficiency. So, the team of researchers strived to collect emissions with wafer-scale films made up of carbon nanotubes. These tubes are sturdy and can absorb waste heat and convert them to narrow band. As they absorb heat waste photons, nanotubes take control over them. They direct photons in the required direction. The way it flows is from heat to light to electricity. The highest efficiency of solar panels reached by now is 29 percent. Naik added that capturing wasted thermal energy into a small spectral region can turn heat into electricity with efficiency and theoretical prediction is 80 percent efficiency.

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sanket bachute

sanket bachute

Sanket Bachute writes about technology, environment and energy. I like things mainly in the business and research.