Solar Electric Division

Chair: David Comis

This division includes direct energy conversion of the sun’s rays to electricity including photovoltaic (PV) energy technology, concentrating photovoltaic (CPV), and photovoltaic thermal technology (PV/T) that captures heat off the back side of PV cooling them thus making more electricity.

The Value of Solar

American Solar Energy SocietyThe use of a Net Metering electrical tariff has come under attack in many states. However, that’s not the entire story. The imposition and changing of Time of Use (TOU) rates may have every bit as much of an impact. Consider “With Net Metering Secure, California Solar Now Faces Uncertainty From Time-of-Use Changes” by Jeff St. John (February 2017) from Greentech Media.

The State of Hawaii is considering a different way of valuing renewable energy, based on time of production, with renewable energy produced/provided to the grid. Providing energy during peek periods of demand pays more than production provided when there is a surplus of solar renewable energy available. This scheme is discussed in “How Hawaii’s New Shared Renewables Program Could Benefit the Electric Grid” by Julian Spector on February 14, 2017.

Energy Storage

American Solar Energy SocietyMany say that with the advent of distributed energy storage that Net Metering is dead, that solar systems of the future will have a storage battery, allowing energy shifting from the day (when energy is stored, to the time period of 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. (when electricity is most used). Consider this article which discuss the use of battery power.

Of course, utility energy storage may also be of great importance to increasing the amount of variable renewable energy (wind, solar) on the grid. This article considers two types of batteries. You might also consider the thought that utility scale energy storage will compete with natural gas. Proper energy storage may remove the need for many of the peaker plants (which are almost solely fueled by natural gas).