Tuesday Dec 06, 2022

Why Solar Power Is Failing Amid Record-Breaking Heat – OilPrice.com


With heatwaves being reported worldwide, leading to wildfires and other environmental concerns, at least one energy sector is getting attention for its major producing potential – solar power. But with solar panels collecting energy from the sun’s radiation, the world’s overheating may (unexpectedly) be of little benefit to solar power production. However, this is not stopping rising consumer interest as people are driven to invest in solar technology as they see both hotter summers and rising consumer prices.  With some of the hottest summers on record for several decades in many parts of the world, it must be doing wonders for solar power, right? As the world heats up, people may think that more sun will bring more solar energy, even if it has been negative for many other reasons. But soaring temperatures may be hindering solar power production as solar panels work optimally at around 25oC and start becoming less efficient when the heat goes above this. And even if the heat does not hamper solar production, it is also doing little to help it. 

With record temperatures being seen across much of Europe this summer, as the U.K. reached 40oC in July, solar farms have been seeing positive output levels, with Solar Energy U.K. reporting on 20th July that the country’s solar power output had “met up to a quarter of the U.K.’s power demand”. But this is mostly down to the country seeing more days of sunlight rather than higher temperatures. 

Of course, when there’s sun there’s solar power. But because of the way solar panels work, they become slightly less efficient, by around 0.5 percent, for any degree over or under 25oC. This means that peak production periods in much of the world often happen in cooler spring months rather than during the summer. Although Solar Energy U.K. believes that significant disruptions would only be seen if temperatures were to rise to highs of 65oC or above. CEO of the firm, Chris Hewett, stated: “It’s marginally better for efficiency in the spring but essentially if you have more light, you produce more solar power.” He added, “You have to remember that solar panels work all over the world. The same technology we put on our roofs is used in solar farms in the Saudi Arabian desert.”

Related: From Coal To Gas And Back: How Europe Is Easing Its Energy Crisis

But uncertainty around what rising temperatures mean for solar panel productivity has not stopped interest in solar energy from picking up as the public sees the correlation between hotter weather and solar power production. As countries around the globe face rapidly rising consumer energy prices, utility bills are costing people hundreds, or even thousands, a year more. This has helped to shift public opinion in favor of the rapid construction of strong renewable energy sectors, as well as home solar technology installation, as they are seeing the limitations of oil and gas. 

Governments have worked for years trying to boost public interest in solar and wind power, even offering households feed-in tariffs – where they provide payments to people producing their own solar power to …….

Source: https://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Solar-Energy/Why-Solar-Power-Is-Failing-Amid-Record-Breaking-Heat.html

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