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Evaluation of PV Systems for Energy

Info: 1322 words (5 pages) Essay
Published: 18th May 2020 in Environmental Sciences

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  1. Based on the lecture on Solar Energy and your understanding of Solar Energy, answer the following questions:
  1. Are PV systems as efficient or economical as fossil-fueled systems?

In the past, the investment in PV wasn’t incentive market for many reasons. One of these reasons is efficiency; for example, PV had 4% efficiency while fossil fuels had more and more that percentage. In addition, fossil fuels have always been the right choice for lots of countries. The reasons behind that were efficiency and low cost. However, the development of PV efficiency makes countries, such as the U.S., focus on PV technology. One more highlight, the PV cells don’t have pollution environment and greenhouse gas emissions. “Researchers have managed to achieve 46% efficiency in certain laboratory tests using advanced cell structures while fossil fuel generation efficiency reached nearly 90%.” So, the answer is PV being less efficient than fossil fuel system.

Regarding cost, PV system is costly than fossil fuels. Moreover, the cost of PV system is doubled to the cost of non-renewable resources with the same amount of production regarding power generation output. However, the fuel of PV is zero and high for fossil fuel because there is no fuel is needed in PV. So, with all these factors, the PV still have higher value regards of cost. Finally, recently, there are many kinds of research on PV in terms of price and development, which will be in the future better in the condition of economical cost.

b- Is PV a viable alternative for all of our electric power needs? For homes? For vehicles? For other needs?

Nowadays, PV is not a viable alternative for all of our electric power needs and it is very difficult to say that; even PV could be useful for our needs. There are many requirements to utilize PV as a primary source of the electrical power system. One of these requirements is development. Besides, PV powers some electrical appliances like homes, cars, etc. But still, it is not the primary source of all our requirements. Some challenges are facing PV, such as clouds and cleaning cells. I believe that PV will have the future to be a viable source for our needs. On the other hand, PV might be a viable alternative in many aspects like houses in a remote area.

c-Is PV the answer to all of the world’s energy needs?

PV system is not all world power need now, but I believe it will be in the future. Many factors will affect the world’s energy needs. The first factor is governments; they must increase investments in PV. The second factor has a temperature, rain, and clouds which play a role in PV system efficiency. The third factor is improving reliable fashion to store energy. The fourth factor is the affordability of materials. The fifth factor is growing the incentives for using electric vehicles. Finally, founding policies to save energy. In conclusion, when these factors happen, the PV System will be all the world’s energy needs.

2-Provide your rough estimate of the capital cost (initial installation cost) of a 1000-MW plant in the western US:

  1. Coal-based generation plant
  2. Natural gas combined-cycle unit generation
  3. Hydroelectric Power
  4. Nuclear Power
  5. Wind Power
  6. Solar Power

Regarding the U.S. Energy Information Administration table on” Capital Cost Estimate for Utility Scale Electricity Generating Plants.” The estimate of the capital cost in different plants will be discussed in this part:

  1. Coal-based generation plant

i)       Ultra-Supercritical Coal: 3,636 $/KW

For 1000 MW:  3636 x 1000000 KW = $ 3,636,000,000

ii)     Ultra-Supercritical Coal with CCS: $ 5,084

For 1000 MW: 5084 x 1000000 KW = $ 5,084,000,000

Based on the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the cost of the usage of carbon capture storage has expanded.

  1. Natural gas combined-cycle unit generation

Natural Gas Combined Cycle: $ 978

For 1000 MW: 978 x 1000000 KW = $ 978,000,000

The capital cost of coal-based generation is higher than natural gas combined-cycle.

  1. Hydroelectric power

Conventional Hydroelectric: $ 2,936

For 1000 MW: 2,936 x 1000000 KW = $ 2,936,000,000

  1. Nuclear power

Advanced Nuclear: $ 5,945

For 1000 MW: 5945 x 1000000 KW = $ 5,945,000,000

  1. Wind power

i)       Onshore Wind: $ 1,877

For 1000 MW: 1877 x 1000000 KW = $ 1,877,000,000

ii)     Offshore Wind: $ 6,628

For 1000 MW: 6,628 x 1000,000 KW = $ 6,628,000,000

Since the challenges facing offshore wind turbine, such as construction, the capital cost is increasing.

  1. Solar power

Photovoltaic – Fixed: $ 2,671

For 1000 MW: 2671 x 1000000 KW = $ 2,671,000,000

3-At the bottom of your paper, provide the three questions for the lecture – Transmission & Distribution – Planning, Reliability & Renewables – after viewing the lecture.

Q1) In 2007, the range of metrics of reliability were mentioned in the lecture, so what is the update of that range?

Q2) How do excludable events effect in metrics of reliability?

Q3) In the graph of average SAIDI, the largest contributor outages were about 50% from Inservice equipment failure of underground and overhead, so what was the reason behind that?


1-“Updated Capital Cost Estimates for Utility Scale Electricity Generating Plants.” EIA. 1 Nov. 2016 https://www.eia.gov/analysis/studies/powerplants/capitalcost/pdf/capcost_assumption.pdf

2- “Energy Sage.”https://news.energysage.com/what-are-the-most-efficient-solar-panels-on-the-market/

3- “United States Environmental Protection Agency.” https://www.epa.gov/

4- “Electronic Component News.” https://www.ecnmag.com/article/2014/01/will-solar-energy-ever-be-viable-alternative-traditional-power

5- ” world Economic Forum.” https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2015/12/is-solar-the-answer-to-the-developing-worlds-energy-needs/

6- https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2016/09/22/we-could-power-the-entire-world-by-harnessing-solar-energy-from-1-of-the-sahara/#86c9695d4406


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