Regional Consequences of Solar Installations

by Matt Johnson

Forecasts about the future of solar energy tend to be rosy and optimistic, but is the solar revolution really a nobody-loses scenario? A study lead by Aixue Hu (2017) titled “Impact of solar panels on global climate” addresses some infrequently mentioned concerns.

It turns out that solar energy systems have consideration-worthy regional consequences. But you may ask: why? Solar panels are not 100% efficient, they are actually fairly far from it. The most efficient solar panels on the market today run at around a 40% efficiency, with some new technologies promising around 60%, however most are much lower. A few issues arise in the conversion of solar energy into electricity. Firstly, a small percent of the solar radiation is reflected, as a result of solar panels’ glare. Then, another few percent are lost in the conversion of direct-current into alternating current and along the transmitting wires to centers of population. The authors estimate the mentioned causes to sum to about a 10% loss. Continue reading

Using Gaming to Reduce Energy Usage

by Tyler Dean

Increased energy efficiency is a crucial factor of energy and climate strategies in our mission to reduce carbon emissions. While many efforts will resort from technological inventions and innovations, efforts in changing human behavior must compliment and match them. Reeves performed an experimental field test on the effects that media entertainment can have on energy efficiency. The reason for the study was energy information could have been too complex and uninteresting for consumers to assimilate. Media entertainments, such as video games, offer a compelling means of engagement with energy information and can help change consumers’ behaviors. Reeves built a social game about energy usage in a virtual home and designed an experiment around it. Continue reading

Automated Electrified of Cars and Sustainability

by Tyler Dean

Automated vehicles increase vehicle and change the economics of alternatively fueled vehicles. This makes them the cheapest transportation and manufacturing option in the long term. Through automated vehicle fleets used as “point-to-point on-demand car clubs”, we increase the total availability of transport services and make the benefits of alternative fuel and automated vehicles available to a larger potion of the global population. The downside to electrified vehicles and automated vehicles are range anxiety and the loss of the driving experience. With complete adaption, the range anxiety is concurred by specialized distance transportation and by the mass majority of society adapting to method because of the benefits of utilizing their time more efficiently while transporting. Continue reading