Economic and Ecological Analysis of Photovoltaic Energy as Steps in Starting a New Business

Economic and Ecological Analysis of Photovoltaic Energy as Steps in Starting a New Business

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3625-3.ch007


Based on the use of semiconductor materials, photovoltaic systems have evolved over several generations. The most important achievements in the field are Solar Power Concentrate (CSP), and the main technologies are: solar power tower (SPT), parabolic collector (PTC), linear Fresnel reflector (LFR), parabolic (PDS) electric systems. Many PV parks have been developed, and for some of them representative, a comparative study is being carried out. Investing in a photovoltaic project should take into account the high investment value and the long recovery period, as well as the different types of risks that need to be overcome. The main objective of this chapter is to analyze how solar energy is transformed by different technologies and equipment into electricity, calculations of economic indicators on investment made, project risks and environmental implications by reducing greenhouse gases.
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Photovoltaic Energy As A New Business Opportunity

Solar energy is renewable energy that is transmitted by the Sun in huge quantities. Using this energy can be saved resources of conventional oil, natural gas, and coal. We analyze the principles of the conversion of solar energy into electricity and the implementation of technologies in high capacity solar projects as business opportunities.

Solar energy is an inexhaustible source which is the most impressive source for heating or lighting Earth. In an hour, the Earth receives from the sun more energy than the world’s population uses in a year. Total flow of solar energy intercepted by the Earth one day are 4,2 X 1018 Wh or 1,5 x 1022 Joules, equivalent to 6.26 x 1020 Joules/hour. The same energy is produced by burning of 360 billion tons of oil per day or 15 billion tons per hour (RHEEAL, 2016).

Permanently exposed surface of Earth solar radiation is about 127 400 000 km2 and the total power of Sun intercepted by Earth is 1,740*1017W (Luo & Ye, 2013). Approximately 30% is reflected back to space while the rest is absorbed by clouds, oceans and land masses. Considering that the Earth revolves and has variations of day-night reception radiation, solar energy divided by the average land area is about 342 W/m2. If we consider the seasons and weather conditions, the real power that reaches the ground is approximately 200 W/m2. Thus, the average power intercepted at any time by the Earth surface is about 127,4*106*106*200 = 25,4*1015 W or 25,400 TW. By reporting this power to one year, the total solar energy received by the earth would be 25,400TW*24hrs*365days=222,504,000 TWh. If we make a brief comparison, the annual electricity consumed in the world, from all sources in 2016 was 16,600 TWh, while the solar energy provided by the sun is over 13,500 times higher than world consumption.

If we convert solar energy into electricity, taking into account the different efficiencies on the areas of sunlight and the reduced average conversion efficiency of only 8%, the available energy will be 17.8 million TWh, i.e. over 1,000 times higher than consumption. This energy could be produced by solar systems of 118,000 square kilometers, which could be distributed as follows: six solar plant of 20,000 square kilometers each, positioned in continental deserts in Australia, China, Middle East, North Africa, South America and USA or only one solar power plant to cover 1% of the Sahara desert (RHEEAL, 2016).

Applicability of photovoltaic (PV) cells is very wide: from power supply for satellites to produce electricity for home heating, production of hot water, supply pumps drinking water, agriculture pumps for irrigation or drying agricultural products, automation diverse and preparation food, thus ensuring energy independence. Also, PV can be used successfully where there is no possibility of connection to the public network energy, especially when there is no wiring in that area for example in telecommunications in inaccessible areas, to supply radio relay.

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