Solar PV (photovoltaic) refers to an array of cells containing a solar photovoltaic material that converts solar radiation into direct current electricity. Photovoltaic production has doubled every two years since the turn of the millennium, making it the world’s fastest-growing solar power and energy technology as a whole.
Hydropower is power derived from the energy of falling water or fast running water and is a key source of electricity in the renewable matrix. The most common type of hydroelectric power plant uses a dam on a river to store water in a reservoir. Water released from the reservoir flows through a turbine, spinning it, which in turn activates a generator to produce electricity. But hydroelectric power doesn’t necessarily require a large dam.
Wind turbines are mounted on 30 meters towers to take advantage of the faster and less turbulent wind. Turbines catch the wind’s energy with their propeller-like blades. Usually, two or three blades are mounted on a shaft to form a rotor. Wind turbines can be used as stand-alone applications, or they can be connected to a utility power grid or even combined with a photovoltaic (solar cell) system. For utility-scale sources of wind energy, a large number of wind turbines are usually built close together to form a wind plant.
Biomass energy is produced by burning wood pellets and wood chip although plant and animal matter including animal by-products and general waste is also used. Biomass is used for both boiler and CHP applications to provide heat and hot water to residential properties and commercial premises.
The additional energy produced by solar panels is diverted into large scale industrial batteries. This technology is commonly called Energy Storage. Once the batteries are fully charged the extra energy is then fed back into the national grid at times of high demand. Equally, when the solar panels are producing less energy than is required, the inverter will pull the free stored energy from the battery to make up for the shortfall.
Hybrid Power Systems
Hybrid Power Systems combine renewable power with another conventional power generating energy source. A common type is a photovoltaic diesel hybrid system, combining photovoltaics (PV) and diesel generators, or diesel gensets, as PV has hardly any marginal cost and is treated with priority on the grid. The diesel gensets are used to constantly fill in the gap between the present load and the actual generated power by the PV system.
Gas fired power plants have the lowest CO2 emissions of all fossil fuel-based power plants and can replace the far more polluting oil and coal-based electricity production.