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In addition, in some developing nations it may be economic to use solar generation to reduce reliance on imported oil, particularly if that oil must be moved by truck to remote generator sites.
Silicon, which is still the major material used in solar cells is, of course, available abundantly on earth.
Solar cells using earth abundant materials that are being researched include, Dye Sensitized Solar Cells (DSSC), polymer solar cells and Perovskite solar cells (PSC).
are the indirect forms of solar energy, that is, nature converts solar energy to these forms for our benefit.
Even fossil fuels are a stored form of solar energy, which nature stored for us over millions of years for use during emergencies (that is our savings account), although we as humans have been using them exclusively and exhausting them, while throwing away the incoming solar energy (our income).
The present trend in research in PV is focused on using earth abundant materials for PV, since some of the materials in today’s PV panels, such as, Cadmium, Tellurium, Gallium, indium, selenium etc.
are not abundant and also become hazardous waste at the end of panel life.Second, we recognize that future solar deployment will depend heavily on uncertain future market conditions and public policies — including but not limited to policies aimed at mitigating global climate change.As in other studies in this series, our primary aim is to inform decision-makers in the developed world, particularly the United States.Solar energy is such a vast energy resource that it can be used for any of our everyday needs, including electrical power, heating and cooling, water heating, industrial process heat, cooking, transportation, fuel production and even environmental clean-up.It comes to us as radiation which is pure energy (no mass associated with it), which is the highest form of energy and can be converted to many other forms for our everyday use. However, it is available only during day time, and even during day time it is not available during cloudy and rainy periods.A tiny fraction of the solar energy that falls on the earth is sufficient to take care of all of the needs on the earth (for details please see Chapter 1 of Principles of Solar Engineering, 3rd Ed. So it is obvious that if we are to depend on solar energy for our needs, we must be able to store it efficiently and cost effectively.By the way, wind, biomass, ocean energy, hydro etc.Since electricity has become the preferred form of energy for almost all of our needs, a major emphasis in research has been on increasing the efficiency of conversion to electricity and reducing the costs.There are two main methods of converting solar energy to electricity – photovoltaics (PV) and solar thermal power (commonly known as CSP, acronym for concentrating solar power).3Q: Robert Armstrong on 10 years of energy research at MIT MIT Energy Initiative Director Robert Armstrong shares perspectives on past successes and ongoing and future energy projects at the Institute. Answer by Yogi Goswami, Director, Clean Energy Research Center, USF, on Quora: Before I answer the main question, let me set the stage as a background to understand the trends.