-As the pressures from COVID-19 during 2020 brought unprecedented changes in daily life, the time was well-invested on many fronts, including solar energy research. One significant advance was announced last year and Electricraft, Inc., the San Luis Obispo solar company is continuing to help keep Central Coast communities abreast of technology advances in solar energy.
The news about a significant recent advance, a hybrid solar energy converter that generates both electricity and steam was published in July 2020. Steam powered electrical generators deliver about 48-percent of electrical power in the United States. The solar converter has the potential to reduce the cost of electrical power.
Traditionally, solar power is used to either generate electricity that is used directly by a consumer, or in solar thermal plants where the steam is used to generate electricity. Solar thermal farms have been in operation in California since 1984.
The article in Science News reports that the thermal energy generated by the converter can be stored and used as needed, providing energy for a wide range of commercial and industrial uses. The research team reports that the system demonstrated 85.1 percent efficiency and delivered steam up to 248°C.
The project, a joint effort between Tulane University and University of San Diego, is led by Matthew Escarra, associate professor of physics and engineering physics at Tulane, and Daniel Codd, associate professor of mechanical engineering at the University of San Diego. The prototype, developed at Tulane and field tested in San Diego, is the culmination of $3.3 million in funding by the U.S. Department of Energy.
Science News reports:
“The hybrid converter utilizes an approach that more fully captures the whole spectrum of sunlight. It generates electricity from high efficiency multi-junction solar cells that also redirect infrared rays of sunlight to a thermal receiver, which converts those rays to thermal energy.”
The bottom-line for the public, summarizes the San Luis Obispo solar company, is that, according to the Science News report, energy can potentially be delivered for the levelized cost of 3 cents per kilowatt hour, The average cost today is 5-10 cents per kilowatt hour as reported by Energy Factbook. Today’s cost depends on the source of electricity, such as solar, hydropower or other sources.
The ability of solar energy to deliver electricity for reduced cost, combined with the continuing drop in cost of lithium-ion batteries is good news for consumers, especially on the sunny Central Coast. The cost of lithium-ion battery storage has fallen 76-percent since 2012.
California continues to lead the nation in solar power and the San Luis Obispo solar company, Electricraft, continues to help Central Coast communities get the best energy efficiency from solar. The professionals at Electricraft have gained valuable knowledge from years of experience, training and certification. The full-service solar installation includes design, installation, maintenance and repair. The company has installed residential, commercial and public works solar systems. Founded in 1984 this family-owned business is committed to bring the highest-quality electrical and solar services to the Central Coast communities. Electricraft delivers:
- High quality and custom solar panel designs
- Free estimates
- Lease options available
- Low interest loan/financing program
- Rooftop and ground mount systems
- 25 year product warranty
- 10 year workmanship warranty
- Turnkey design, permitting and installation
200 Suburban Rd., Suite A
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401