The Positive Impact of Solar Energy

The energy sector has no doubt been a point of contention in the USA in the past few years. The industry is divided into different areas with the most common ones been solar, coal, gas, and oil energy. However, with all of these options to choose from, the solar energy has no doubt been on the forefront in providing energy and power in various industries and homesteads in the country.

Solar energy has employed more people in the USA as compared to gas, oil, and coal combined. According to a report released by the US Department of Energy (DOE), a large chunk of employees in the energy sector are employed by the solar energy The electric power generation, on the other hand, comes in second while the wind energy comes in third. Coal which used to be the main contender in power generation and employment has declined drastically in the past 10 years.

Based on the report, in the year 2015-2016, solar energy employed a record 374,000 people which loosely translates to 43% of the total workforce in the energy sector. On the other hand, the traditional energy produced by fossils had a combined employment percentage of only 22% as compared to the past few years where the fossil industry was the leader in providing energy and employment. This clearly shows that solar energy has been the power of choice in many households and industries at large.

According to the report, a total of 6.4 million Americans are currently employed in the energy sector. This is an increase of more than 300,000 jobs as previously recorded and reported in the year 2015. Apart from this, a total of 80,000 people were employed in the solar energy sector in the year 2016 alone.

Though the energy industry has been promising in the USA, it remains to be seen what will come out of it when you consider the fact that President Trump made it clear that he does not support renewable energy resources. This eventually became official after the President hinted about the removal of the Climate Protection Plan which was signed into action by the former President Barrack Obama. With the current change in administration, it remains to be seen what will become of the solar energy in the coming years.


MIT Team Use Nanomaterials To Double Energy Efficiency Of Solar Cells Through Converting Waste Heat To Usable Energy

The new experiment solar cell that was recently created by MIT researchers could massively increase the amount of power that is generated by a given area of panels and still reduces the amount of waste heat lost. The scientist says they have broken the "Shockley-Queisser limit." The Shockley-Queisser limit is the theoretical maximum efficiency of solar panels which is somewhere around 32 percent for most standard silicon-based ones.

According to the scientists, you can get around this through tricks like stacking cells. However, there is a better way according to David Bierman, a doctoral student in the MIT team which is thermophotovoltaics a process used to turn the solar energy into heat and then re-emitted as the light that is better suited for the cell to absorb. What you need to understand first is that solar panels work efficiently with a wavelength of light. Sometimes, the ultraviolet is too short while the infrared is too long.

It follows that only some of the broad-spectrum radiation emitted from the sunlight is at the required 600nm thereby limiting the amount of energy the cell can pull out of that radiation. It is one of the components of the Shockley-Queisser limit. The MIT team has succeeded in adding a step between the sun and the cell. The step involves a highly engineered structure of carbon nanotubes which are perfect absorber over the entire color spectrum.

Heat is undesired in a solar panel because it only leads to a loss of energy. In the new solar panel by MIT team, the heat is not allowed to dissipate and instead, the carbon nanostructure converts the heat back into light at the exact wavelength. The result was a massive increase in energy efficiency in the new solar panel.