This is my article on solar power for the website Ask The Experts. It is Part 1 of a two-part article on the efficiency of renewable technology which you can read in full here:
Essentially the article draws upon existing pieces written by the Canadian engineer Professor Vaclav Smil of the University of Manitoba. Smil argues that as a result of the various low efficiencies involved, replacing fossil fuels with renewable technology will not be easy. There are the fluctuations in the solar constant to take into account, the amount of space available on land which can be devoted to renewable energy plants, the efficiencies of photovoltaic (PV) cells which rarely reach an efficiency level of 30%, if that. The conclusion has to be drawn that renewable technology will not save us by itself, but only as part of a universal package of energy measures which may have to include hitherto unpalatable options like nuclear power. The only other option appears to be some form of 'managed collapse'. As will be seen, the same conclusions that apply to solar can also be said of wind power. Further discussion of these topics regularly take place on the Green group of the website LinkedIn among others, and there is also an energy discussion group on Ask The Experts.
- Robin Whitlock
- Weston Super Mare, Somerset, United Kingdom
- Hello and welcome to my blog. My name is Robin Whitlock. I am a freelance journalist with a special interest in environmental issues and renewable energy. I have numerous published articles to my credit and write regularly for a number of renewable energy websites. I am also a writer for Renewable Energy Magazine and a sub-editor for Renewable Energy Focus. I am currently based in Bristol, UK. Besides renewable energy and green issues I have a wide variety of other interests which includes World War 2, mythology and folklore, gardening, railways and lots more besides. You can also reach me on either of my two email addresses, which are: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks!
Hire Me!! - Freelance Journalist specializing in environmental issues and renewable energy
Writer for Renewable Energy Magazine
Sub-editor for Renewable Energy Focus
Contributor to Holmes Digital Media websites (Solar Guide, Renewables Guide, Boiler Guide, Builder Guide)
Contributor to Cleversolar blog and Find Energy Savings
Published in numerous national magazines
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