ETAP PV Solar Capabilities
Last Saturday, President Obama announced that the U.S. Department of Energy will use last year’s stimulus bill to issue $1.85 billion in loan guarantees to two solar power companies.
One company, Abound Solar Manufacturing, will get $400 million to build two solar-panel manufacturing plants, one in an empty Chrysler supplier factory in Tipton, Indiana. The company estimates that building the two plants will require 2,000 workers and operating them will create 1,500 permanent positions; the company also says it will be first to use a new solar panel technology commercially.
Abound Solar Manufacturing, will manufacture state-of-the-art thin film solar panels, the first time anywhere that such technology has been used commercially. Thin film panels are noted for requiring more space to deploy given lower efficiencies, yet much cheaper to produce, one of the earlier solar use stumbling blocks.
This comes on the heels of ETAP noting new PV Solar capabilities in its next release.
Abengoa Solar Inc. is the other firm, whose plant will cover an area of around 1,900 acres near Gila Bend, Arizona. The company claims that the plant will be one of the first in the United States able to store its own power, while able to generate 280 megawatts of power. After construction, the plant will support approximately 85 permanent jobs, the company claims. This type of facility will use solar reflector technology, which will require a mirror plant to be built nearby, not yet officially announced.
ETAP Real-Time Energy Management Solution
The use of renewable energy is not new. More than 150 years ago, wood, which is one form of biomass, supplied up to 90 percent of our energy needs. As the use of coal, petroleum, and natural gas expanded, the world became less reliant on wood as an energy source. Today, we are looking again at clean renewable resources such as wind, solar thermal, photovoltaic and geothermal to help meet our growing energy needs. However, without energy storage device technology catching up with advances in renewable energy solutions, one energy problem will spawn another. While an ideal way to save energy on your favorite portable device, “Just-In-Time” (JIT) Energy produced and delivered by the power grid has to be used right away and no large scale storage devices exist to utilize this energy under emergency conditions. By adding distributed renewable energy sources, the problem of JIT energy will be compounded by the addition of “Unpredictable Energy”, such as wind and solar. Without a means to predict, control, and manage these sources we will begin placing additional burden on the already aging electric infrastructure.
In order for the mixture of conventional and green energy to succeed, i.e. “Plug-N-Play” convenience, utilities are going to need a proactive and smart energy management solution that would effectively manage distributed generation while maintaining reliability and stability of the electrical system.
Any renewable energy management system will require some degree of Merlin’s magic to be able to predict the behavior of renewable sources such as wind and solar. It would then use this prediction to estimate power injection into the utility and communicate it to the utility such that existing power management techniques, such as generation control, would be able to continue managing the overall power grid.
Such a renewable energy management system would also be able to model energy storage devices in extensive detail in order to effectively maintain level power injection into the utility. This will alleviate some of the burden from power management systems as they constantly try to manage supply and demand in the power grid.