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Author Topic: Does global warming have a positive effect on solar panels and solar energy?  (Read 7696 times)

Offline skybuster3000

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So? Can global warming make solar power more useful in the future? if so, then we have a bright future ahead of us.We can use global warming against itself to make our lives easier.


 

Offline Airthumbs

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I do not think that global warming will increase the amount of radiation that the Sun emits.
However changes in weather patterns as a result of climatic change may have both positive and negative effects on Solar panels.  For example, Germany has invested a massive amount of money into Solar panels and now produces 17% of the countries electricity from that source.  If climate change decreased the amount of cloud cover in Germany then I am sure that percentage would increase.  It seems crazy but Germany is not even located in a particularly good place on the Earth to get the most out of this energy source. In 2009 20 billion euros were spent in that year alone developing the Solar panel infrastructure.  If only they had done it somewhere a little closer to the equator where exposure to radiation would be at a maximum.
 

Offline Geezer

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Probably not, in the balance. Solar cells don't collect "heat", they collect much higher energy photons directly from solar radiation. It might even go in the opposite direction slightly. If I remember correctly, photocells are more efficient at lower temperatures, but don't quote me on that.
 

Offline CliffordK

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I've read in several places that more heat is bad for solar-electric generation.  And, the greenhouse effect only traps heat, and not sunlight.  There might be a slight benefit for heat generating methods like solar-hot water collectors, but again, the goal is to collect the incoming sunlight, not the ambient temperatures. 

One of the big issues will be changing cloud patterns as cloudy days have a significant negative effect on the solar generation of all types.  If we get more water evaporation and more clouds, then we would get less power generation.  Likewise, with fewer clouds, we would have more power generation.

A significant amount of energy is used with heating and air conditioning homes.  So, the true power balance will be whether we use more or less energy to heat and air condition our homes.
 

Offline evan_au

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I agree that Solar-thermal plants produce less CO2 than the equivalent capacity of a coal-fired station. However, global warming increases the ambient temperature, and the efficiency of any heat engine is determined by the temperature difference between the heat source and the cold sink. Global warming will increase the temperature of the cold sink slightly, reducing efficiency a bit.

Solar heating for heating swimming pools or showers don't need a cold sink, and so they work better with global warming.

On the other hand, ocean thermal power works on the small temperature differences between the surface temperature and deep ocean (ie it is not very efficient). But a small increase in the temperature of surface water will make a big improvement in efficiency. Bear in mind that ocean thermal is, in a sense, fossil power - it is mining the lower water temperatures that existed in the past, and eliminating them (earlier than they would with ordinary ocean circulation).   
 

Offline Pecos_Bill

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Solar energy is great for filling the energy needs of a decade ago.

HOWEVER, energy demand shows a more exponential growth curve while the growth curve of "sustainable" energy from all sources will always lag. It is, therefore, a sucker move to depend upon it.

Unrestrained population growth means that nuclear power is inevitable. That is why the Chinese are currently planning a fission-fusion hybrid reactor even though fusion reactors remain on the come.

"Normal" IQ is 100. It is an open question if that is adequate to deal with the future. That is why people like me who call for further research into the thorium fuel cycle and heavy water moderated reactors (which have never had a problem in 50 years)--remain a voice in the wilderness.
 

Offline alancalverd

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Surface temperature is mediated by clouds and water vapor. In general, the places where people live tend to be near water so an increase in local temperature will increase the amount of water in the atmosphere and the  extent of low cloud, thus reducing the incident solar radiation that is required to power solar heating and photoelectric systems.   
 

Offline nicephotog

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A significant amount of energy is used with heating and air conditioning homes.  So, the true power balance will be whether we use more or less energy to heat and air condition our homes.
Tiny heat output compared to a bush-fire / wildfire. T
he Australian environment uses bush-fire in its' native plants evolution to trigger re-growth and start seedlings growing or the seeds simply sit there in the soil and do nothing.
A technique of starting Australian native plants growing is to boil the jug and put the seeds into a cup of boiling water for five minutes to start them.

The way i remember global warming is something alike "double glazing window" effect with the ozone in the upper atmosphere being overproduced by industry causing radiated heat to stay inside the atmosphere by refraction.
Perhaps the chemical in the generator solar cells if the specific frequencies that react with it are retained in the atmosphere there is more chance of reaching solar panels, but the area of panels in use at any one time on the planet would be so small(including solar power stations(solar farms)) it is negligible if not completely superfluous point to keep the radiation locked in.
 

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