Solar Energy Perspectives

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International Energy Agency

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01 Dec 2011
9789264124585 (PDF) ;9789264124578(print)

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In 90 minutes, enough sunlight strikes the earth to provide the entire planet's energy needs for one year. While solar energy is abundant, it represents a tiny fraction of the world’s current energy mix. But this is changing rapidly and is being driven by global action to improve energy access and supply security, and to mitigate climate change. 

Around the world, countries and companies are investing in solar generation capacity on an unprecedented scale, and, as a consequence, costs continue to fall and technologies improve. This publication gives an authoritative view of these technologies and market trends, in both advanced and developing economies, while providing examples of the best and most advanced practices. It also provides a unique guide for policy makers, industry representatives and concerned stakeholders on how best to use, combine and successfully promote the major categories of solar energy: solar heating and cooling, photovoltaic and solar thermal electricity, as well as solar fuels.  

Finally, in analysing the likely evolution of electricity and energy-consuming sectors – buildings, industry and transport – it explores the leading role solar energy could play in the long-term future of our energy system.

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Table of Contents

Executive Summary
Chapter 1. Rationale for harnessing the solar resource
-Drivers and incentives
-Structure of the book
--Part A. Markets and outlook
--Part B. Solar technologies
--Part C. The way forward
Chapter 2.
The solar resource and its possible uses
-The incoming solar radiation
-Two basic ways to capture the sun’s energy
-How this resource varies
-Tilting collectors, tracking and concentration
-Knowing the resource is key to its exploitation
Chapter 3. Solar electricity
-The bright future for electricity
-The BLUE Scenarios for solar electricity
--Storage options
--The role of STE/CSP
-Economics of solar electricity
--Solar photovoltaics
--Solar thermal electricity/concentrating solar power
--PV grid-parity
-When PV and STE/CSP are becoming competitive with bulk power
-Off grid
Chapter 4. Buildings
-Solar water heating
-Energy efficient buildings and passive solar
-Active solar space heating
-Heat pumps
-Space cooling, air-conditioning
-Zero-net and positive energy buildings
-The need for an integrated approach
Chapter 5. Industry and transport
-Industrial electricity
-Biomass in industry
-Solar heat
Chapter 6.
Solar photovoltaics
-The PV learning curve
-State of the art and areas for improvement
--Crystalline silicon
--Thin films
--Hybrid PV-thermal panels
--Concentrating photovoltaics
--Organic cells
--Novel devices: quantum dots and wells, thermo-electric cells
--Balance of systems
-Floor price and roof costs
Chapter 7. Solar heat
-Collecting heat
--Flat-plate collectors
--Evacuated tube collectors
--CPC collectors
--Why concentrate the sunlight
--Parabolic troughs
--Fresnel reflectors
--Parabolic dishes
--Scheffler dishes
--Solar towers
-Storing the sun’s heat
-Costs of solar heat
Chapter 8. Solar thermal electricity
-Concentrating solar power
-Concentrating solar power plants
--Parabolic troughs and linear Fresnel reflectors
--Solar towers and dishes
--Balance of plants
-Storage in CSP plants
-Back-up and hybridisation
-Smaller plants
-Non-concentrating solar thermal power
-Costs of STE
Chapter 9. Solar fuels
-Carbon and hydrogen
-Producing hydrogen
-Solar-enhanced biofuels
-Using solar fuels
Chapter 10.
-The costs of early deployment
--Spend wisely, share widely
-Support schemes
--Feed-in tariffs and feed-in premiums
--Renewable energy portfolio standards and solar renewable energy certificates
--Requests for tenders
--Tax credits
-Market design
-CO2 pricing
-Paving the way
Chapter 11. Testing the limits
-Rationale and
-The world in 50 years
--Footprint of solar electricity
-Direct, non-electric energy uses
-CO2 emissions and variants
Chapter 12. Conclusions and recommendations
Future work
Annex A. Definitions, abbreviations, acronyms and units
Annex B. References

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