Green Technologies Blog

Just how much solar energy do we use?

First, lets learn a thing or two. The good thing to start with is defining what exactly Photovoltaic means. Wikipedia says:

Photovoltaics (PV) is the field of technology and research related to the application of solar cells for energy by converting sunlight directly into electricity. Due to the growing demand for clean sources of energy, the manufacture of solar cells and photovoltaic arrays has expanded dramatically in recent years.

And a quote from EIA site

Photovoltaic devices use semiconducting materials to convert sunlight directly into electricity. Solar radiation, which is nearly constant outside the Earths atmosphere, varies with changing atmospheric conditions (clouds and dust) and the changing position of the Earth relative to the sun. Nevertheless, almost all U.S. regions have useful solar resources that can be accessed.

So basically, this is the technology implemented in solar arrays and panels we see every day.The data figures confirm the fact that production of the photovoltaic units is doubling every two years.

Click to see the data visualizations
Google PowerMeter – Track Your Electricity Usage

Google has announced a new software that enables you to track home electricity usage and helps to cut your bills down.

Here is a quote from project page.

At Google were committed to helping enable a future where access to personal energy information helps everyone make smarter energy choices. To get started, were working on a tool called Google PowerMeter which will show consumers their electricity consumption in near real-time in a secure iGoogle Gadget. We think PowerMeter will offer more useful and actionable feedback than complicated monthly paper bills that provide little detail on consumption or how to save energy.

This project is still in progress.To make it work, you need to have smart power meters for measuring power consumption and transfer the data to your computer/Internet. Google is currently developing that technology together with smart meter and utility manufacturers on implementing the technology into devices as well as standardizing the communication protocols. Yet, a question of security arises, i.e. who else gets to see your data?