Renewable Energy Los Angeles

renewable energy los angeles

Clean, renewable energy has long been the goal of most societies in the world, and for good reason; sustainable energy that does not leave a harmful environmental footprint is beneficial to all people. Clean energy means that everyone literally gets to breathe easier, and renewable energy helps to keep utility costs down for everyone who use electricity on a regular basis.

After the Trump Administration pulled out of the Paris Agreement—a worldwide accord among nations to combat climate change—it seemed like America would fall short of its efforts to fight global warming. However, the governments of several states have taken it upon themselves to follow, or to continue following, their own rules regarding clean and renewable energy. One of those states is California, and on September 10, 2018, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill mandating that California becomes a zero-emissions state by 2045.

This is a highly laudable and highly ambitious goal, and one of the ways California will reach that goal is through the use of solar panel installations. Los Angeles already has a significant number of homes and businesses that rely on solar installations—aka PV (photovoltaic) systems—to provide or supplement their electricity usage. There are several companies that will provide the expertise needed to increase the number of solar panel installations in Los Angeles, and other California cities, need to do their part in helping the Golden State meet the lofty goal of only using clean, renewable energy.

Are Solar Panels A Clean Energy Solution?

There are many different forms of renewable energy aside from solar power, such as wind and hydroelectric power. However, solar power is one of the most reliable and efficient, at least in California and other sun-drenched locations. In fact, on one day in the middle of June 2018, California managed to have half of its energy generated by solar power alone, that was over 10,000 megawatts of electricity being generated solely by solar panels.

That is an incredible number, but it could be even higher if even more homes and businesses use solar panel installations to help generate some, or even all, of their electricity. This is not an unrealistic goal since the price of solar panels keep dropping, making them a viable option for most people. Currently California gets 32% of its energy through renewable resources, if more people start using PV systems, then California would be well on its way to meeting the 2045 deadline.

How Efficient Are Solar Panels?

The efficiency of solar panels keeps increasing. Currently most commercial solar panels convert about 15% to 18% of the sun’s energy into electricity, with the most advanced panels having an efficiency rating of about 22%. Those numbers may seem low but they are a huge improvement from even ten years ago. The efficiency of solar panels are governed by what is known as the Shockley-Queisser limit, aka, the Detailed Balance limit. The S-Q limit was created in 1961 by William Shockley and Hans-Joachim Queisser, and it stated that the maximum efficiency of a solar cell is 30%. However, more recent calculations have increased that limit to 33.7%.

Those limits are for regular solar cells, technological advances have resulted in tandem—or multi-junction—solar cells that have already out paced the S-Q limit. At the moment, they have attained efficiency ratings of up to 40% in the real world, and 46% in lab conditions. As expected, tandem cells are expensive but, as with more commonly available solar panel installations in Los Angeles and elsewhere, their price will drop down to more affordable levels eventually.

Are There Any Drawbacks to Solar Panel Installations?

Storing the excess energy is one of the problems faced by solar panel installations. Los Angeles residents are familiar with the city’s net metering program; this program would credit residents who produced more energy from solar than they used. Their meter would run backwards and they would receive a credit on their next bill.

In some cases, the utility company pays other people to use the excess energy, the extra power does not go to waste, but it would be better if there were some way to store it on a large scale instead. Individual homes and businesses can store the extra power in batteries that they can use later. Those batteries, however, have limits and it does not solve the problem of how to store the power generated by an entire city. After increasing the efficiency of solar panels, storing the energy produced by them will be the next problem that needs solving.

Solar Panel Installations Will Help California’s Energy Needs

The 2045 limit proposed by California’s governor may seem far off, but the near-term gains will start to be achieved more quickly than anyone expects. California has already made huge strides when it comes to clean and renewable energy, and the state has already issued a mandate requiring that all new single family homes must have a solar panel installation. Los Angeles will be one of the cities at the forefront of this movement and all of the solar panel companies there will help residents and businesses be a part of California’s clean, green future.

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