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Solar power is undoubtedly one of the most promising forms of renewable energy on the market and with generous tax breaks, more home-owners than ever are "going solar" and installing photovoltaic (PV) systems on their roofs. Yet, many solar installation owners and customers remain unaware of the degree to which the array in which they may have invested US $30,000 or more might be failing to realize its full potential due to partial or temporary shading.
Many solar installation owners and customers remain unaware of the degree to which shading limits the performance of solar panels. The answer lies in the way cells are connected within solar panels and the centralized form of performance optimization, carried out by the array inverter. With shading, the inverter with a dilemma: optimize the voltage for the underperforming string or maximize the energy harvest from the unaffected strings. In most cases the inverter chooses the former, causing the energy harvest of the impaired string to drop to near zero.
Overcapacity is the biggest issue facing the global solar manufacturing industry, and nowhere is the issue more apparent — and the losses deeper — than in China and Taiwan. Together these countries account for over 70 percent of solar cell manufacturing. GTM Research estimates that China alone has the capacity to manufacture 59 GW of solar modules — dwarfing even rosiest demand forecasts for 2012, which is around 30 GW. Taiwanese makers add another 8 GW of manufacturing capacity to this equation. The U.S. Department of Commerce antidumping tariffs intend to impact this condition by pricing Chinese solar cells out of the market, and sideline a significant chunk of the global solar cell supply to create a more competitive and sustainable industry.
Companies in the global energy industry are under intense pressure from all directions. Growth in power demand must always be met and compliance with increasingly stringent health, safety and environmental regulations is mandatory. New facilities must be brought online quickly, and infrastructure must be upgraded and modernized. And throughout, a retiring workforce with the potential loss of know-how and experience must be replaced — all with minimal service interruptions.
More hydropower projects are being designedand constructed using plastic pipe. But most dam designers have never been trained on the behavior ofplastics and must make decisions on the use of plasticpipe by weighing the cost, operating requirements, dependability, and long-term performance.