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    Solar Energy vs. Fossil Fuels

    Fossil fuels are convenient — for now. Compare solar energy and fossil fuel costs, efficiency, availability and more. Plus, learn about the benefits.

    Consumers burn fossil fuels because it's cost-efficient and convenient — for now. Experts don’t consider fossil fuels renewable energy because their global supply is finite. Solar energy, however, is a truly renewable source of natural energy.

    The sun won't stop providing sunlight any time soon, and it's available all over the world. However, the amount of sunlight we receive varies depending on location, time of day, season and weather conditions. For instance, if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s ideal to have a south-facing roof. Even if this isn’t the case, though, solar can still work for you, especially if your roof doesn’t get lots of shade throughout the day.

    As with all power sources, solar energy has its pros and cons. The two main disadvantages of solar energy are its high upfront costs and its lower energy density. Lower energy density isn’t really a problem, though — it just means more solar panels are necessary for a given energy output. Solar energy output is set by the physics of the panel, because only some frequencies of light hitting the panel can be converted to electrical energy.

    Overall, the health, environmental and economic costs of fossil fuels outweigh their value, even if they seem more affordable than solar energy options.

    Solar energy Fossil fuels

    Efficiency rate 15% to 22% 20% to 40%

    CO2 emissions —

    Long-term availability —

    Solar energy cost vs. fossil fuels

    Going solar is a money-saver in the long term, even though startup costs are higher for the consumer. Electricity from fossil fuels costs between 5 and 17 cents per kilowatt-hour. Solar energy costs average between 3 cents and 6 cents per kilowatt-hour and are trending down, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

    In 2020, the initial installation and setup of a solar energy system in the U.S. cost an average of about $15,000 after state incentives. Luckily, the cost for solar panels has decreased more than 20% in the last five years and is expected to continue declining, according to EnergySage.

    Once installed, a solar energy system is easy to maintain and low in cost. Homeowners might even be able to make money by selling excess energy from their solar panels to their local grid.

    Full solar panel systems can require a substantial upfront investment, though. Ultimately, solar panels can lower your utility bills, but not everyone is in the financial position to absorb the initial cost of panels until it balances out. To help offset the upfront cost of solar panel installation, many solar energy companies have leasing and solar financing options available.

    In order to get a low-maintenance system with maximum energy and low costs, quite a bit of research is required.

    First, you need to determine what size system you need for optimum performance. This isn’t a simple calculation, but it has to be done.

    Find out what options your utility provider has for buying back solar energy.

    Consider a battery storage system rather than selling excess energy to the utility. The utility company won’t buy back solar-produced energy at the same cost they charge for electric energy, so storing energy in batteries may be a more cost-effective option. You can also use utility energy if the batteries run out.

    Look for available grants from state, federal and utility agencies, which could reduce installation costs significantly.

    The energy output of a solar energy installation can vary significantly. Anything that obstructs sunlight from reaching the panels can affect the output. Dust and dirt, lack of sunlight and the angle of the panel all affect panel performance. Some solar panel supplies have self-cleaning systems and some can track the sun to keep perpendicular to its rays, which increases the energy output.

    Try to design and install a solar energy system that returns the investment in about 2 to 3 years — it’s possible to have essentially free energy after this point.

    How is solar energy harnessed?

    The earth absorbs enough energy from the sun in about an hour to power the world for a year. If you’ve ever had the sun come through your windows and heat your home, you’ve experienced passive solar heating. To use solar energy for your home, however, you have to convert the power into a usable form with solar panels.

    Solar panels are made of photovoltaic (PV) cells that convert solar energy into electricity. In a solar panel system, energy from the sun is harnessed and can be stored in solar batteries. Batteries are paired with an electrical control system to provide power after sunset or to offset electricity usage.

    A solar panel converts about 20% of the total amount of solar energy impacting it. The panel produces direct-current energy and is converted to alternating-current power by an inverter.

    The electrical interface to utility or battery storage systems is fairly complicated. Make sure you ask the solar system installers plenty of questions — it’s also wise to employ electrical engineering consultants to verify details and to avoid additional costs and problems.

    There are still some disadvantages to solar energy in terms of the environment; there is some pollution associated with solar energy production, and transporting solar panel systems contributes some to greenhouse gas emissions. Still, the environmental effects of solar energy are pretty insignificant, especially in comparison to fossil fuels.

    स्रोत : www.consumeraffairs.com

    Coal vs Solar

    Recently a claim was made to me that solar PV is actually more area efficient - that is, it generates more energy per hectare - than coal. Is this true?

    Coal vs Solar – Which is more space efficient?

    November 19, 2014 by Finn Peacock 6 Comments


    This is a guest post by Greg Bell – which was conceived in the comments section of another post on this blog.Take it away Greg:


    Some things we can say we know for sure about photovoltaics – the fuel is free, it’s quiet, and there are no moving parts. But other benefits are more controversial. Recently a claim was made to me that solar PV is actually more area efficient – that is, it generates more energy per hectare – than coal.

    Specifically, the claim was

    “The 1,600 megawatt brown coal Hazelwood Power Station and associated mine in Victoria covers 3,554 hectares. In a sunny location in Australia 20% efficient solar panels covering that area would produce more kilowatt-hours than Hazelwood’s average output.”

    Let’s see if that’s true.

    Why energy instead of power?

    Why are we looking at energy instead of power? Well, coal-fired power plants are rated at their peak power generating capacity, however this pace is not kept up 24/7, 365 days per year. Other factors come into play, like time down for maintenance, and degrading efficiency over time. So we really want a power plant’s track record over a whole year. Power times time equals energy. So we’ll look at how many GWh of energy are produced per year (which, since that’s energy divided by time, is actually power again, but averaged throughout the year). We’ll take that number and divide it by the number of hectares the power plant takes up, and that will give us a figure of GWh/year/hectare – our “area efficiency” unit.

    Why area efficiency?

    Why do we care about area efficiency instead of economics or the environment? It’s not a case of “instead”, rather “and”. Area efficiency is important because whatever energy generation technology we use competes for land with other important uses – like agriculture, or (God forbid) land simply left wild. In the case of wild land, converting it to a coal or solar plant means it’s lost for good, or at least a very long time.

    And, if we’re converting from a less area efficient source to a more area efficient source, well then as a society, we might be freeing up some agricultural land, which if the UN is to be believed, is very important indeed. Of course, the previous energy source can’t have polluted the land or the potential for re-use is limted.

    The Area Efficiency of Hazelwood

    Hazelwood generates 12.1 TWh/year. That’s terawatt-hours – 1 terawatt-hour is 1,000,000,000,000 watt-hours! At 3554 hectares, it’s energy efficiency is 0.0034 TWh/year/hectare. Converting that to gigawatt-hours for a friendlier looking number and we get 3.40 GWh/year/hectare. So for every hectare of land occupied, Hazelwood produces 3.40 GWh of energy per year.

    The Area Efficiency of Solar Photovoltaics

    So what if we levelled the whole site, and plastered it with solar panels? It might look like this:

    Image from RenewEconomy (click image for original)

    Not just any solar panels, but let’s use SunPower’s record-setting 345 W panels. And to really give solar an advantage, let’s assume we’re able to completely cover the site – no space between tilt frames, and perfectly tilted. We’ll assume 3.6 sun-hours/day – a weird unit that wraps up the solar energy received by a site into one convenient number. If you multiply the sun-hours/day of a site by the power of a solar power system in kW, you get the kWh/day that system will produce. So “Solar Hazelwood” would produce 27068315 kWh/day. Sounds like a lot! Is solar winning? Unfortunately, no, because when we multiply that by 365 to get annual energy production, and divide by the area, we get 2.78 GWh/year/hectare. Solar is only 82% as area efficient as coal.

    The Area Efficiency of Loy Yang B

    Holding up Hazelwood as an example from Team Coal is a bit unfair since Hazelwood is sort of famous for being inefficient – at least as far as how much energy produced vs CO2 output. It’s old. Let’s guess that CO2 inefficiency will mean it’s inefficient in other ways too and look at a different coal-fired power plant.

    The new kid on the block is Loy Yang, also in Victoria. This bad boy burns through 60,000 tonnes of brown coal a day, belching 34 kg of mercury into Australia’s air and water. But, by committing these environmental crimes, it produces 1/3 of Victoria’s electricity – all of which I’m hoping is used frugally and responsibly by citizens ever-mindful of coal’s environmental impact.

    In the units we’re interested in, it’s producing 8 TWh of energy per year. That works out to 10.2 GWh/year/hectare, and that’s including the nearby coal mine which feeds it (but because I couldn’t find figures for it, this doesn’t include the other station, Loy Yang A, which is also fed by the mine).

    So where are we at? Better-than-real-world solar photovoltaics gives us 2.78 GWh/year/hectare, while a modern coal fired plant, including its mine, produces 10.2 GWh/year/hectare – coal is 3.7 times more area efficient!

    The Area Efficiency of Solar Thermal

    स्रोत : www.solarquotes.com.au

    Efficiency of Solar Panels compared to Fossil Fuels

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    People are currently using fossil fuels to reduce their expenses and to be more convenient. Experts do not recognize fossil fuels to be renewable energy because their global supply is limited. Solar energy however, is an energy source that is renewable and provides natural power.

    The sun will continue to provide light all over the world which means it will not be slowing down any time soon. The amount of sun we get varies depending on the place we live as well as the time of day and the weather and what time of the year it is. If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, then a south-facing roof is ideal. Even if you don’t live within the Northern Hemisphere, solar can be an option, particularly if your roof doesn’t get lots of shade during the daytime.

    Like any other source of power There is a pros as well as cons to solar energy. The solar energy source has two main disadvantages: its high upfront costs and lower density. A lower energy density isn’t a problem. But, it could mean the need for more solar panels will be needed for the equivalent quantity of power. Because only certain frequencies of light are transformed into electrical energy, the panel’s physics determines the power output of the solar panel.

    Even though they may seem less expensive than solar energy however, the health, economic, and environmental cost of fossil fuels far outweigh their value.


    Fossil fuels are described as non-renewable sources that come from fossilized animals or plants submerged beneath the earth’s surface. These plants and animals lived millions of years ago. They were created as fuel from the layers of earth that were built on top of them.

    Most fossil fuels are mined or drilled out of the ground. Natural gas, oil, as well as coal, are fossil fuels. These fossil fuels have been an important source of energy for humanity since their discovery.


    As you may be aware is the energy that comes directly from sun. Solar radiation is generated by the sun, and it reaches our planet on a regular basis. This radiation is known by the name visible light. It’s impossible to imagine the sun going out in the near future, which is why it’s regarded as a renewable resource.

    Solar panels are a gadget that converts sunlight into usable energy. They convert light into direct current energy (DC) as the cells absorb it. There are other benefits too.

    According to some estimates 173,000 megawatts (trillions of Watts) from solar energy is continuously hitting the Earth. This is greater than 11,000 times the planet’s energy consumption. That energy is completely renewable and lasts only until the sun does.


    Even though the initial costs to go solar are higher however, it’s a fantastic cost-saving option over the long term. The cost of electricity from fossil fuels is anywhere between 5 and 17 Cents per kilowatt hour. As per the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, solar energy costs are dropping and range from 3 to 6 cents per Kilowatt-hour.

    After state incentives After state incentives, the median cost of installing and constructing a solar energy system within America was $15,000 in 2020. LA Solar Group reports that the price of solar panels has decreased by more than 20% in the past five years.

    The solar power system can be maintained once it’s installed and will cost minimal. It is possible earn money by selling the excess energy you generate from your solar panels to your local grid.

    However, full solar panel systems require substantial upfront investments. Solar panels can help reduce your energy bills. However, not everyone can afford the initial cost. Numerous solar energy companies offer financing and leasing options to help offset the initial cost of installing solar panels.

    It takes a lot of research to find low-maintenance systems that are economical and energy efficient. To achieve the most efficient performance, first you need to determine the dimensions of your system. It’s not an easy task but it should be completed.

    Find out what options your electricity provider has to purchase back solar energy.

    Instead of selling excess energy to the utility look into an energy storage battery. Solar energy isn’t bought from the utilities firm at the same cost as electricity. Thus the idea of storing sunlight in batteries could prove more efficient. If your batteries are depleted it is possible to still make use of utility energy.

    Look for grants available from the state, federal, and utility organizations. This can help lower installation costs.

    A solar power system is able to produce a variety different energy sources. The output can be affected by anything that prevents sunlight from getting to the panels. Panel performance may be affected by dirt, dust or lack of sunlight as well as angles. Solar panel panels can be self-cleaning or follow the sun’s direction to ensure the panels are aligned with the sun’s rays. This can increase the amount of energy.

    It is possible to receive almost free electricity once you’ve constructed and installed an solar energy system.

    स्रोत : la-solargroup.com

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