Energy Conservation vs. Energy Production
The main focus and direction of solar technology development to date has been to produce electricity from light, as demonstrated most commonly in photovoltaic “PV” (solar panels), with comparably less R&D of other solar technologies.
Typical efficiency of solar cells is only about 6 -15%. Although environmentally advantageous over fossil fuels, and a very important component of a renewable energy infrastructure, this approach for electricity generation is still far from cost competitive. Solar cell panels must actually operate for years just to return the amount of electricity used to manufacture them.
The efficiency of electric lighting commonly used in commercial and industrial applications is only about 25%. The remaining 75% of electric energy to produce this artificial light is radiated in the form of heat. This waste heat also results in additional loads on AC equipment, along with increased energy costs for cooling.
The efficiency of solar cells that work only during the day, generating electricity to produce as the end result daytime artificial indoor lighting, is not the most practical use of the original energy source (sunlight), with the resulting efficiency being only about 1% to 4%. This transition from sunlight, to solar cell, to electricity, to artificial electric lighting results in a greater than 95% loss of the original light energy.
Because of the entrenched industry desire to produce electricity, the use of sunlight for illumination (daylighting) to displace or conserve electric energy consumption has not been researched with reasoned and balanced efforts.
Logical market based engineering would capitalize on a sunlight distribution system such as Solartech - a far more practical use of the sun’s energy for lighting applications, producing 15 times the present solar cell efficiency with lighting as the end use of the suns’ energy. Solartech uniquely uses sunlight directly for illumination without the inefficient initial conversion to electricity that solar electric systems demonstrate.
Installation of Solartech
in just 350 retail warehouses would conserve the equivalent amount of
electricity produced by the entire US 2002 manufacturing production of PV
panels, and have an end user return on investment 10 times faster than PV.