20 May 2007 - 09:09
  • News Code: 105028

The term ’Photovoltaic’ (abbreviated to PV), is derived from a combination of ’photo’ the Greek word for light, and ’volta’ which is the name of the Italian physicist, Alessandro Volta, who invented the chemical battery in 1800. The solar PV technology uses the electrical properties of certain materials to convert solar energy into usable electricity.

For reasons ranging from its environmental benefits to its scale and accessibility, this technology’s seeming promise of clean electricity has gained much attention and acceptability globally in the past decades. The development of this thin-film technology reduces costs further by decreasing the amount of material needed to make a cell.

Solar modules can be mounted on roof tops and on the ground to attract solar energy and they are firmly supported by suitable structures.

The three typical configurations of PV solar power systems are autonomous systems, hybrid systems and the grid-connected or net-metered or grid-tied systems.

They are sized to match the capacity of the PV array and deliver the maximum energy to the load (grid). Inverters cost share usually represent 10-15% of the total investment cost of grid-connected systems. Grid-connected PV systems are part of the movement towards a decentralized electrical network.

They generate electricity and feeds its excess power into the utility (in most countries utility management must give permission to that effect) for later use. This does away with buying and maintaining of battery banks. It reduces the need to increase the capacity of transportation and distribution lines. Smaller systems have a box-a small grid synchronous inverter which is mounted on the back of each panel whilst larger systems have one large inverter which can handle many panels (as in a stand-alone system).

The benefits of PV technology are innumerable. The Nigerian government is strongly advised to nip in the bud its polarizing views of this technology and adopt un-feigned and legally-binding national policy for the development of the technology.

For this country to achieve monumental success in electricity supply and product-environmental stewardship in its energy sector, prompt development of PV arrays and other sustainable resources is the answer.

Given that PV technology requires no fuel and produces no GHG emissions like the finite resources, it has the potential to play a major role in global warming mitigation and pollution reduction.

Renewable energy (RE) in a true decentralized energy setting, will serve as an indicator and macro element of achieving the long-awaited energy renaissance which eluded Nigeria since Independence, because while the grid supplies un-interrupted electricity to the cities, the autonomous and hybrid PV systems supply to the remote areas where the utility lines do not reach.

Government should inject life into our moribund agriculture by encouraging farmers financially and by effective deployment of autonomous and hybrid systems for water pumping and irrigation purposes in farms at the remote areas, especially in the semi-desert parts of Nigeria, to boost food production.

The Nigerian government is advised to keep a balanced portfolio of research and development efforts to enhance Nigeria’s energy efficiency and develop alternative energy sources of which sustainable development is paramount.

Greater budget allocations should be earmarked for energy-technology R&D and the nation’s universities in the departments of engineering and technology, to ensure active involvement in researches for desired results.

Nigerian universities should, as a matter of policy and concern over the increasing spate of global warming, introduce courses on Renewable Energy technologies, environmental sciences and waste-to-energy technologies.

Students are advised not to treat issues of global warming in abstract but to go for careers in alternative energy and help salvage the earth from the precipice of global warming and environmental degradation.

Nigeria needs to introduce an alternative energy program aimed at boosting research and development (R&D) into renewable energy (RE) resources and all the companies (concessionaires) licensed to generate, transmit and sell electricity to consumers, to be compulsorily generate about 5% of total energy supply from RE or risk having their licenses repealed.

 

PIN/ ALLAFRICA.COM

News Code 105028

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