Living in an age of advanced artificial intelligence, we continuously demand more technological innovations that can further bring about a revolutionary change in our lives. And in order to meet our demand, innovators need more and more energy- thus, they have directed their attention towards the ideal source of energy; solar power.
The sun emits enough power to the Earth every second in order to satisfy the entire demand for energy. And since it is a sustainable power source alternative, many have been attracted to the idea of making use of its energy to its highest potential.
Consequently, there has been a significant rise in solar power energy over the last decade. According to Save On Energy, it has been stated that in 2012, there were about 76% more solar installations as compared to the year prior. And as of 2013, we have also witnessed that the solar industry had achieved 8,500 megawatts worth of solar capacity and created more than 119,000 jobs for American citizens.
With all these positive results shown to us, most of us have come to think that solar power might just be all that we need to full our need for energy. However, despite the positive benefits that have been delivered to us by solar energy, we are also facing a number of challenges that are limiting us from making the most out of this clean, zero-inflation power source.
The United States power grid has remained largely unchanged over a century. Now that America is transitioning towards a greener energy approach, the creaky old electric grid is unable to accommodate renewable energy. Since electricity cannot be stored cost-effectively in large quantities over a long duration, its generated form has to be transmitted to a grid where it can flow through the power lines to meet a nation’s supply-demand. And, the potential to add vast new quantities of solar energy generation capacity from the best resources are in the Southwest and South is impossible due to the lack of sufficient transmission capacity.
However, if the demand happens to be higher than what was expected, or solar generation exceeds demand more than expected, the power in your house could go out entirely. But if that demand ends up being lower, then the energy is wasted. This is why adding in solar power can make it even more complicated. Solar energy is fairly predictable, but it’s not dispatchable – which means that one day the energy will be too much or too little at any time of the day and we cannot modify the fuel level (e.g. sunlight) up or down based on demand. But if the power grid is strong enough, excess solar energy could be exported to distant cities and conversely improved from other regions such as wind farm areas after the sun goes down. Unless improvements to the grid are made, we cannot expect solar power to become the perfect alternative energy source to meet our everyday energy needs.
On a positive note, many innovators have already started addressing these issues and are making relentless efforts to diminish these challenges one at a time.
Troy Anthony Helming, an American clean energy advocate, investor, engineer, and solar entrepreneur, is the founder and CEO of a solar-based company called Pristine Sun Corporation. Helming is one of the few leading figures within the solar industry that have been working towards solving these solar power issues for many years now.
After spending over 30 years in the solar industry, he has noticed just how North Americans desperately require new transmission lines to fulfill the rapidly growing data centers’ needs and the industrial processes that require electrification. To bring forth a constructive solution, he established Pristine Sun Corporation’s predecessor in 2009, which focuses on building utility-scale, industrial, and commercial solar projects, and dozens of merchant, privately-owned new transmission lines, – that can have the ability to adjust to the United States power grid infrastructure- creating a future where we can thrive on endless, lower-cost clean energy.