As the race to find alternative energy sources heats up, a team of IBM scientists have invented a new High Concentration Photo Voltaic Thermal (HCPVT) system that has enabled them to concentrate the power of 2,000 suns. And they could easily raise it up to as much as 5,000 suns in time to come.
What it means that a single solar energy panel of IBM's invention could capture as much energy as a normal solar panel would in the presence of thousands of suns.
While it is promising to see that big tech giants are investing both time and money in the search of alternative energy sources, it should be kept in mind that the existing solar energy systems have problems of their own, some of which we have highlighted down below:
Threat to Wildlife
When the World's largest solar energy plant became functional earlier this month in California's Mojave Desert, it was considered a major achievement in urban human life, as the plant can potentially power a small city. But the wildlife supporters weren't too happy about it. Apparently, the massive heat that is generated during the power generation process makes the surrounding air space a death trap for birds, dozens of whom flew into the plant zone and got fried. Well, at least their death came for a great human cause.
Since it's the Sun's heat that is effectively harnessed here, what would happen if it's not daytime? Also, when it's not that sunny, especially in winter, the solar panel, which are super expensive by the way (more on that later), become useless.
Solar energy panels, plants and power stations are far more expensive than their conventional predecessors. Prices are improving, but will they ever come down to the level where their adoption at a mass scale becomes practical? At the moment, it doesn't seem so.
Also, as the way things stand, it is up to eleven times more expensive to create electricity from solar energy than it is from coal, hydro or nuclear sources. No wonder why it remains a commercial flop.
Low Efficiency Rate
Most Solar plants have an average efficiency of just 15-23 per cent, and while IBM's HCPVT promises a lot more than that, the products that are commercially available right now, don't really appeal to general public to make a switch.