23 Apr Solar energy presents opportunities for IT
For energy IT professionals, it's an exciting time. Not only are technological advances driving opportunities for innovation, but the public is also becoming increasingly enthusiastic about clean energy. Companies can leverage tools such as solar panels to improve their bottom lines and do their part to care for the environment.
According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), 100 percent of the new energy on the United States' power grid during March 2013 was attributable to solar energy. The agency measured generation for 11 total power sources, including coal, natural gas, wind and oil. The reading is reflective of an emerging pattern – between January and March, solar was the second greatest source of energy, producing 537 megawatts of new energy. Wind took the top spot at 958 megawatts.
This news is likely encouraging for organizations already investing in energy IT advancements. Engadget reported that IBM Research, along with other energy experts, is working on developing a low-cost solar collector dish that would harness the power of hundreds of photovoltaic chips. IBM said the technology will be capable of concentrating the power of 2,000 suns, as well as achieving an 80 percent efficiency rate and delivering necessities such as cool air and water in remote areas.
In a statement, Andrea Pedretti, CTO of Airlight Energy, one of the companies working with IBM, explained that the system will leverage low-cost materials to maximize affordability, but without compromising any potential benefits.
"The small high-tech components, in particular the microchannel coolers and the molds, can be manufactured in Switzerland with the remaining construction and assembly done in the region of the installation," she said. "This leads to a win-win situation where the system is cost competitive and jobs are created in both regions."
Thanks to IT advancements, clean technologies are changing the way the energy is delivered, resulting in stronger bottom lines for companies, lower costs for consumers and a healthier environment.