Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Apr 20

Ontario Solar Power could match US Nuclear Power

Posted in Energy Industry | Future Technology | Solar Power

Ontario Solar Power Queen’s University Applied Sustainability Research Group located in Kingston, Canada comes out with two studies that claim solar power in southeastern Ontario can be created in abundance. The natural question is how much abundance? The answer is mind-boggling. Southeastern Ontario has the potential to produce almost as much power as all the nuclear reactors in the United States! Queen’s mechanical engineering professor Joshua Pearce is the first person to find out the astounding possibilities of the region’s solar energy potential. He says, “The number is enormous. Solar can no longer be laughed off as something that can only power your cottage.”

Professor Pearce was surprised by how many gigawatts could be produced.

The researchers from the university in Kingston, Ontario is of the view if they can mount solar panels on the rooftops and on those areas that are economically unproductive they can produce enormous amount of solar power. They have already marked 365,000 hectares of land in southeastern Ontario suitable for solar farms. That amounts to about 7.6 per cent of the 48,000-square-kilometre wedge of land between Toronto, Ottawa and the Quebec-Ontario border.

So many gigawatts of solar power can be produced but Prof Pearce still claims, “We came up with enormous numbers and we were being conservative. There are about 95 gigawatts of potential power just in southeastern Ontario — that shows there is massive potential.” It is needless to say that Professor Pearce specializes in solar photovoltaic materials and applied sustainability.

According to one study, if some of the roof tops in southeastern Ontario were covered with solar panels, they could generate five gigawatts, or about five per cent of all of Ontario’s energy. The study paid attention to the shading and orientation of the roofs. This study will be published in the journal Computers, Environment and Urban Systems.

Professor Pearce further pushes his point, “To put this in perspective, all the coal plants in all of Ontario produce just over six gigawatts. The sun doesn’t always shine, so if you couple solar power with other renewable energy sources such as wind, hydro and biomass, southeastern Ontario could easily cover its own energy needs.”

Canada is a vast country and has plenty of land. If that land can be utilized for generating solar power, it can produce substantial amount of clean and green energy. This second study will appear in May issue of the journal Solar Energy. It studied the barren, rocky, non-farmable areas near electrical grids and arrived at a conclusion that it has the potential to produce 90 gigawatts.

Professor Pearce claims, “Nuclear power for all of the United States is about 100 gigawatts. We can produce 90 on barren land with just solar in this tiny region, so we are not talking about small potatoes.”

The researchers identified 25 million square metres of shade-free, south-facing roofs in southeastern Ontario suitable for solar panels. They say if high-efficiency panels were installed on all the roofs, they could provide 24 per cent of current peak Ontario power demand, and 157 per cent of peak demand in southeastern Ontario.

Professor Pearce is preparing the ground for solar power. He comes out with real facts for the policy makers of the country. He is also on the look out for the possible solar farm locations for developers.

The government is creating conducive environment for the clean and green energy. Ontario’s new Green Energy Act offers feed-in tariffs, or FITs incentive. This FITs has generated “an enormous stampede” by solar companies to set up shop in Ontario. Prof Pearce says, “It’s opened up the market.” Pearce said, if one or two known solar power manufacturers set up their plants in Canada, more will be tempted to do the same and it will lead to generating thousands of manufacturing jobs. “They’ll cluster together like the semi-conductor manufacturers in California, and we’ll be in great shape.”

  • greenorbz

    I think Ontario has great potential and is surely on its way to becoming a hub for solar power.

    “In 2007 the Ontario Power Authority signed 145 contracts for the future construction of more than 250 megawatts (MW) of solar power systems, far more than the agency initially projected. Each megawatt can power about 350 homes.”

    Ontario’s “standard offer” program, which pays small power producers a set price for solar energy far above market rates, is similar to the incentive program that turned Germany into the world’s biggest producer of energy from the sun.

  • joelsk44039

    Only problem is that solar power isn’t “baseload.” It can only be produced when there is enough sunlight, and, obviously, not at night. What of days when the sun doesn’t shine? What of long winter nights? What of slow oxidation of the silicon glass overlay that reduces solar efficiency over time?

    And lastly, who pays the “…set price for solar energy far above market rates…?” Answer: the end user.

    Solar isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be!!

  • Mike Maybury

    Locally generated energy is the ideal, and should be encouraged and demanded from everyone who wants to see a greener world.

  • Jim Jonas

    The United States of America needs a scolding on procrastination for we can do our own Energy Solar power fuel cells. Let us congratulate Canada and get to work U.S.

  • amoline

    The cost of solar continuous to decline as more and more companies are getting in on the race. This presents two things from the viewpoint of the consumer: one that a competitive market can decrease installation costs; and two that the boom in the market can mean more jobs. The renewable energy boom has HUGE economic potential. The United States would be wise to aggressively pursue and streamline the measures to change the way this country uses it’s own domestic resources.

  • Evelyn Schuler

    So glad to hear that Solar Power is about to come on board, to save us all. Fossil Fuels are producing so much Toxin, from their by-products {plastic etc.} that soon all our males will be females. Lets get rid of Fossil Fuels and all their chemicals and pollution, as soon as possible.

  • Phil

    At some stage the civil authorities have to decide if they are better off waiting for new solar technology to arrive or go with what is available right now.

    If you have been following the articles on this site you will know that there are a lot of solutions which are on the drawing board which could revolutionize the economics of solar power. So if you were to invest today you could be making a big mistake. With wind power the transformation is much less risky unless someone were to build a better windmill.

    Building such a high reliance on solar is risky, if for some reason the sun were obscured by increased cloud cover or volcanic activity standby capacity would have to be built and maintained to take up the slack.

    I do think solar should play a much larger part and if individuals want to put efficient new up and coming solar solutions on their roofs and properties they should be able to do so.

  • styke

    “civil authorities” can decide what they want, of course, but they won’t agree, and the whole thing will muddle along with a bunch of half-baked projects which end up showing that civil authorities don’t know how to run power stations.

    But people can put solar on their roof whenever they want to.

  • Jacqui Cooper

    I love the idea of solar power but I’d really love to see a decent solar powered car, not some strange design the the general public won’t touch but something that looks like a car and drives like a car.

    Maybe these guys can come up with something because until a car is made that looks just like any other car the general public won’t buy and surely that’s what we need?

  • gary bannister

    Civil authorities should get on board Now AND Later with even more and cheaper solar paraphernalia. All the fossil energy shills like to cast doubt and fear, when there is no problems that even come close to our fossil fuel eventualities. OOOoooh! No sun at night! So get some windmills, some thermal wind towers and some thermovoltaics. Even 80% of your electricity from wind and solar is better than waiting another 3 decades for OIL WAR dividends.

  • Richard Fletcher

    I agree that is a problem, so unless individuals buy batteries for storage of the solar energy, here it would likely be forced to depend on nuclear power as that baseload source of power. But, cheer up, TerraPower has an idea of using depleted uranium as a source of energy in a new reactor. TerraPower is a spinoff of the Intelligent Ventures Lab.

  • styke

    Reading many of the comments, I see a common thread about solar only during the day. With adequate energy storage, this is not a problem. Maybe this site needs a new section on energy storage news. I would like to read about progress in that area.

  • Doug

    Ontario is a poor choice for Solar Power projects, as they receive very small amounts of solar energy on an annual basis. This is also true for Germany, that has the largest installed base of Solar Power generating facilities. These types of Northern Solar Power projects in areas of heavy cloud cover are the result of wishful thinking, instead of a reasoned scientific approach. The best places in North America are in the desert southwest, the Southeast and Mexico. The best places in Europe are in Spain, Portugal and Italy. Use of maps showing Annual Solar Radiation would prevent these ill advised investments.

  • Jim Van Damme

    Yeah. but it’s not cost effective. So what??

  • ryan

    I think solar power should only really be used for individual use. So much power is lost in the grid (over half) that it is more practical. Secondly when you are gone at day using no energy the electricity made from your panels can be thrown into the grid and bought by the electric companies. Then at night when your home using electricity you take energy out of the grid and you pay the electric company. Peak hours of electricity usage are during the day anyways. This will help electric companies deal with such high fluctuation on energy demand.

  • Solar Man

    So much time, so much nonsense. Solar is by FAR, the most expensive way to make energy and yet, the “greenies” are pushing it as a solution. What will happen to all the people who can’t afford the rising rates? Are we going to let old people die because they can’t afford their air conditioner costs?

    Basically, greenies don’t care about anyone but their agenda.

  • Brad

    Hey Solar Man – Are you kidding??? Why the name Solar Man? Solar is the cheapest way to produce electricity we have. Aside from the initial purchase of equipment it demands almost no other expense. Minimal maintenance, security, no shipping, no storage – individuals or companies can produce it. As it becomes even cheaper to buy solar panels and reflectors many people could convert part or all of their energy needs to their own solar based power plant to run DC appliances. No war, no pollution, no trade deficit, no taxes, no executive bonuses and corporate chicanery, etc.

  • Jim Lindsey

    Several “know it alls” should dig much deeper in analyzing actual costs.

    California Solar Center recently stated, “In the United States alone, solar swimming pools have produced the energy output equivalent to running ten nuclear plants.”

    Can “Solar Man”or anyone else totally evaluated all the expenses that are involved in nuclear energy? I have no idea what it costs to store the nuclear waste for hundreds of years. Does anyone, or does it matter that future generations will absorb yet another cost from our foolishness?

    I have a vague idea of the price to build a nuclear plant but feel sure the price of nuclear fuel is not cheap and know it will increase.

    Most everything comes down to dollars and cents but doesn’t independence from power brokers, safty from human error, or terrorists attacks play any part?

    I believe 15 to 20,000 solar water heaters would replace one nuclear plant. I love PV but let’s not forget the tried and true thermal energy, with it’s built in storage.

    Jim Lindsey–Solar Pioneer

  • Razerbros

    Its a very brilliant idea, and if their calculations are correct, it will pay itself back very quickly. Plus it gets the full use out of barren land. Makes me wonder why this idea hasn’t been jumped on yet?

  • Jman

    You are incorrect. Only 6% of all electricity is lost through transmission and distribution. Its transmitted at a high voltage and then transformed to a lower voltage for distribution. Then Transformed again to your house hold voltage.

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