Sat, Dec 16, 2017
Text Size

Arizona Solar Center Blog

Commentary from Arizona Solar Center Board Members and invited contributors.

While blog entries are initiated by the Solar Center, we welcome dialogue around the posted topics. Your expertise and perspective are highly valued -- so if you haven't logged in and contributed, please do so!

Solar for Consumers - Electrical Generation - PV & Thermal Solar



Photovoltaics



How a PV Cell Works

 


Power Tower



Dish Stirling



Trough

Electrical Generation

The generation of electricity from solar energy can be achieved through two major technology alternatives. One uses the light from the sun to generate electricity directly, (photovoltaic technologies), and the other uses the heat from the sun to increase the temperature of a working fluid which-in turn can be used to generate electricity, (solar thermal technologies). Each of these major alternatives can, in turn, be subdivided into variants of the major technology. Photovoltaic technologies fall into crystalline, multi-crystalline, thin-film or concentrator variants while the solar thermal technologies fall into trough, power tower, dish engine and thermal electric variants.

Photovoltaics

Generally speaking, How a PV Cell Works use a semiconductor material that is exposed to sunlight. The energy of the incident light displaces electrons from their normal atomic orbits and an electrode grid structure on the surface of the semiconductor collects these electrons and makes them available for use in an external circuit. This is very similar to the way that the chemical reaction and the electrodes in a dry battery cell make electrons available for external use.

The terms crystalline, thin film and concentrator describe the manner in which the semi-conducting material is processed and optimized as a photovoltaic cell. Crystalline cells are fabricated from ingots of the semiconductor material, usually silicon, that are cut into relatively thin slices, processed to optimize the electron collection efficiency and laminated into a protective enclosure. Thin film cells are extremely thin layers of semi-conducting material that are evaporated onto a substrate, and concentrating cells use a plastic lens to concentrate sunlight from a large area onto a much smaller area of crystalline semi-conducting material. All types have their merits and problems and are described in detail in the referenced locations.

Download the Arizona Consumer's Guide - this booklet is designed to guide you through the process of buying a solar electric system.  NOTE: You will need Adobe's Acrobat Reader to open, view, and print this document.  Acrobat is freely available and can be downloaded from Adobe's Web site. Arizona Consumer's Guide (PDF Format)

Visit the National Geographic's web site and take the: PV Quiz


Solar Thermal

Both the trough and power tower solar thermal technologies use mirrors to concentrate the heat from the sun onto a vessel containing a heat transfer fluid. The fluid is then pumped into a steam generator where the heat is transferred to water turn it into steam. The steam can then be used to spin a conventional steam turbine connected to a generator to make electricity.

In the case of the trough, the mirror is a long parabola with a steel tube containing the heat transfer fluid running along the focal axis of the mirror. The axis of the mirror is usually aligned in a North-South direction and the mirror is rotated from East to West as the day progresses so that the energy from the sun is continually focused onto the steel tube. Rows of mirror/tube assemblies are used to form large multi-acre solar fields from which the heated transfer fluid is collected and used in the generation of steam.

The power tower system is a little different in that all of the transfer fluid heating is achieved in a heat receiver on the top of a tower located in the center of a field of computer controlled mirrors, or heliostats. Cold fluid is pumped up to the top of the tower, the heliostats focus the sun's energy onto the receiver and heat the fluid which is subsequently returned to the ground and used in a steam generator in the same way as the heat transfer fluid in the trough system.

Dish/engine systems are somewhat different in that the heat from the sun is used to heat a working fluid within a heat engine. The rotating shaft of the engine is connected to a generator, which produces electricity without the need to go through a steam generation process. The engine is located at the focal point of a parabolic dish mirror, which is made to track the sun across the sky throughout the day.


Good Resources:

508 Hits
0 Comments

Solar for Consumers

pv

Photovoltaics (PV)

  1. Electrical Generation Overview - PV and Solar Thermal
  2. Arizona Dept. of Commerce "Bright Ideas" Report on PV
  3. Residential PV (Solar Electric) Grid-tie Systems
  4. Residential PV (Solar Electric) Stand-alone Systems

Additional Documents & Links:

  1. SUV vs. PV - Is Solar Energy too Expensive?  You Do the Math!
    Home Power Magazine (PDF) - Aug/Sept 2002
  2. Generation X PV - NREL Report on next generation PV (PDF) - August 2004
  3. Recent Progress and Future Potential for Concentrating PV Power Systems (PDF)
    NREL Report - September 2004
  4. Operation and Maintenance Field Experience for Off-grid Residential PV Systems (PDF)
    Progress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications, Volume 2005; 13:67–74
  5. Springerville, Arizona Solar Array output - Real-time data from Tucson Electric Power (TEP)

Arizona Consumer's Guide to
Buying a Solar Electric System
(PDF Format)
This booklet is designed to guide you through the process of buying a solar electric system.

b-w


winter

Passive Solar Energy

1. Passive Solar Energy - The Starting Point
2. Passive Solar Heating and Cooling Design Manual


cook-90

Solar Cooking

1. What's cooking?  A Comprehensive Look at Solar Cooking
2. All About Solar Cookers


hot-water

Solar Hot Water

  1. A Comprehensive Look at Solar Hot Water | PDF Format
  2. Solar Hot Water: A PrimerPDF Format
    (used with permission from Home Power Magazine's Ken Olson)
  3. Solar 'Simplified' Hot Water - PDF Format
    (used with permission from  Home Power Magazine's John Patterson)
30815 Hits
0 Comments

Solar for Consumers

pv

Photovoltaics (PV)

  1. Electrical Generation Overview
  2. Arizona Dept. of Commerce "Bright Ideas" Report on PV
  3. Residential PV (Solar Electric) Grid-tie Systems
  4. Residential PV (Solar Electric) Stand-alone Systems

Additional Documents & Links:

  1. SUV vs. PV - Is Solar Energy too Expensive?  You Do the Math!
    Home Power Magazine (PDF) - Aug/Sept 2002
  2. Generation X PV - NREL Report on next generation PV (PDF) - August 2004
  3. Recent Progress and Future Potential for Concentrating PV Power Systems (PDF)
    NREL Report - September 2004
  4. Operation and Maintenance Field Experience for Off-grid Residential PV Systems (PDF)
    Progress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications, Volume 2005; 13:67–74
  5. Springerville, Arizona Solar Array output - Real-time data from Tucson Electric Power (TEP)

Arizona Consumer's Guide to
Buying a Solar Electric System
(PDF Format)
This booklet is designed to guide you through the process of buying a solar electric system.

b-w


winter

Passive Solar Energy

1. Passive Solar Energy - The Starting Point
2. Passive Solar Heating and Cooling Design Manual


cook-90

Solar Cooking

1. What's cooking?  A Comprehensive Look at Solar Cooking
2. All About Solar Cookers


hot-water

Solar Hot Water

  1. A Comprehensive Look at Solar Hot Water | PDF Format
  2. Solar Hot Water: A PrimerPDF Format
    (used with permission from Home Power Magazine's Ken Olson)
  3. Solar 'Simplified' Hot Water - PDF Format
    (used with permission from  Home Power Magazine's John Patterson)
520 Hits
0 Comments

Student Competitions

Developing interest in science, math and engineering among students is an important endeavor. Competitions like the ones below are excellent engineering activities to foster excitement in students of all ages about various ways to use photovoltaic cells.

Solar Car Races
  • Dell-Winston Solar Car Challenge - In 1993, the Winston Solar Car Team launched an education program to teach high school students how to build and safely race roadworthy solar cars. The Winston Solar Education Program met this objective, and works to provide...  More information on Dell-Winston Solar Car Challenge
  • American Solar Challenge (formerly called Sunrayce) - The largest U.S. competition for solar-powered vehicles, the American Solar Challenge is a competition to design, build, and drive solar-powered cars in a cross-country time/distance rally event. More information

 

Solar Decathlon

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.  More information on the Solar Decathlon

24310 Hits
0 Comments

Suggestions for Students and Teachers

The Arizona Solar Center website is a learning resource for students, consumers and professionals alike. For introductory and background educational material, we highly recommend the following content on our website:

Additional educational resources on this website include the following:


calendar Events Calendar

Our Events Calendar provides information on lectures, training courses, conferences and other educational events throughout the year. In-state, out-of-state and international events are included.

Downloadable Videos Downloadable Videos

Video titles: Pioneers of the Sun, Masters of the Sun, Plugging into the Sun, Cool Way to Hot Water, Utilities; for download or streaming...


Books Books

Our hand-picked selection of books (some with AzSC Board Member-written reviews) and a selection of relevant journals and articles...


race1

Student Competitions

Developing interest in science, math and engineering among students is important. Student competitions like the Dell-Winston Solar Car Challenge and the Solar Bike "Rayce" are excellent opportunities for studendts to take advantage of.
52551 Hits
0 Comments

Overview of Courses

The State of Arizona has many organizations that teach concepts and applications of solar energy usage. Our previous detailed list of courses is currently being updated. The following institutions have offered courses in the past. You may contact them directly for more information.
  • Arizona State University
  • Chandler-Gilbert Community College
  • Coconino Community College
  • Gentle Strength University
  • Northern Arizona University
  • Pima Community College
  • University of Arizona
  • Yavapai College
  • Other AZ Institutions
You may also want to contact the entities given on the University Initiatives page.

Other:

Arizona Science Center
(Information pending; Contact Charlotte Strompers or Aura McClain @ (602) 716-2000)

Arizona State Environmental Technology Training Center
(Information pending; Contact: Robert Flood @ (520) 206-7888)

DAWN Southwest Workshops in Tucson
Visit DAWN Southwest Website for workshop dates/topics.

Gateway Community College
Visit GateWay Community College Website for information.

Prescott College
(Information pending; Contact Patricia Olson, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Scottsdale Community College
Environmentally Responsible Building (BLT140).  More information here.

Solar Institute
Visit the Solar Institute's Website for class locations/times.

Solar on-Line Learning Center
Visit Solar on-Line's Website for class locations/times.

SolarAccess.com on-Line Courses
Visit Solar on-Line's Website for class locations/times.


IREC Schools Going Solar Program
Click here

38388 Hits
0 Comments

Arizona Solar Center Board

2014 Board Members

AzSC Officers

President:

Daniel Aiello

Treasurer:

William Kaszeta

Secretary:

Michael Neary

______ 

AzSC Board Members

Daniel Aiello
Principal
Janus2 Architects

2 year term

William Kaszeta
Principal
Photovoltaic Resources International

3 year term

Michael Neary
Principal
Desert Sun Solar

2 year term

Dr. Martin Pasqualetti
Global Institute of Sustainability
Arizona State University

3 year term

Renee Guillory
Renewable Energy Department
Arizona Public Service

1 year term

Eric Fitzer
Senior Energy Programs Manager
Governor's Office of Energy Policy

3 year term

15177 Hits
0 Comments

About the Arizona Solar Center

azsc-logoArizona Solar Center Mission

The mission of the Arizona Solar Center is to enhance the utilization of renewable energy, educate Arizona's residents on solar technology developments, support commerce and industry in the development of solar and other sustainable technologies and coordinate these efforts throughout the state of Arizona.

About the Arizona Solar Center

The Arizona Solar Center (AzSC) provides a broad-based understanding of solar energy, especially as it pertains to Arizona. Registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization, the Center is administered by a Board of Directors made up of individuals with wide experience and training in solar energy and other renewable energy resources. It is the goal of the Center to provide you with core information about solar energy in Arizona, to keep you up to date on what is happening in the Arizona solar energy community, steer you to published resources and equipment, and also to link you to solar energy sources outside the state as well. The AzSC is not intended to provide specific technical or financial analysis; for that, we encourage you to contact a licensed professional (see our Products & Services Directory). Overall, the mission of the AzSC is to enhance the utilization of solar and other renewable energy, educate Arizona's residents on solar technology developments, support commerce and industry in the development of solar and other sustainable technologies and coordinate these efforts throughout the State.

About the Arizona Solar Center Website

Our site contains introductory information, topic specific analysis, maps, reference material, professional links, news, events and more - there is a substantial amount of information about solar energy here! If you cannot find what you are looking for, please feel free to contact us with any questions. We also welcome suggestions for our Events Calendar and feedback on the website. Your message will be forwarded to one of the members of the Board of the Arizona Solar Center for response. Use the main navigation menu, the site map or the search function to explore the site.

 

37208 Hits
0 Comments

Lorem ipsum dolor

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Duis posuere, mauris commodo vehicula facilisis, eros magna laoreet ipsum, id sodales urna sapien sed est. Suspendisse ac velit quis nibh luctus ullamcorper. Mauris elementum, turpis eget placerat euismod, urna augue commodo ligula, a egestas risus diam ac sem. Proin ligula. Donec risus. Phasellus convallis diam et augue. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Etiam vel mi. Cras justo purus, volutpat in, dapibus nec, dignissim at, orci. Aliquam erat volutpat. Integer diam odio, tempor a, lacinia ac, cursus sed, ante. Phasellus leo nibh, tristique ac, eleifend at, placerat nec, sem.

Sed tortor elit, convallis vel, dapibus molestie, vehicula ut, elit. Vivamus quis enim sed lacus venenatis vulputate. Fusce pharetra neque vel urna. Ut lacinia lorem non velit. Sed lobortis aliquam velit. Donec turpis purus, pulvinar id, egestas id, faucibus a, ligula. Maecenas lorem. Cras eu urna. Nullam ac sem sed nisl pellentesque cursus. Nulla lorem nibh, molestie vel, facilisis dapibus, convallis vitae, felis. Quisque eros. Mauris nec ligula nec dolor aliquam feugiat. Proin placerat vulputate metus. Ut vestibulum enim sit amet nunc. In ultricies semper ante. Ut gravida. Nunc a nulla sed tellus laoreet luctus. Nullam sed lorem. Mauris diam libero, faucibus vitae, semper eu, dictum a, lorem. Vivamus rhoncus urna in magna.

6056 Hits
0 Comments

Lorem ipsum dolor 2

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Duis posuere, mauris commodo vehicula facilisis, eros magna laoreet ipsum, id sodales urna sapien sed est. Suspendisse ac velit quis nibh luctus ullamcorper. Mauris elementum, turpis eget placerat euismod, urna augue commodo ligula, a egestas risus diam ac sem. Proin ligula. Donec risus. Phasellus convallis diam et augue. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Etiam vel mi. Cras justo purus, volutpat in, dapibus nec, dignissim at, orci. Aliquam erat volutpat. Integer diam odio, tempor a, lacinia ac, cursus sed, ante. Phasellus leo nibh, tristique ac, eleifend at, placerat nec, sem.

Sed tortor elit, convallis vel, dapibus molestie, vehicula ut, elit. Vivamus quis enim sed lacus venenatis vulputate. Fusce pharetra neque vel urna. Ut lacinia lorem non velit. Sed lobortis aliquam velit. Donec turpis purus, pulvinar id, egestas id, faucibus a, ligula. Maecenas lorem. Cras eu urna. Nullam ac sem sed nisl pellentesque cursus. Nulla lorem nibh, molestie vel, facilisis dapibus, convallis vitae, felis. Quisque eros. Mauris nec ligula nec dolor aliquam feugiat. Proin placerat vulputate metus. Ut vestibulum enim sit amet nunc. In ultricies semper ante. Ut gravida. Nunc a nulla sed tellus laoreet luctus. Nullam sed lorem. Mauris diam libero, faucibus vitae, semper eu, dictum a, lorem. Vivamus rhoncus urna in magna.

7653 Hits
0 Comments

Lorem ipsum dolor 3

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Duis posuere, mauris commodo vehicula facilisis, eros magna laoreet ipsum, id sodales urna sapien sed est. Suspendisse ac velit quis nibh luctus ullamcorper. Mauris elementum, turpis eget placerat euismod, urna augue commodo ligula, a egestas risus diam ac sem. Proin ligula. Donec risus. Phasellus convallis diam et augue. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Etiam vel mi. Cras justo purus, volutpat in, dapibus nec, dignissim at, orci. Aliquam erat volutpat. Integer diam odio, tempor a, lacinia ac, cursus sed, ante. Phasellus leo nibh, tristique ac, eleifend at, placerat nec, sem.

Sed tortor elit, convallis vel, dapibus molestie, vehicula ut, elit. Vivamus quis enim sed lacus venenatis vulputate. Fusce pharetra neque vel urna. Ut lacinia lorem non velit. Sed lobortis aliquam velit. Donec turpis purus, pulvinar id, egestas id, faucibus a, ligula. Maecenas lorem. Cras eu urna. Nullam ac sem sed nisl pellentesque cursus. Nulla lorem nibh, molestie vel, facilisis dapibus, convallis vitae, felis. Quisque eros. Mauris nec ligula nec dolor aliquam feugiat. Proin placerat vulputate metus. Ut vestibulum enim sit amet nunc. In ultricies semper ante. Ut gravida. Nunc a nulla sed tellus laoreet luctus. Nullam sed lorem. Mauris diam libero, faucibus vitae, semper eu, dictum a, lorem. Vivamus rhoncus urna in magna.

7030 Hits
0 Comments

Renewable Energy: An Overview

earth-nb-big
tracker1
windmill
Renewable energy is the term used to describe energy that comes from sources whose supplies are regenerative and virtually inexhaustible. Among these sources are sunshine, wind, water, vegetation, and the heat of the earth.

Throughout history, these sources have been successfully harnessed and used to provide energy. Almost 2,500 years ago, the Greeks designed their homes to use winter sunlight for heating. Large, south-facing windows were used to collect solar heat, which was stored in massive walls and floors for gradual release throughout the night. The wind has also been used as an energy source for centuries. Some of its early uses include propelling ships and pumping water.

Today's technological advancements have developed more efficient means of harnessing and using renewable energy sources, and these sources are gaining increasing popularity. They offer us alternatives to nonrenewable energy sources such as oil, coal and natural gas which, when burned can cause acid rain and contribute to the overall warming of the Earth known as the "Greenhouse Effect." Existing renewable energy installations are making significant contributions to the US energy supply, and research activities are demonstrating the far-reaching impact that a greater reliance on renewable energy sources could have on our country's energy security. In addition, on-going and planned research offers still more possibilities.

94418 Hits
0 Comments

Renewable Energy: An Overview - Water

Humans have long sought to control power as well as energy. For those that lived near lakes and streams, the advantages of transport by flotation must have been perceived early.

Before and during the Middle Ages, the geared water mill spread from Rome throughout western Europe. The watermill was used to grind grain, saw wood and marble, and for turning grindstones. The scarcity of slaves and the value of draft animals for other uses may have accelerated its acceptance. These watermills formed the power base for civilization prior to the Industrial Revolution.

But the power produced by these mills could not be transported - it had to be used at the mill site. Not until electricity could be generated practically from falling water could this barrier to water power be broken, and by then most of the industrial world had converted to steam power.

Still, the world's first hydroelectric power plant built at Godalming, England, in 1881 signaled a new era in power and energy. This renewable technology quickly took hold and spread throughout the world. Hydroelectric power was scarcely 20 years old when Arizona began to look to it as a means to turn the desert into an oasis.

More on hydropower here.

27649 Hits
0 Comments

Renewable Energy: An Overview - Biomass

vegetation
Biomass can be a significant energy resource when used as fuel. Biomass is plant materials or animal waste used as a source of fuel. In a sense, biomass is really another form of solar energy. Plants store energy derived from the sun and convert it into chemical energy through photosynthesis. Waste plant and animal materials still contain energy, which can be captured through "bioconversions."

The most important issue facing the goal of extensive biomass production in Arizona is the availability of land and water for such purposes. While land availability does not appear to be a problem in this state, water availability is.

More on bioenergy here.

28540 Hits
0 Comments

Renewable Energy: An Overview - Geothermal

When the planet was first formed, it was a fiery ball of liquid and gas. As it cooled, an outer crust formed over the hot mass. This crust is the surface of the earth where man dwells. Geothermal energy is nearly as old as the Earth itself. It comes from heat being trapped in hot melted rock, called magma or lava, below the Earth's surface. When this heat energy is tapped, it is a tremendous source of power.

Geothermal energy is a renewable resource; about 95 percent of the hot water in geothermal reservoirs began as cool rainwater. When rainwater seeps through cracks in the Earth's crust, it is heated by magma and turns to steam. The steam rises to the atmosphere, cools, turns back to liquid, falls back to earth as rain and eventually seeps back through cracks to be turned back into steam.

Arizona has an abundance of low-temperature geothermal areas, or hot springs, in the southeastern part of the state. Although the majority of these areas are not suitable for generating electricity, they do have potential for heating and cooling greenhouses, nurseries and fish farms.

The two highest temperature springs in the state are Clifton and Gillard, both in the Clifton-Morenci area of southeastern Arizona. The water temperature at these springs ranges from 158-180 degrees Fahrenheit. Even though temperatures may exceed 284 degrees Fahrenheit at depth, these two sites are only suitable for low grad steam. Neither of these areas has been developed.

More on geothermal energy here.

27658 Hits
0 Comments

Renewable Energy: An Overview - Solar Architecture in Ancient Greece

According to Socrates, the ideal home should be cool in summer and warm in winter. But Socrates' ideal was not easy to accomplish 2,500 years ago in ancient Greece. The Greeks had no artificial means of cooling their homes during the scorching summers; nor were their heating systems, mostly portable charcoal-burning braziers, adequate to keep them warm in winter.

Modern excavations of many Classical Greek cities show that solar architecture flourished throughout the area. Individual homes were oriented toward the southern horizon, and entire cities were planned to allow their citizens equal access to the winter sun. A solar-oriented home allowed its inhabitants to depend less on charcoal - conserving fuel and saving money.

28404 Hits
0 Comments

Renewable Energy: An Overview - The Greenhouse Effect

Ninety-three million miles away, the sun blazes energy toward Earth. When this energy reaches Earth, the energy transmitted in short wave-lengths (visible light, ultraviolet, etc.) penetrates our atmosphere and strikes the Earth's surface. Energy in long wavelengths (such as infrared, thermal radiation or heat) is absorbed by carbon dioxide and other gases in the atmosphere. When penetrating short wavelengths strike Earth, they are converted into long wavelengths (in the form of heat radiation) and reflected back toward space. Some thermal radiation escapes, but most of it remains trapped inside our atmosphere. These long waves build up and keep Earth warm. This phenomenon, known as the greenhouse effect, enables life to flourish on Earth. Its future effects are also the subject of much discussion.

greenhouse

31326 Hits
0 Comments

Renewable Energy: An Overview

earth-nb-big
tracker1
windmill
Renewable energy is the term used to describe energy that comes from sources whose supplies are regenerative and virtually inexhaustible. Among these sources are sunshine, wind, water, vegetation, and the heat of the earth.

Throughout history, these sources have been successfully harnessed and used to provide energy. Almost 2,500 years ago, the Greeks designed their homes to use winter sunlight for heating. Large, south-facing windows were used to collect solar heat, which was stored in massive walls and floors for gradual release throughout the night. The wind has also been used as an energy source for centuries. Some of its early uses include propelling ships and pumping water.

Today's technological advancements have developed more efficient means of harnessing and using renewable energy sources, and these sources are gaining increasing popularity. They offer us alternatives to nonrenewable energy sources such as oil, coal and natural gas which, when burned can cause acid rain and contribute to the overall warming of the Earth known as the "Greenhouse Effect." Existing renewable energy installations are making significant contributions to the US energy supply, and research activities are demonstrating the far-reaching impact that a greater reliance on renewable energy sources could have on our country's energy security. In addition, on-going and planned research offers still more possibilities.

846 Hits
0 Comments

Renewable Energy: An Overview - Biomass

vegetation
Biomass can be a significant energy resource when used as fuel. Biomass is plant materials or animal waste used as a source of fuel. In a sense, biomass is really another form of solar energy. Plants store energy derived from the sun and convert it into chemical energy through photosynthesis. Waste plant and animal materials still contain energy, which can be captured through "bioconversions."

The most important issue facing the goal of extensive biomass production in Arizona is the availability of land and water for such purposes. While land availability does not appear to be a problem in this state, water availability is.

More on bioenergy here.

918 Hits
0 Comments

Renewable Energy: An Overview - Geothermal

When the planet was first formed, it was a fiery ball of liquid and gas. As it cooled, an outer crust formed over the hot mass. This crust is the surface of the earth where man dwells. Geothermal energy is nearly as old as the Earth itself. It comes from heat being trapped in hot melted rock, called magma or lava, below the Earth's surface. When this heat energy is tapped, it is a tremendous source of power.

Geothermal energy is a renewable resource; about 95 percent of the hot water in geothermal reservoirs began as cool rainwater. When rainwater seeps through cracks in the Earth's crust, it is heated by magma and turns to steam. The steam rises to the atmosphere, cools, turns back to liquid, falls back to earth as rain and eventually seeps back through cracks to be turned back into steam.

Arizona has an abundance of low-temperature geothermal areas, or hot springs, in the southeastern part of the state. Although the majority of these areas are not suitable for generating electricity, they do have potential for heating and cooling greenhouses, nurseries and fish farms.

The two highest temperature springs in the state are Clifton and Gillard, both in the Clifton-Morenci area of southeastern Arizona. The water temperature at these springs ranges from 158-180 degrees Fahrenheit. Even though temperatures may exceed 284 degrees Fahrenheit at depth, these two sites are only suitable for low grad steam. Neither of these areas has been developed.

More on geothermal energy here.

869 Hits
0 Comments