How does the conversion efficiency of photovoltaic solar solutions compare with concentrated solar solutions?

Conversion efficiency of photovoltaic solar panels is communicated to be within the range of 16 and 21%.  In addition to this is a need to convert electricity from DC to AC;  the conversion efficiency of making this change is 98%. 

By comparison, concentrated solar solutions have been observed to have conversion efficiencies ranging from 24% to 32%, and do not have a DC to AC conversion requirement.


Is there an observed deterioration over time of photovoltaic solar solutions?  By comparison, is there an observed    deterioration over time of concentrated solar solutions?

Photovoltaic solar panel manufacturers need to contend with the issue of solar power degradation over time, and as a result statements are made in their drafted warranty communicating the extent of allowable degradation.  An example of a communicated degradation by a panel manufacturer would be;  a 2.5% degradation limit in year 1, 0.5% in subsequent years, 85% limit in year 25, 80% degradation limit in year 30. 

In regards to concentrated solar solutions, mirrors are utilized instead of photovoltaic solar panels; degradation limitations do not play a significant role in this case.


How does the conversion efficiency of horizontal axis wind turbine solutions compare with vertical axis wind turbine solutions?  Is there a significant impact on efficiency of grouping multiple windmills together in an industrial installation?

As a stand-alone unit, the graph below indicates the horizontal axis wind turbines such as the commonly seen three-bladed rotor has efficiency levels that can approach 48%.  By comparison, vertical axis wind turbines of the darrius rotor type have efficiencies in the 40% range. 

When you begin to group horizontal wind turbines together as is seen in large scale industrial installations, their performance begins to deteriorate when clustered closer than 10 blade diameters between each other. 

Vertical axis wind turbines perform with considerably less deterioration in cluster situations.  In certain situations, when clockwise rotating vertical axis turbines are combined with counter clockwise rotating wind turbines, their performance can actually be enhanced.

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How does the capacity utilization factor of various alternative generation technologies stack up to each other?

As the graph below indicates, the nuclear electricity generation industry has operated with capacity utilization rates of 65 to 85%. 

In contrast, hydro-electricity has operated with capacity utilization rates of 42 to 46%. 

Wind and solar has typically operated with lower capacity utilization rates, typically around 20% for the past two decades. 

Wind and solar electricity generation has been a major source of renewables growth in the past decade, however their variability has been a major source of implementation stress. 

Any improvements which could be made in increasing capacity utilization rates, such as through the  innovative combining of the technologies, would be a positive beneficial trend.