Solar energy involves tapping the energy of the sun to produce heat, usually hot water, or electricity, either via photovoltaic devices or generators powered by solar collection systems. There are three main ways that we can use solar energy, through photoelectric cells, solar water heating and solar furnaces. This technology can be used by industry and in personal homes to fill energy needs.
The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the European Climate Forum, are exploring the option to develop concentrated solar power in North Africa to supply renewable energy to Europe. The European Union needs to meet its renewable energy requirements under the European Renewable Energy Directive.
Concentrated solar power (CSP) uses mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight onto receivers creating very high temperatures. The thermal energy created is used to produce a storable form of electricity. The deserts of North Africa and CSP together represent an affordable option for European countries to meet their 20% renewable energy targets of by 2020. This approach will increase Europeís energy import dependency, andrelies on an extensive transmission system.
CSP has been underused since its development in the late 1980ís because it is most efficient in deserts. However, renewable energy mandates has increased interest as it can be developed on a large enough scale to provide a non intermittent energy source.View December 2009 IIASA Report Summary
View Febuary 2010 The Ecologist Press Release
Manitoba Hydro has partnered with Natural Resources Canada to offer a $1,200 rebate to homeowners who purchase and install a solar water heating system. An additional $1,250 rebate is available through the Manitoba ecoENERGY In-Home Energy Evaluation program.