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Σχετικά με τα φωτοβολταικά

Με τον γενικό όρο Φωτοβολταϊκά ονομάζεται η βιομηχανική διάταξη πολλών φωτοβολταϊκών κυττάρων σε μία σειρά. Στην ουσία πρόκειται για τεχνητούς ημιαγωγούς (συνήθως από Πυρίτιο) οι οποίοι ενώνονται με σκοπό να δημιουργήσουν ένα ηλεκτρικό κύκλωμα σε σειρά. Οι ημιαγωγοί αυτοί απορροφούν φωτόνια από την ηλιακή ακτινοβολία και παράγουν μια Ηλεκτρική τάση. Αυτή η διαδικασία ονομάζεται"Φωτοβολταϊκό φαινόμενο".

Τα φωτοβολταϊκά ανήκουν στη κατηγορία των Ανανεώσιμων Πηγών Ενέργειας (ΑΠΕ). Στην κατηγορία των ανανεώσιμων ηλιακών πηγών ενέργειας, τα ηλιοθερμικά συστήματα είναι πιο αποδοτικά από τα φωτοβολταϊκά[1][2].

 

 

 
 
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Renewable Energy and Chilean Mines: A Market Overview , νέα, ειδήσεις

Renewable Energy and Chilean Mines: A Market Overview

Δημοφιλέστεροι Όροι:
For a relatively new and untested renewable-energy market, Chile has a remarkable number of strengths. The country has incredibly attractive solar resources, according to Joel Link, vice president of development and global head of mining development for SolarReserve. “The Atacama Desert, in northern Chile, has arguably the world’s strongest solar resource,” he says, noting that this area also happens to be home to the lion’s share of the country’s mining activities. In addition, parts of the country are extremely appealing to wind farm developers. Dominic Duffy, chief operating officer for Mandalay Resources Corp., which runs the Cerro Bayo silver and gold mine in Patagonia, says that in this part of Chile, “the choice is very easy. The wind never stops, and it’s a very strong wind.”  Duffy points out that Chilean mines face a clear challenge: The country is running short on energy. “One of the directions that the country has to go,” he says, “is using renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar energy. You see more renewable companies coming to agreements with operating mines.”  Large renewable-energy projects for major mining companies, including Pattern’s projects with Antofagasta and SunEdison’s with CAP, are demonstrating that alternative energy can be a very viable option. And renewable energy advocates — perhaps for the first time in history — are now able to boast that solar and wind might be able to deliver cost savings. “Mines are interested in having lower operation and maintenance costs and decreasing the costs related to energy,” says Daniel Rosende, managing director of SMA South America SpA (SMA Solar Technology AG subsidiary in Chile). “As an option, to generate energy with solar today is cheaper in Chile than conventional sources (i.e., diesel, gas, coal).” Yet for all this promise, the renewables market is only now gaining a foothold in Chile — and there are obstacles ahead. Mines struggle to sign contracts with solar and wind developers when the mine life is only a few years, and getting PPAs finalized continues to pose a challenge.  Understanding the Market Typically, mines compare renewable energy costs to conventional, fossil-fuel-based generation, either natural gas from LNG regasification or coal-fired plants, explains SolarReserve’s Link. With a wealth of energy choices, “price” usually tops a mine operator’s wish list. “Price is very important. As commodity prices are depressed recently, it puts more margin pressure on mines to be profitable,” he says. “Energy can be anywhere from 15-40 percent of the operating budget for a mine,” Link continues, “so many mines are looking closely at the energy expense.” He points out that Chile does not enjoy a superabundance of indigenous fossil resources and imports most of the coal and natural gas used. According to the law of supply and demand, the need to import conventional energy drives up prices. He draws a contrast to Peru and Argentina, which he describes as “gas-rich countries,” and notes that solar can often compete on price with fossil fuels in Chile. In 2012, Collahuasi, which operates on the electricity grid, put out a power tender and eventually signed a PPA contract with SolarPack, which now provides around 13 percent of electricity demand. In total, Collahuasi’s solar energy consumption totals 60 gigawatt-hours per year, says Verónica Cortez Silva, superintendent of strategic supplies and services, energy, at Collahuasi. “With the power tender, we wanted to know more about the market for renewables,” says Cortez Silva. “At that time, we only knew about the high prices that renewables had. The only way to test the market was through a tender.” She continues: “It was the first power tender only for renewables in Chilean mining companies.” Cortez Silva points out that price is absolutely key to the success of renewable developers as they make their pitches to Chilean mining companies. “If [developers] have good and fair prices, they could increase their share in this market,” she says. “We know that development costs have decreased over the past five years, so we want to see it.” Rosende underscores that economic factors, ranging from the price of commodities to that of energy, also affect the mining market. For mining companies, commodity prices, which may fluctuate wildly, can influence how much capital is available for investment. The price of various forms of energy is another key factor in decision-making. Finally, Link points out that a sense of corporate social responsibility is increasingly a factor in decisions at Chilean mines. “Many mining companies view renewable energy as a way to do something good for the environment because they’re extractive and altering the landscape.” An Eye on New Technologies Mines are not always acquainted with all the applications for renewable energy. César Belaúnde, general manager at Enermine, points out that his company uses solar energy not for generating electricity but for generating heat that’s necessary for some critical mining processes. “There’s a lot of interest,” says Belaúnde, noting that generating heat through solar energy can help mines reduce costs. Intermittency from renewable-energy sources continues to be a sticking point for mining companies. Collahuasi’s Cortez Silva points out that mining companies can only invest in a limited percentage of energy that’s tied to the sun shining or the wind blowing. “Today, SolarPack supplies around 25 megawatts in the peak hours, the hours with sun, but we don’t have more space to add other contracts” with the same characteristics because the mine operates around the clock Many experts believe that improvements within storage technology are helping alleviate the intermittency problem. At SolarReserve, for instance, the company has a baseload offering. “A mine does not stop running at night, and so it needs a constant, firm source of power — on demand,” says Link.

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