Renewable Energy: Solar
For more information, contact Scott Bents at 515-725-0430 or email.
Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels made of solar cells collect energy from the sun which is converted into electricity. Photovoltaic systems can be installed on the top of homes, buildings or open fields. Current technology exists to install PV panels on small items such as a backpack.
Solar thermal collectors collect energy from the sun and convert it to heat air, water or heat-transfer fluids that can be used to heat water tanks. Energy produced from solar thermal collectors can also be stored and distributed throughout a building to heat a room or a floor.
Passive solar systems involve building design. In order to utilize the sun’s energy, buildings are designed to maximize the sun’s energy during cold months while minimizing the heat in the warmer months. Passive solar design can also be a great way to provide day lighting to a home or building.
Some examples of passive solar design include south facing windows and shades for summer heat. Guidelines for windows, materials and heat storage techniques have made solar passive systems more efficient.
Retrofitting a building to use passive solar heating can be costly; however, factoring in passive solar design in a new building can lower utility costs.
Solar Energy in Iowa
Solar energy is a small section of Iowa's renewable energy economy. However, Iowans have been generating electricity for their homes from the sun for decades.
Power Fund Projects for Solar Energy
|Development of Less Expensive Dye Sensitized Solar Cells
||University of Northern Iowa
||This project seeks to develop a cheaper solar cell based on dye sensitized solar cell technology. Less expensive dyes are expected to be developed and their solar efficiency will then be tested. Once studies are completed, the research will be incorporated into an economically feasible device for sale to the general public.
|Efficient, Low Cost, Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conversion
||Iowa State University
||This project seeks to increase the conversion efficiency of thin film solar cells while also keeping their manufacturing costs relatively low. The goal is to produce electric power directly from sunlight without any fossil fuel consumption. This project would allow solar energy to become more cost-competitive with other forms of energy and would help to spur economic development in the solar energy sector. ISU is working with PowerFilm, Inc. on this project.
Iowa Solar Resources
National Solar Resouces
Solar Energy Incentives
Solar Market Trends