STORING SUN’S ENERGY
TWO major issues associated with solar energy are storage and transport. Intermittency remains the fundamental road block for the wider uptake of both solar and wind power — and Australia’s CSIRO is in the international forefront of research to resolve both problems. In one project, the CSIRO is developing technology to combine solar energy with natural gas. This will create a product containing 25 per cent solar energy which can be stored and transported. In another, the CSIRO is developing small- scale solar thermal systems suitable for contributing to the heating, cooling and electricity loads of buildings such as shopping centres.
The government research agency is also developing a battery- based storage solution for solar and wind power. When connected to solar photovoltaic systems, the battery will enable the energy generated to be consumed when needed. ■ THE magic number for the solar industry is 1366. This is the average number of watts per square metre of solar energy reaching the Earth every hour. It is, solar advocates say, enough to satisfy energy demands of all humanity for a year.