Solar Energy Engineering
Solar energy is expected to fuel 50 percent of renewable energy growth in the next five years according to International Energy Agency. Emerging technology has accounted for greater confidence, and solar engineering has helped develop alternative energy options and push away from fossil fuels.
With this growing industry, comes an enhanced feeling of sustainability. And with that confidence and enthusiasm, an increasing amount of this technology is being installed every day, all over the world. And why not? It’s more affordable, it increases efficiency, and the environmental concern is low. But, when these systems fail to work or become damaged, it takes an expert knowledgeable in their design and operation to properly assess the cause of the failure. Envista has those experts.
Forensic energy engineers who specialize in renewable energy and solar array losses are typically electrical or mechanical by degree. They have an understanding of the energy system as a whole, specific knowledge of its construction, operation and maintenance, as well as the energy supply marketplace.
Photovoltaic (PV) modules, to put it simply, convert sunlight into electricity. It’s the process of converting light to voltage, also known as the PV effect. These systems can be used to power cars, houses, commercial buildings or even supplement power grids. To help visually understand how large these arrays can be, from a commercial standpoint, for a utility-grade system, more than 100,000 modules may be present. However, as it pertains to losses, many do involve these elements, but many also involve a transformer or switchgear issue in which no modules are lost. So it's important to have an engineer that understands all elements of these complex systems.
Aside from the use of photovoltaics, our experts also consult on matters related to concentrating solar power or (CSP). This is primarily used in large power plants. CSP technology works in two parts. First, it uses mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight onto receivers that collect solar energy and convert it to high-temperature heat. Second, the heat creates steam that is channeled through a generator (or turbine) to produce electricity. These combined cycle power plants use photovoltaics to convert heat into mechanical energy, such as in certain gas turbine plants, for example.
Envista’s solar energy experts consult with insurance companies, businesses and law firms on matters involving potentially new PV or CSP projects, the design or installation of PV or CSP systems, PV or CSP construction inspections, liability issues, and also origin and cause of incidents pertaining to PV or CSP technologies.
Types of Solar Energy
The most common types of solar energy technology our energy engineers investigate include:
- Photovoltaics and solar module technology
- Solar modules and solar arrays
- Solar heating and solar water heating
- Solar power plants and CSP systems such as troughs, power towers and engine systems
- Transformer or switchgear failures
Fox Business. Solar and Energy set to Expand over the Next Five Years. Oct. 22, 2019. Report found on Nov. 20, 2019, at https://www.foxbusiness.com/energy/solar-and-renewable-energy-set-to-expand-over-the-next-five-years-report.