In many public forums, I talk very loudly about Solar Power vs Solar Energy.
I am not meaning the technical difference between Power and Energy.
I am talking about what the market and general public understand. The moment we mention “solar” – because of widespread Government side subsidies and awareness programs worldwide, people connect it with “Solar Power”, generally meaning Solar Photovoltaic plants (PV).
But, we use energy in various forms – Light, Heat, motion, cooling, and so on. The good news is: Solar Power a.k.a Solar PV based solar electricity generation is a high quality energy – meaning it can be converted to many other energy forms efficiently without losing much of it.
Does that mean that we should always go to the high quality of energy (electricity) and then convert it to low quality energy always?
Conventional wisdom says, YES. But, solar changes this.
Solar heating – at low temperature is very efficient – at 80-90% efficiency compared to paltry 13-17% of solar PV. Moreover, costs are 50% if we compare KW capacity to to KW capacity or – KWHr generation cost to KWHr generation cost.
What does that mean?
We should somehow change the perception and add “Solar Energy” (to mean all forms of energy – heat, light etc) to our vocabulary rather than just “Solar Power” (“to mean electricity”).
~Bhoo, CEO, Aspiration Cleantech Ventures