Physics Renewable Energy Sources

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1. In 2015, the US produced electrical power at the scale of 1.2 terrawatts. Calculate the per capita electrical power in the US (this is equivalent to the amount of power required per individual at any given time)

2. Energy = power x time; Power is measured in units of watts (kilowatts, megawatts, gigawatts, terrawatts) and is instantaneous. Power used over time is energy. Based on your calculation in question 1, and assuming an average energy cost of 12 cents per KWH, what is the monthly electricity cost to a US citizen.

3. One gallon of gasoline has an energy density storage equivalent of about 35 KWH. In Eugene the price of electricity is 7.5 cents per kwh. You have two options on what kind of car to buy - a new gasoline powered car or a plug-in electric vehicle. Your plug-in EV uses 1 KWH for every 2 miles driven. Your gasoline powered car gets 40 miles per gallon. Finally, your plug-in EV has a charging efficiency of 85% (meaning for each KWH stored in the battery you have to deliver 1/.85 ~ 1.2 KWH of electricity).

If gas is $3 per gallon, what is the total cost of going 120 miles for your EV compared to the gasoline powered car.?

4. A company called First Solar is currently the leading producer in the world of PV panels and are frequently cited as a good company to invest in.

    a) Research and describe what technology FirstSolar uses in making its panels (they are not silicon based)

b) Find out the production costs of their Panels compared to crystalline silicon Panels that are the more traditional ones

c) What might limit First Solar's ability to continue to make and deploy their panels?

5. Do some research on the Ivanpah Solar Facility located in California near the Nevada border.

a) What kind of facility is this and what is its overall power capacity?

b) Describe some of the production problems of this facility since it opened and what steps have been made to try and correct this problems.

c) Discuss whether or not you think this was a wise facility to construct, given its price tag of 2.3 billion dollars.

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