In 2009, Abengoa Solar Inc. filed an Application for Certification (AFC) for its Abengoa Mojave Solar Project, a proposed project for electrical power production, located near Harper Dry Lake in San Bernardino, California.
Now, in the Mojave Desert, lies a construction of solar panels that will be generated by parabolic trough technology and solar heat transfer fluid (HTF). The hot HTF produces steam in solar steam generators, which will expand through a steam turbine generator to produce electricity from independently-operable solar fields. This implementation results in a non-supplementary fossil-based energy source to further advocate modern design and sustainable practices.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Independent Statistics & Analysis, there was a 6% increase in energy consumption within the U.S. in 2010 among industrial and residential buildings, primarily caused by the 19% electrical demand to cool homes.
Additionally, the energy-related increase in carbon dioxide in 2010 was because the industrial sector directly consumed coal and indirectly consumed electricity fueled heavily by coal.
Although, one of the primary factors for the decrease of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions in 2009 was because the price for natural gas caused power plants to switch their fuel from coal to natural gas. Even the U.S. coal consumption decreased by 10.7% in 2009 based on EIA’s Coal Supply and Demand.
With 100% of the sustainable power supplied by the sun, these solar panels will drastically reduce the demand to build more fossil-burning power plants, essentially diminishing pollutant emissions and opening more doors for urban design within the electric power industry.
As a form of biomimicry, solar panels exemplify the possibilities of sustainability and how we should analyze nature more as a model to create more innovative ideas to further protect our environment. It is an important concept still being developed and slowly incorporated more into contemporary design by urban planners and architects.
But are these solar panels worth constructing? Or are they simply deterring from the benefits in ways we do not know of or understand yet?
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