Innovative Ways of Using Solar Panels

Photo: Mineirão stadium in Belo Horizonte

The photovoltaic technology is frequently used to obtain energy these days. Since it was discovered in the 19th century that it is possible to get energy from sunlight, the ways of harnessing solar energy went through many different stages. The first prototype of solar cells was, for example, used to provide the satellite Vanguard I with energy in 1958 and the technology has been used in this area ever since.

The oil crisis demonstrated our dependence on fossil fuels and led to the much needed rethinking of where the energy comes from with a view towards finding dependable sources of renewable energy. Coupled with the nuclear power plant catastrophes and a stronger environmental consciousness also stimulated this wish to use nonpolluting and sustainable sources of energy. Therefore many enterprises and households opted for solar energy, since solar panels can be easily installed on rooftops, where they can harness energy from the sun, which is a limitless source of renewable power. Due to the greater interest and demand it is also important to consider the Solar IRR, solar economic return projects, among others.

Lately, this technology has developed much further than the known uses of solar panels on rooftops and on the ground. One such example is the building of integrated photovoltaics. During World Cup 2014, the company Martifer presented their completed project of a 1.4 MW installation of solar panels on the rooftop of the Mineirão stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The match on June 14 was the first one ever played in a stadium that obtains its energy from solar panels.

Mineirão stadium was fitted with 6,000 solar panels, and it is the first ever World Cup stadium to be powered entirely by solar energy. This solar power array is capable of producing 1,600 megawatts-hours of electricity per year, which is enough to power 1,200 households. About 10 percent of this electricity will be used in powering the Mineirão stadium, and the rest will pass back into the grid and be used by consumers.



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