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    Solar energy: On and off the grid


    Author: Siobhan McClelland, Canadian Geographic

    Publish Date: Oct 3, 2013   Last Update: Sep 21, 2018


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    Many solar power installations are in remote areas where residents don’t receive power from the electricity grid. Electricity from large solar plants is transported the same way as other sources of electricity, travelling through transmission lines.

    People who produce solar energy can connect their systems to the power grid or go off grid, with no connection, meaning the only source of energy will come from solar power and any other alternative energy systems in place.

    In some forms, solar energy doesn’t require any transportation. Many devices, such as hand-held and desk calculators, use photovoltaic cells and need only a small amount of light to function instantly where they are.

    Many solar power installations in Canada are in remote areas where residents don’t receive power from the electricity grid. For those remote locations, heating homes and water takes place on site. By using solar energy, residents save the cost of transporting electricity across long distances. As well, photovoltaic systems may include batteries that allow people to store electricity, particularly when there is a lot of sunlight.

    People who have abundant electricity from solar power sources have the option of supplying their excess electricity to the power grid. 



    OCT 3, 2013 | DEMAND

    Solar energy: No grid, no problem

    Canada’s use of solar energy has increased in recent years, although it remains relatively small in terms of market penetration. Installed capacity for solar thermal power has seen annual compound growth rate of 13.8 per cent since 2004.


    OCT 3, 2013 | PRODUCTION

    Solar energy: Capturing the Sun's power

    Ways of harnessing the sun’s energy include solar photovoltaic cells, active solar energy, passive solar energy and concentrating solar power systems.


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