Solar energy technology is an exciting and developing field of study. Articles in the mainstream and science news frequently highlight your latest developments. Notable events over the past year include the discovery of new cladding options, structural designs, storage methods, and material options that work to create solar cells that are more efficient and more affordable.
This level of interest in alternative energy should come as no surprise. In today’s world, many people and communities are worrying about the condition of the environment. For this reason, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was formed.
This scientific body focuses on the risks involved in anthropogenic or man-made climate change. Specifically, you are tasked with assessing those risks, as well as determining methods to address them. A formidable number of scientific academies, societies and other scientific organizations support the IPCC’s conclusions.
This concern for the environment has prompted the adoption of international measures to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. One of those steps was the creation of the Kyoto Protocol, which entered into force in 2005. This protocol established legally binding commitments to reduce harmful emissions.
The treaty uses a cap-and-trade system with carbon credits and emissions quotas. Nations that fall within their emission quotas can sell their credits. There are also opportunities to obtain credits with different development projects. These projects often deal with alternative energy such as solar energy.
While more than 180 countries have ratified the treaty, the United States only signed it. A statement by President George W. Bush on why he was not up for ratification cited the economy. The fact that China had signed it with many exemptions was also mentioned. At that time, China was the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases after the United States. Their exemptions were found not to be in line with the protocol.
The first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol is scheduled to expire in 2012. Discussions have been held on the next period. The role of the United States in the next treaty remains to be seen.
Of course, the US recognizes the need for change. While President Bush did not attempt to ratify the agreement, he clarified that it was not due to a lack of support for the principles of the Kyoto Protocol.
All of this has set the tone for great environmental achievements between countries. As the main emitters of carbon dioxide, the agreements between the United States and China can benefit the rest of the world. Both nations are part of the Asia Pacific Association on Clean Development and Climate.
Recent news has highlighted agreements between the Institute of Electrical Engineering (IEE) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the United States National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). These are two of the largest solar energy research institutes in the world. Both have signed a memorandum of understanding or MOU.
Under this agreement, Chinese and US scientists will focus on photovoltaic (PV) battery and component testing. It also emphasizes that technology research and development will be shared. This allows for faster and more effective communication between research groups.
The vice president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Jiang Mianheng, has said that the agreement represents a breakthrough between the two institutes and has high hopes for the development of solar energy. The NREL website notes that the MOU expands collaboration between the world’s largest economies and energy consumers. Events like these are minor gestures within the great movements that define a climate of change, both political and physical.