According to the Cambridge dictionary, fusion is the process, or result, of joining two or more things together to form a single entity. Fusion is also the name given to the nuclear process found on our sun, whereby an enormous amount of energy is generated, without which, life on earth would not be possible. More about this later.
Successful Solar projects are the result of carefully putting together, or fusion, of suitable components, from photo voltaic panels, electronics like charge controllers, inverters and battery management to batteries, appropriate switch gear and protection components as well as monitoring and reporting hardware, software and web applications.
Back to nuclear fusion. This is the process, where energy is produced by smashing together light atoms. It is the opposite reaction of fission, where heavy isotopes are split apart, like in nuclear power plants, submarines or nuclear bombs.
Nuclear fusion reactions occur in a high density, high temperature environment and is the process by which our sun and other stars generate light and heat. Two Hydrogen isotopes (deuterium and tritium) fuse together, their component parts are recombined into a helium atom and a fast neutron.
As the two heavy isotopes are reassembled into a helium atom, the ‘extra’ mass leftover is converted into the kinetic energy of the neutron, according to Einstein’s famous formula: E=mc2, and an enormous amount of energy is released in the process.
Research and development efforts are underway to replicate nuclear fusion on earth. The tremendous pressures and temperatures present on the sun are difficult to replicate and contain on earth, but scientists are making progress with magnetic techniques and there is some optimism that mankind will one day master fusion reactions and generate tremendous energy cheaply and sustainably.
As result of the sun’s fusion reaction, electromagnetic radiation, mostly in the near ultraviolet, visible and near infrared regions are emitted by the sun and is reaching the surface of the earth at approximately 1.0 kW/m2.
This energy can be harnessed by using photo voltaic cells (PV cells or commonly known as solar panels). Solar panel efficiencies range from 16 to 20% for the ubiquitous household and commercial panels to 40% for the very specialized panels on the space station, satellites and other high budget applications.
For household and commercial use, 160 to 200 Watt of electricity can be harnessed from every 1 m2 using affordable solar panels. In sunny South Africa most days have more than 5 hours of very usable sunshine and every 1 m2 can yield more than 5 kWh of electricity per day. Average households consume approximately 20 to 25 kWh per day and solar systems with 10 to 20 solar panels has become a viable alternative to buying electricity from a power utility. Literally acres of solar panels can be seen on the roofs of office buildings, hospitals, shopping malls, factories etc.
Fusion Solar Projects offers experience and expertise to successfully implement solar systems for household and commercial use from design, to procurement, to installation and commissioning and training.
Whether driven by load shedding -, power interruption-, cost- or environmental considerations, let us work with you to design a cost-effective solar system to fit your business case and strategic objectives.