Between the ever-increasing cost of energy and concerns about climate change, business leaders are eager to do their part for both Mother Nature and their balance sheets. As such, several have begun to implement targeted renewable energy strategies, with solar energy proving particularly prolific in regions with ample sunlight. Tech companies, often at the forefront of social progress, are especially invested in this: Intel, Sony and Apple all making vast improvements in the solar technology. With more and more interest in utilizing solar technology, there will become more opportunity for jobs in solar energy.
Sony’s diverse approach to solar energy has included multiple promising renewable initiatives. One such creation proved that eco-friendly and aesthetically pleasing are no contraction at all. Referred to as dye-sensitized solar cells, these gorgeous solar panels made their big debut at Eco Products 2010. Essentially, they generate power by converting light that strikes the dye on the panes into electrical energy. Although a number of dye-sensitized solar cell efforts have taken place over the course of the past decade, Sony’s was remarkable in that it achieved an impressive conversion efficiency of 9.9 percent. Sony is hoping to further improve this efficiency rate before releasing its own line of dye-sensitized solar cells for consumers.
Other than sheer beauty, the purported benefit of this technology is that it costs less to implement than many other solar energy alternatives, and it is also easy for a trained solar technician to install into already existing buildings. Thus, it can serve as a viable solution for structures that are not already LEED certified, particularly among those who are seeking to make their homes or commercial buildings green.
Leaders at Intel have been fostering the integration of renewable energy and advanced technology for a long time. Over the years, the corporation has shifted to an energy strategy largely based on renewable sources, powering its corporate locations and manufacturing sites with the help of solar panels. The Environmental Protection Agency has repeatedly highlighted Intel as one of the largest purchasers of green energy; this focus also extends to the realm of innovation, with Intel’s research and development experts always eager to improve the company’s renewable strategy.
The Claremont processor is currently one of the most promising of Intel’s many initiatives. The prototype is believed to be powerful enough to run Windows via power generated from a single palm-sized solar cell. Future demos are expected to further improve on this concept, perhaps allowing Intel to operate more powerful programs with even smaller solar-powered processors.
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Currently, one of Apple’s chief goals is to power all of its facilities with 100 percent renewable energy. Solar energy plays a huge role in this initiative, as it is one of the most functional renewable solutions used in Cupertino. Currently, renewable energy provides 94 of the power for Apple’s data centers and corporate campuses. This is up from just 35 percent in 2010. This figure is expected to reach 100 percent in the near future. This is an impressive accomplishment for a company that, as of a few years ago, was known for being one of the worst environmental offenders in the tech world.
In addition to powering its corporate campuses with the help of solar technology, Apple is hoping to apply a similar concept to several of its best-selling products. For example, a recently granted Apple patent integrates solar panels into touch screen displays. The implication is that Apple devices will be just as eco friendly in the future as the company’s corporate campuses are now.
Solar technology represents a huge opportunity for Mechanical Maintenance Engineering students at the Refrigeration School, Inc. With an increased demand for solar technology and other renewable solutions, graduates will find solar energy to be a key part of the renewable energy industry.