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The solar race in Europe that pushes the energy transition

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The solar race in Europe that pushes the energy transition

L’solar power continues to run in Europe, reaching new goals. The protagonist of the great green transition to limit the use of fossil fuels is the renewable source which has grown faster in recent years: the electricity produced by the Sun has gone from 7.4 TWh (terawatt hour) in 2008 to 144.2 TWh in 2020 according to the Eurostat data. A positive trend that also left its mark in 2021, despite the difficulties associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, the shortages in the supply of photovoltaic systems and the increase in the prices of solar panels: as underlined by the report ‘Eu Market Outlook for Solar Power 2021-2025’the demand for this type of energy in the Old Continent increased last year and the 27 member states saw a increase in solar PV capacity installed capacity of 25.9 GW (gigawatt), thus recording a growth of 34% on the 19.3 GW installed in 2020.

However this renewable source has some limits for its intermittency and variability: the duration and intensity of solar energy depend on the latitude, the season and the weather conditions. However, technology can lend a hand in exploiting the potential of the Sun in the best possible way. The concentrating solar mirrors (Csp, Concentrated Solar Power) guarantee greater productivity and sustainability compared to traditional photovoltaic panels.

The ranking in Europe

Among the countries riding the solar revolution in the Old Continent, the Germania it confirms itself in first place for new installed capacity, which in 2021 was equal to 5.3 GW. In second place follows the Spain with about 3.8 GW and third theWhen with 3.3GW. Off the podium Poland and France, fourth and fifth place, with an installed capacity of 3.2 and 2.5 GW respectively. In the top ten of the top ten markets there is also theItalia con 0,8 GW.

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The new technology

In the Eni Research Center in Novara solutions have been developed that offer advantages over traditional solar energy exploitation systems. The most significant is that of concentrated solar power (CSP)which uses a parabolic mirror to concentrate the sun’s rays in a single point called “focus”, thus generating temperatures up to 550°C. In correspondence with the “fire” there is a tube, called a receiver tube, in which a fluid flows capable of storing and transporting the heat generated by the parabola which, thanks to an exchanger, is then used to generate industrial steam or to power a turbine and produce electricity. The use of a heat transfer fluid with an optimized composition means that, through a “thermal storage” system, energy can also be generated at night, reusing the heat absorbed and stored during the day.

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