RENEWABLE ENERGY: THE CLEAN FACTS

Wind and sun oriented are controlling a perfect energy transformation. This is what you need to think about renewables and how you can help have an effect at home.
Solar Energy
Solar Energy
Sun powered, or photovoltaic (PV), cells are produced using silicon or different materials that change daylight straightforwardly into power. Disseminated galaxies create power locally for homes and organizations, either through roof boards or local area projects that power whole areas. Sun based ranches can produce power for a large number of homes, utilizing mirrors to think daylight across sections of land of sunlight based cells. Drifting sun based homesteads or "floatovoltaics" can be a successful utilization of wastewater offices and waterways that aren't naturally touchy. Sunlight based supplies somewhat more than 1% of U.S. power age. However, almost 33% of all new creating limit came from sun powered in 2017, second just to petroleum gas. Sun oriented energy frameworks don't create air toxins or ozone depleting substances, and as long as they are dependably sited, most sunlight based boards have not many natural effects past the assembling interaction.
Wind Energy
Wind Energy
We've made considerable progress from older style wind plants. Today, turbines as tall as high rises with turbines almost as wide in measurement prepare for action all throughout the planet. Wind energy turns a turbine's sharp edges, which takes care of an electric generator and produces power. Wind, which represents somewhat more than 6% of U.S. age, has become the least expensive fuel source in numerous pieces of the country. Top breeze power states incorporate California, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Iowa, however turbines can be put anyplace with high wind rates like ridges and open fields or even seaward in untamed water.
Hydroelectric Power
Hydroelectric Power
Hydropower is the biggest sustainable power hotspot for power in the United States, however wind energy is before long expected to assume control over the lead. Hydropower depends on water commonly quick water in an enormous waterway or quickly diving water from a high point and converts the power of that water into power by turning a generator's turbine sharp edges. Broadly and globally, huge hydroelectric plants or super dams are frequently viewed as nonrenewable energy. Uber dams redirect and decrease common streams, confining access for creature and human populaces that depend on waterways. Little hydroelectric plants (an introduced limit underneath around 40 megawatts), painstakingly oversaw, don't will in general reason as much natural harm, as they redirect just a negligible portion of stream.
Biomass Energy
Biomass Energy
Biomass is natural material that comes from plants and creatures, and incorporates crops, squander wood, and trees. At the point when biomass is singed, the compound energy is delivered as warmth and can create power with a steam turbine. Biomass is frequently erroneously portrayed as a spotless, inexhaustible fuel and a greener choice to coal and other non-renewable energy sources for creating power. In any case, late science shows that numerous types of biomass particularly from backwoods produce higher fossil fuel byproducts than petroleum derivatives. There are additionally unfortunate results for biodiversity. All things considered, a few types of biomass energy could fill in as a low-carbon alternative under the right conditions. For instance, sawdust and chips from sawmills that would some way or another rapidly deteriorate and discharge carbon can be a low-carbon fuel source.
Geothermal Energy
Geothermal Energy
In the event that you've at any point loose in an underground aquifer, you've utilized geothermal energy. The world's center is probably just about as warm as the sun's surface, because of the sluggish rot of radioactive particles in rocks at the focal point of the planet. Penetrating profound wells carries hot underground water to the surface as an aqueous asset, which is then siphoned through a turbine to make power. Geothermal plants commonly have low emanations on the off chance that they siphon the steam and water they use once more into the supply. There are approaches to make geothermal plants where there are not underground supplies, but rather there are worries that they may build the danger of a seismic tremor in regions previously viewed as topographical problem areas.
Nuclear
Nuclear
Atomic force, the utilization of supported atomic parting to create warmth and power, contributes almost 20% of the power produced in America. The United States has utilized atomic force for over 60 years to create solid, low-carbon energy and to help public protection exercises. The Energy Department's Office of Nuclear Energy's essential mission is to progress atomic force as an asset fit for making significant commitments in gathering our country's energy supply, ecological, and energy security needs. By zeroing in on the improvement of cutting edge atomic advances, NE upholds the Administration's objectives of giving homegrown wellsprings of secure energy, lessening ozone depleting substances, and upgrading public safety. Atomic force stays a significant piece of our country's energy portfolio, as we endeavor to diminish fossil fuel byproducts and address the danger of worldwide environmental change.
Bioenergy
Bioenergy
Biomass is a natural environmentally friendly power source that incorporates materials like farming and timberland buildups, energy yields, and green growth. Researchers and architects at the Energy Department and National Laboratories are discovering new, more productive approaches to change over biomass into biofuels that can replace ordinary fills like gas, diesel, and fly fuel. Bioenergy can help guarantee a monetarily strong and secure future while decreasing natural effects through: 1.Developing moderate homegrown fills and co-items 2. Propelling clean fuel sources 3.Generating homegrown responsibilities to help the development of the U.S. bioeconomy. Innovative work to change inexhaustible carbon and waste assets into feedstocks for transformation to biofuels, bioproducts, and bio power will reasonably grow biomass asset potential in the United States.
Hydrogen and Fuel Cells
Hydrogen and Fuel Cells
The Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office (HFTO) centers around exploration, advancement, and exhibit of hydrogen and power module advances across various areas empowering development, a solid homegrown economy, and a perfect, evenhanded energy future. Hydrogen is the least difficult and most bountiful component known to man. It is found inside water, petroleum derivatives, and all living matter, yet it seldom exists as a gas on Earth—it should be isolated from different components. There are different homegrown assets that can be utilized to deliver hydrogen, including renewables (wind, sun oriented, hydropower, biomass, and geothermal energy), atomic force, and petroleum products (like flammable gas and coal – with carbon catch and sequestration). The U.S. at present creates in excess of 10 million metric huge loads of hydrogen each year, around one-seventh of the worldwide inventory.

Cybersecurity: why it’s important for your solar panel system

Reading Time: 5 minutes In May 2021, the cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline made headlines across the country. After Colonial shut down their pipelines, gasoline shortages rapidly drove up the price of gasoline and spurred panic buying at fuel stations, particularly across hard-hit southern states. With cyberattacks on energy infrastructure increasing in frequency and severity, many are starting to […]

Reading Time: 5 minutes In May 2021, the cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline made headlines across the country. After Colonial shut down their pipelines, gasoline shortages rapidly drove up the price of gasoline and spurred panic buying at fuel stations, particularly across hard-hit southern states. With cyberattacks on energy infrastructure increasing in frequency and severity, many are starting to […]Reading Time: 5 minutes

In May 2021, the cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline made headlines across the country. After Colonial shut down their pipelines, gasoline shortages rapidly drove up the price of gasoline and spurred panic buying at fuel stations, particularly across hard-hit southern states. With cyberattacks on energy infrastructure increasing in frequency and severity, many are starting to wonder: what else could be at risk?

Unfortunately, the energy sector has already seen serious cyberattacks in the past–which could be an indicator of future risk. In 2015, Ukraine experienced the first known cyberattack on the power grid, which caused outages at 30 substations throughout the country and left about 230,000 people without electricity for up to six hours. People with solar-plus-storage systems would typically have the benefit of grid resiliency in such a situation and would be able to keep the power running–however, solar systems are not entirely immune to the risk of cyberattacks without proper protections.

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Key takeaways


  • Cyberattacks on operational technology and energy infrastructure are starting to increase
  • Hackers could attack solar systems via inverters, which could lower production or overload batteries in solar-plus-storage systems
  • Overall, hackers are more likely to attack utility-scale power plants than residential solar systems because it’s easier to make a larger impact
  • The Department of Energy is increasing research to make inverters more secure; in the meantime, there are steps to you can take to increase security for your system
  • Visit the EnergySage Marketplace to get multiple quotes from solar installers

What types of technologies are at risk of cyberattacks?

Historically, cyberattacks concentrated on information technology (IT)–software that stores, sends, or retrieves information. When you think of a typical cyberattack, an IT attack is probably what you’re picturing: a hacker accessing your computer’s data and holding it hostage until you pay a ransom fee. However, hackers are increasingly targeting operational technology (OT)–hardware and software that monitors and/or controls devices–especially as this technology becomes both more widespread and exposed to the internet. The attack on the Colonial Pipeline was technically considered an IT attack: the hackers attacked the pipeline’s computerized equipment, not the pipeline itself. However, it did have operational impacts as well: the company was unable to bill customers due to the attack and thus had to stop its operation, shutting down pipelines. 

How could hackers attack your solar system?

Cyberattacks on solar panel systemssystems would be classified as OT attacks–a hacker could, in theory, gain control of a solar panel system by targeting the inverters. In solar energy systems, the primary function of inverters is to convert the direct current (DC) energy that’s generated by your solar panels into usable alternating current (AC) electricity. However, inverters can also be Internet of Things (IoT) devices, meaning they are physical devices that can connect to and exchange data with other devices over the internet. Most popular inverter companies, including Enphase and SolarEdge, make inverters with built-in monitoring systems that can send data about your system’s production to a desktop or mobile app. 

Many companies are now also creating energy management system devices that provide more detailed monitoring and controls for your solar system; for example, with a solar-plus-storage system, your energy management system would allow you to turn on and off certain devices powered by your battery. While all of this is great for optimizing your electricity usage, it does introduce risks to OT cyberattacks. When your inverters are connected to the internet, their protection is only as strong as the weakest link–so hackers could (again, in theory) gain access to your internet through your computer and ultimately end up targeting your inverters. 

What are the potential impacts of a solar cyberattack?

A cyberattack on your solar panel system could have various impacts, ranging in severity. If hackers were to gain control of your system’s inverters, they could reduce your system’s power output. If you have solar-plus-storage, they could also target your battery’s inverter and overload your battery so that it ultimately fails. On a larger scale, it’s possible that attacks on multiple solar systems could cause grid instability. 

However, it’s important to keep in mind here that there are already cyberattacks that are occurring on the grid, and thus far, they haven’t caused any major blackouts in the United States. Residential solar is just one of the many energy sources that are at risk to hackers, and its risk is comparatively small because creating a large impact attack would be incredibly difficult. To cause widespread grid instability, it would be much easier for a hacker to target a utility-scale plant with a centralized generator, renewable or otherwise.

As a side note, you may have heard about the 2020 SolarWinds cyberattack, but this actually had nothing to do with solar! 

Are inverters becoming more secure?

While utility-scale solar plants have to follow cybersecurity standards to become operational, small-scale, residential solar systems and other distributed energy resources (DERS)–electricity sources that are on the decentralized distribution grid–are not currently required to meet cybersecurity standards. However, as the United States becomes more electrified and the number of DERs grows, it’s increasingly important to find ways to secure DERs like residential solar against cyberattacks. 

The Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technology Office (SETO) is funding research to find ways to make solar more secure against cyberattacks. In 2017, Sandia National Laboratory created a Roadmap for Solar Cybersecurity, funded by SETO, to help SETO and other DOE offices develop research strategies. The DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) office published a Multi-Year Program Plan in 2020, which provides ways to improve cybersecurity across multiple infrastructure and energy sectors, including renewable energy. In addition, SETO has funded multiple other projects with the goal of improving cybersecurity, which can be found here. 

How can you help protect your solar system from a cyberattack?

If you’re hoping to increase security for your solar system, there are a few steps that you can take right now. First, most inverter manufacturers will provide a guideline for how to monitor your solar system’s production, which will include information about how to maximize security. Often this will entail, at a minimum, changing the default username and password as soon as you set up your system. 

Additionally, you can configure your network to be more secure. This could include setting up a strong firewall or potentially even creating a separate network for your inverters–these precautions are not necessary, but could add some peace of mind if you’re concerned about a cyberattack. Finally, as a best practice overall, you want to make sure that you have antivirus and/or antimalware software installed on your computers and are leery of any unknown websites or emails that you come across–by being cautious on your computer or mobile device you can protect both your own personal information, as well as your inverters!

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Like all forms of energy, solar systems are at some risk of future cyberattacks. However, as we discussed, there are steps that you can take to increase security of your system, and overall, your system is less likely to be attacked than a utility-scale power plant. If you’re interested in installing a solar system, check out the EnergySage Marketplace to get multiple quotes from local installers. By comparing quotes, you can find a system that meets your needs at the right price.

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