What Is the Future of Solar Energy – What Innovations Will Transform the Market?
The Promising Future of Solar Power
Scientists declare that solar energy will play an utterly essential role in the world energy system in the next ten years. It will become a reasonable solution in the environmental sense since humanity has started to experience a long-standing hazard connected with climate change. More than 68% of the global CO2 emissions are caused by heating, electricity generation, and transportation.
On the other hand, ecologists state that if people do not start actively using solar power, the Earth will become three degrees warmer. It will cause species extinction, the destruction of all ecosystems, hunger, and melting glaciers. Therefore, solar power must be broadly utilized. It is the most reasonable and gainful solution compared to other renewable sources of power, such as biomass, nuclear, or wind energy.
The International Energy Agency modeling
The experts of the International Energy Agency have recently modeled three possible situations to halve the global CO2 emissions by the end of 2050. Scientists stated that the cheapest way to do it is to start actively using solar power. By the end of 2030, solar energy will have covered almost 30% of humanity’s needs for electricity. Experts conclude that industries may limit the broad use of hydroelectric facilities. Consequently, solar power innovations will play a much greater role in providing people with electricity.
Solar Energy Industries Association research
The staff of the Solar Energy Industries Association has recently researched solar power. Scientists concluded that the power of the sun is the fastest-developing industry among all sources of energy in Europe and the USA. In particular, the total solar capacity in the United States is over 23 GW. This power will be enough to supply electricity to more than five million houses. Using solar power will also help to halve the utility bills. Therefore, the broad development of innovative solar technology must be a matter of priority for all countries.
The future of solar energy also depends greatly on political circumstances and uncertain markets. Countries should join together and agree on the wide use of solar power. Alongside this, Elon Musk is sure that his Tesla Solar business will grow considerably. It is projected to conquer the automotive sector with its over $20 billion annual profit soon.
The Latest Solar Energy Innovations
Energy experts unanimously state that the solar panels` efficiency is considered the crucial problem of their use. More than 70% of solar radiation is wasted even under good conditions. That is why humanity urgently needs to develop innovative solar panels. Thankfully, contemporary solar engineering keeps on working hard to solve this vital problem.
Scientists propose to utilize special hardware for solar panels. It will help solar cells capture more sunlight. The hardware will move after the sun and track it 24/7. The system will rotate the panels following the sun. However, experts say that such innovation will be very expensive and delicate owing to its complicated design. So, they suggest using huge mirrors instead. They will help to focus sunlight on the panels. And even though such technology is rather cheap, it may be very effective.
Another way to put to good use the future possibilities of solar energy is to use a special material that easily captures light on the panels. It is projected to be a very efficient innovation. Such material is not expensive. It will allow covering all existing panels. Usual solar panels catch from 28 to 33% of sunlight. Experimental models show that a panel with four layers can catch over 45% of photons. Therefore, manufacturers should seriously think about starting the production of such panels with a sun-attractive coating.
Alternative materials for solar panels
The first panels were used almost 70 years ago. Since that time, solar cells have been made of silicon. However, it has already been proved that silicon cannot be used efficiently for producing usable power. Therefore, scientists start looking for alternative materials. So, answering the question – What is the future of solar energy? – they say that the future is really promising.
- Perovskite. There is a way out. It is Perovskite. It is a natural mineral composed of calcium titanate. Its chemical formula is CaTiO3. The mineral has a vital feature that can be efficiently used in the utilization of solar energy. It is superconductivity. Thus, it can transport electricity whenever sunlight contacts the material. Oxford University physicists have recently proved that the Perovskite can be resourcefully utilized as the replacement for silicon solar cells. Additionally, the mineral can be created synthetically. It means that it can be much cheaper than silicon and easier to work with. Consequently, this technology can develop the production of solar power drastically.
- Floating farms for producing solar energy. It is another great innovation for receiving the power of the sun. The largest floating solar farm is currently located in Huainan, China. Its capacity exceeds 45,000,000 watts of electricity. The experts of the Solar Energy Industries Association have calculated that this capacity of solar energy will be enough to power a typical automobile plant. The greatest advantage of floating solar farms is that the ocean naturally cools the panels. Plus, lands are not occupied by the panels. So, they can be used for various agricultural purposes. And it is a great solution for areas with almost no free land.
- Tesla solar roof. Tesla engineers have created a great solar rooftop. It combines a remarkable design with the newest innovations. Nobody would even guess that there are panels on the roof. It is made of photovoltaic modules that look exactly like a typical rooftop panel. Such solar tiles are thrice stronger than ordinary tiles for covering roofs. They are equipped with a 24/7 solar power monitoring function. Cell phones can be used to control the Tesla rooftop, which is a very convenient option and the real future of innovative solar technologies.
- Solar paint. It is another alternative innovation. It entirely looks like ordinary paint. However, it contains millions of materials sensitive to light. This option allows such paint to capture light more efficiently. This paint can cover any surface and turn it into a solar panel. After you paint the selected surface, a solar panel installer should set up the system. Even though solar paint gathers only 5-8% of sunlight, it can be used for supplying a household with free electricity. This technology has a huge potential, experts say. To make a breakthrough in the industry, scientists must get to know how to boost solar paint productivity.
Solar Energy in the Future
People have used solar energy since ancient times. Archimedes burned enemy ships by focusing sun rays. Medieval peasants heated the air in the towers that helped to rotate the blades of the mills. Now, this alternative source of power began to seriously crowd out traditional fuels on the energy market.
Talking about the future of solar power, we should always remember that it is not about installing panels on the roof or charging a solar power bank. Currently, some technologies utilizing the power of the sun have already been developed. They are:
- Heating water directly with the help of solar energy. Solar panels can bring both electricity and hot water to people’s homes. This technology is currently used in the best way in locations with too expensive electricity and natural gas.
- Another stage of development in solar energy is to make fuel out of it. This new type of fuel is made without electricity use. Therefore, it diminishes CO2 emissions owing to the lack of transportation necessities. Thus, such power will be much cheaper for end-users.
- Solar power is widely used in the space industry, where photovoltaic arrays are often the only available means of generating energy.
To Crown It All
The future of solar panels and the power from the sun is, undoubtedly, very promising. Solar energy must be successfully used in many spheres of life and different branches of industry and production. Such a natural and clean energy will solve plenty of environmental and ecological problems in all parts of the Earth. Now, it is a great opportunity for many companies in all areas to invest in solar power and provide themselves with clean and almost free energy.
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