Introduction: New Phase of Solar Energy:
Renewable energy sources minimize greenhouse emissions and exhibit a much lighter carbon footprint than fossil fuels. Over 54% of the global electricity consumption comes from burning fossil fuels contributing to 99% of greenhouse emissions.
The COVID-19 outbreak has had a significant impact on the global renewable energy market. The market is witnessing decreased investments because of the global economic slowdown and decline in energy consumption. However, according to Goldman Sachs, the renewable energy market is expected to show an investment reaching up to USD 16 trillion over the next decade.
It is estimated that, the global renewable energy installed capacity will reach to approximately 4391.18 GW by the year 2026, increasing at a CAGR of 7.13% during the period 2021-2026.
Renewables are predicted to become the largest source of electricity generation globally in 2025, supplying one-third of the world’s electricity.
Innovations shaping the future of solar energy
From efficiency upgrades to equipment capabilities and improvements in energy storage, the solar power field has a lot to offer in innovations.
Primarily two technologies dominate the solar power innovations: Photovoltaic (PV) and Concentrated Solar Power (CSP).
Light Sensitive Nanoparticles
This technology aims at providing more flexible and affordable materials for solar cells. The newly suggested materials use n-type and p-type semiconductors. They can be functional outside, which was a challenge in previous designs.
Researchers at the University of Toronto discovered that these new colloidal quantum dots don’t bind to air, hence they’re able to maintain a stability outside. The radiant light absorption is much higher in this case, which works for harnessing solar power. The panels that use this technology are estimated to be nearly 8% more efficient while converting sunlight into energy.
Bifacial Solar Modules
Bifacial solar modules produce solar energy proficiently from both sides, unlike the mono facial solar panels. E.g., when you install a bifacial module on a highly reflective surface, such as ground with light-coloured stones or a TPO roof, it produces a lot more energy in comparison to mono facial panels.
An estimated increase of 30% additional production just from the amount of extra power generation in the rear side of the module has been observed. Bifacial modules come in different framed and frameless designs with an option of clear sheets and dual glass.
Solar Power Harvesting Trees
This is an innovative way to generate clean energy by tapping infinite energy from the sun. Scientists at the VTT Technical Centre, Finland have developed a solar power harvesting plant prototype that harvests solar energy and stores it into power devices. E.g., laptops, mobile phones, LED street lights, and electric vehicles, etc. These plant prototypes can be placed in office car parking, golf courses, malls, business parks, and desserts adding aesthetic value to the arena, while harvesting the sun’s energy.
Solar windows are made of solar panels that harvest energy from the sun and convert it into electricity. The windows possess a new transparent electricity generation coating that can convert sun’s heat into solar power. The coating of these solar windows can produce the smallest functional solar cells in the world. Organic Photovoltaic (OPV) technology develops electricity-generating, see-through windows, converting skyscrapers, commercial buildings, and towers into vertical power generators.
Floating Solar Panels
Floating solar panels are an alternative for ground-mount solar systems for places battling small spaces. This Hydrelio Floating PV system would allow the traditional panels to be installed on water bodies such as lakes, reservoirs, canals, irrigation, tailing ponds, and hydroelectric dam reservoirs.
Australia introduced the first solar-powered bus generating zero emissions in the year 2013. The airplane industry is undergoing a revolution with new prototypes like Solar Impulse 2; the first solar power plane to make a historic trip around the globe. This aircraft stays afloat for days on end as it carries over 17 thousand photovoltaic cells to charge the solar batteries.
To encourage a fossil fuel-free future in the transportation sector, several countries are likely to harness the power of solar energy by introducing solar-powered bus stops, solar boats, solar airline projects, and other vehicles.
List of Solar-Powered Inventions
1. Solar-powered water purifiers
2. Solar air conditioners
3. Solar-powered vaccine refrigerators
4. Solar cooker or solar ovens
5. Solar-powered tents
6. Solar power inverter
7. Outdoor motion sensor solar lights
8. Solar water heater
9. Solar portable smartphone charger
10. Solar-powered watch
The Solar Energy Market in Australia
From the global cumulative investment in the renewables sector, solar PV is likely to account for approximately 54% which stands for USD 700B, according to research.
The solar power market in Australia is projected to grow at a CAGR of 19.56% between 2020 and 2025. Australia has one of the highest average solar radiation per square meter as well as highest per capita consumption of residential rooftop solar and leading PV technology in the world.
Because of high power prices and abundant sunshine in Australia, the demand for rooftop solar installations has escalated. About 29% of Australian households are now equipped with solar panels.
A variety of innovative solar energy technologies are used to convert the sun’s energy and light into heat. 173 thousand terawatts of solar energy strike our planet every year. It is the largest source of renewable clean energy for humankind. It offers 10 thousand times the energy necessary for people worldwide. According to market research published by Allied Market Research, the global solar energy market is likely to reach USD 223.3B by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 20.5%.