The Future Of Solar Looks Bright
Solar power was earlier generated only by means of ground-mounted or rooftop panels. But thanks to all the advancements mentioned above, solar is set to become lighter, more flexible, and applicable everywhere.
Imagine all this tech is available and you visit another city. You can buy food at a solar-powered food cart, eat it while traveling on a solar-powered highway, and charge your phone from your solar-powered clothes. This is what the near future looks like!
And there are actually lots of other innovative residential solar technologies in development or currently being rolled out in 2022. Perhaps the most promising new tech is Perovskite solar cells, which could soon be used to create solar paint.
Keep yourself updated on new developments in solar.
Calculate what the solar payback period is for your home
Three Visions Of The Solar Future
The study uses three scenarios: a baseline case using current policies and trends a decarbonization scenario in which the current electric power system is 95% decarbonized by 2035 and 100% by 2050 and a decarbonization-plus-electrification scenario in which the electric grid grows significantly in scale to power the electrification of buildings, transportation, and industry. With these scenarios to set the scope, NREL researchers collaborated across sectors to determine how each scenario would play out. Their results describe a future rich with opportunities for solar integration: co-optimization with electric vehicles, solar system recycling and reuse, more equitable and widespread community adoption of solar energy, and much more.
Here we dive into the study’s cross-disciplinary approach and detail some of its specific findings by technology area and sector. For a broader overview of the study’s high-level findings, check out this NREL-authored fact sheet.
“Solar can play a synergistic role across various sectors including industry, transportation, and agriculture. To better understand the future of solar across the energy system, we brought together numerous experts from across the lab,” said NREL co-principal investigator Kristen Ardani. “We aimed to foster new collaborations and, in doing so, studied solar energy development and integration more comprehensively than ever before.”
What Is The Future Of Solar Energy
In the 21st century, solar power has already become part of daily life. From solar heated swimming pools to sun powered homes, there are many examples that demonstrate the useful application of the clean, safe, sustainable power of the sun. As concern grows about the effects of burning fossil fuels, and the possibility of exhausting non-renewable energy sources, the future of solar energy looks bright. As of 2013, the technology is not without its problems, and so far, applications have mostly been relatively small scale, but a great deal of research is going on in this area, and there have been a number of very promising developments.
Harnessing Solar Energy
The Sun is potentially a huge source of renewable, clean energy. Some estimate that sunlight could produce 10,000 times as much power as the Earth used at the turn of the 21st century. There are, however, major technological challenges to be met in harnessing that energy effectively. There are a number of different technologies available, and under development, that use sunlight to provide power.
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Establish Efficient Subsidies For Solar Deployment
Support for current solar technology helps create the foundation for major scale-up by building experience with manufacturing and deployment and by overcoming institutional barriers. But federal subsidies are slated to fall sharply after 2016.
Drastic cuts in federal support for solar technology deployment would be unwise.
On the other hand, while continuing support is warranted, the current array of federal, state, and local solar subsidies is wasteful. Much of the investment tax credit, the main federal subsidy, is consumed by transaction costs. Moreover, the subsidy per installed watt is higher where solar costs are higher , and the subsidy per kWh of generation is higher where the solar resource is less abundant.
Policies to support solar deployment should reward generation, not investment should not provide greater subsidies to residential generators than to utility-scale generators and should avoid the use of tax credits.
State renewable portfolio standard programs provide important support for solar generation. However, state-to-state differences and siting restrictions lead to less generation per dollar of subsidy than a uniform national program would produce.
State RPS programs should be replaced by a uniform national program. If this is not possible, states should remove restrictions on out-of-state siting of eligible solar generation.
This article appears in the Autumn 2015 issue of Energy Futures.
Future Electricity Needs Unknown
Complicating all this planning for a zero-carbon grid is a forecasting problem: Experts dont know how much energy systems like TVA will need to provide.
Thats because decarbonizing the entire economy requires moving much of it including transportation through electric vehicles onto the grid and simultaneously decarbonizing the electricity the grid provides.
Its unclear how quickly or how fully consumers will adopt electric cars and how many other elements of the economy will be fully electrified, meaning its unclear just how much larger TVA will need its system to be and by when.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has said U.S. generation might need to grow between 25% and 72% by 2050, depending on how Americans adopt electric vehicles. TVA anticipates it will need to increase the size of its grid by 50% to 100% by 2050, Lyash said. To help with the transition, TVA has partnered with the state Department of Environment and Conservation on a plan to build 40 fast-charging stations across Tennessees interstates and highways.
The electrification of transportation can be seen at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga. Inside the boxy gray plant, workers assembled the 2023 ID.4 SUV. The ID.4 is all-electric and runs on a rechargeable lithium battery with a range of 275 miles before it needs to be recharged.
Youve heard of farm to table? Silicon Ranchs Rob Hamilton asked as he gave a reporter a tour. This is farm to outlet.
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Voltaic Solar Noise Barriers
Highway traffic noise in the US has always been a concern for everyone. To overcome this issue, 48 states have built nearly 3,000 miles of traffic noise barriers. Noise barriers were always constructed with the single aim of designing cost-effective barriers that efficiently perform noise abatement functions. However, the goal of the US Department of Energy has now evolved to merge noise abatement with sustainable power generation.
Given the widespread use of noise barriers in the US, the potential of producing solar energy from these is likely to be around 400 gigawatt-hours annually. This is approximately equal to the annual electricity usage of 37,000 homes.
The Future Of Solar Storage
The future of solar storage is highly market-dependent, and it is likely to be dynamic. Revenues at the beginning of a project may not be the same as those at the end.
In addition, the future of solar storage is highly competitive. It is competing with other energy storage technologies like standalone batteries, gas peakers, and smart EV charging.
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Things To Look Forward To
We may have worried you are talking about the challenges of solar energy. But luckily, we have some good news!
The advancements and progress in the technological aspect of solar energy have been consistent so far. Engineers and environmentalists are combining efforts to promote more effective solar energy production.
Also, public figures with a broad audience are vocal about environmental issues, encouraging people to be more environmentally conscious. As such, here are a few things we can expect to become a reality in the future:
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In addition to these environmental impacts, concerns have been raised that the polysilicon industry in Xinjiang is linked to the forced labour of Uyghur Muslims a claim that Chinese authorities deny.
As explained in the Dezeen guide to solar power, scientists are exploring alternatives to silicon solar cells, but they are still expected to dominate the industry in the near term at least.
Similarly, solar panels can have a significant environmental impact when they come to the end of their life, leaching out toxic materials as they break down.
Because solar panels started to become more widely installed in the early 2000s and have a life expectancy of around 25 years, the issue is likely to become increasingly prevalent in the near future.
IRENA predicts that solar energy waste will total 78 million tonnes by the year 2050, and some academics have suggested the amount could even be much higher.
Recycling photovoltaics to recover their silicon and silver can be tricky, meaning many solar panels end up in landfill.
Solar scientist Wim C Sinke told Dezeen in a recent interview that the solar energy industry must embrace the circular economy to ensure manufacturing and waste issues do not limit its potential.
“There is no limitation if you do everything perfectly if you use the right materials and introduce circular technology,” he said.
“But we’re not successful in that, so there are limitations, especially if we want to expand the sector rapidly.”
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The Bottom Line: Solar Panel Technology Is Crucial For The Future Of Clean Energy
Concern about the climate and electricity rate hikes are encouraging many home and business owners to look to the sun. Dramatic price decreases in recent years and government incentives are making solar energy highly appealing. As technology continues to improve efficiency and costs hopefully continue to decrease, solar should become more accessible to a larger portion of the world population.
If youre ready to switch to clean energy and potentially save on utility bills, consult a Rocket SolarSM expert to discuss installing solar panels on your home.
No More Power Outrage
We are too dependent on something that doesnt let us be independent. Even if you wish to stay in places thats far away from cities/ towns, away from residential setups you cant, because theres no electricity available in such remote areas. But with solar energy now its possible to stay remotely.
With this we can boast that shortage of fossil fuels will never bother again. With the increasing demand of solar power there shall be a huge decrease in power outages.
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Less Pollution: Cleaner & Greener Environment
How much fossil fuel do you use in your day-to-day activities? Now think how much is consumed by the people living near you? The amount keeps getting bigger. We all love a clean-fresh environment, and still knowingly or unknowingly we are harming the environment. Burning fossil fuels for our daily energy needs produces toxic emissions like nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide etc.
The only solution to this problem is switching to green energy options like Solar energy. Solar energy doesnt contribute to harmful emissions. Using solar panels to generate electricity reduces carbon footprint and helps the environment to stay protected.
The Future Of Solar Energy In India
The future of solar energy in India1. Geographical Advantage2. Upcoming Solar Projects in India3. How to Use Solar Energy in Multiple Applications Around You?4. Highly Advantageous at Cheap Cost5. Employment Prospects
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yangna/Getty Images The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent in any way the editorial position of Euronews.Harald Överholm
Dr Harald Överholm is the founder and CEO of Alight, one of the EUs leading corporate solar providers. He is also a former member of the International Energy Agencys PVPS workgroup on solar business models. Here he gives us his take on why he thinks solar is the best renewable source of power we have at our disposal.
It is clear that the energy transition is underway and moving at a positive trajectory.
Our future will be driven forward by an almost 100 per cent mix of solar and wind energy coupled with battery storage – with rapid further electrification of transport and heating too.
I can confidently say that this vision is perfectly feasible within the next decade. And whats more, this future will have a very low CO2 footprint and usher in a new era of energy security and independence.
One thing that is important to point out is that short-term compromises need to be accepted in order to achieve this long-term vision and endpoint.
Prepare For Much Greater Penetration Of Pv Generation
CSP facilities can store thermal energy for hours, so they can produce dispatchable power. But CSP is only suitable for regions without frequent clouds or haze, and CSP is currently more costly than PV. PV will therefore continue for some time to be the main source of solar generation in the United States. In competitive wholesale electricity markets, the market value of PV output falls as PV penetration increases. This means PV costs have to keep declining for new PV investments to be economic. PV output also varies over time, and some of that variation is imperfectly predictable. Flexible fossil generators, demand management, CSP, hydro-electric facilities, and pumped storage can help cope with these characteristics of solar output. But they are unlikely to prove sufficient when PV accounts for a large share of total generation.
R& D aimed at developing low-cost, scalable energy storage technologies is a crucial part of a strategy to achieve economic PV deployment at large scale.
Because distribution network costs are typically recovered through per-kilowatt-hour charges on electricity consumed, owners of distributed PV generation shift some network costs, including the added costs to accommodate significant PV penetration, to other network users. These cost shifts subsidize distributed PV but raise issues of fairness and could engender resistance to PV expansion.
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Everything You Need To Know About Solar Panel
Basically with solar energy one can save their money on electricity bills.
It also regulates the evaluation of housing loans and its prices. Imagine a house that has solar panels installed on its roof, and it claims to reduce your electricity bill or make it 0/-
On the other hand theres another house that runs on the electricity coming from the local grid.
Which house has more value? The house with more value will always cost more.
Why Is Solar Power Such A Big Deal
Solar energy is highly variable and depends on the suns cycles. But cloud cover and changes in weather need to be considered.
At night, solar energy cannot generate electricity. This is where supplemental energy from fossil fuels is needed. Nonetheless, the technology behind solar powered generation is improving at a remarkable rate.
Solar energy has many benefits. Here are a few:
- It decentralizes the electrical grid
- It offers a significant source of employment
- Solar-powered homes can sell their energy back to the electric grid, earning a profit
- It is a major driver of economic growth
Homeowners who install rooftop solar power systems can expect to reduce their electrical bills up to 75%. Despite the initial cost, savings will continue for the life of a solar panel system.
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Nuclear And Hydrogen Are Important
For one, we should retain existing nuclear plants until they are no longer necessary, but lets also not allow the nuclear industry to have the power source relabelled as renewable, resilient or green, its not – so lets not fool ourselves.
Nuclear bears environmental and safety risks and encourages a dangerous reliance on a handful of centralised power plants. A further nuclear build-out would be a distraction insofar as it would suck in resources required to build our renewables-based future, while not providing a reliable way of generating more power within any relevant timeframe.
A similar distraction is hydrogen. It will play a niche role in coming years, such as in the production of fertiliser, and complex industrial processes, but we must not mistake hydrogen for a viable mass-power alternative.
Hydrogen has received an excessive amount of attention – disproportionate to the benefits it has produced to date, or could do in future – and it also carries the risk of enabling oil and gas companies to continue business as usual, via hydrogen production from gas.
To be clear, oil and gas companies have a role to play in the energy transition, but it should not involve the continued reliance on fossil fuels.
Instead, the funding, development and scaling of renewables such as solar and wind energy, and battery storage should be prioritised.
Whats In Store For Solar Energy
The International Energy Agency is expecting solar photovoltaics to make up 13% of global electricity by 2030. This is a huge increase from the 2% it was in 2016. This rapid growth is being driven by falling costs, increasing access to financing, and improved policy support.
The report also predicts that the number of people working in the solar PV industry will increase from 2.8 million in 2016 to 8.3 million by 2030. So, whats in store for the future of solar energy? Read on to find out!
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