In a boost for renewables, the use and implementation of solar is on a rise. Solar energy is the energy procured from the sun which is later converted into electricity or thermal energy. It is considered to be one of the cleanest and the most widely available sources of energy. It is a rather adaptable energy source as it can be deployed as a distributed generation energy that is, at or near the point of use or as a utility-scale solar power plant, similar to other traditional power plants.
The real bridge to a clean-energy future is energy storage. For the same, both the methods described above can be used to store energy for later distribution even when the sun goes down. Facilities with storage systems capable of storing enough renewable energy to power numerous structures are being installed as a result of technological developments. With the combination of cutting-edge energy and storage technology, solar becomes the preferred choice. Storage technologies, like solar, also boost power efficiency by allowing businesses to generate power at the most cost-effective and reliable times, as well as providing an uninterruptible source of power for essential infrastructure and services.
Recent Major Projects
Solar power has emerged as one of the most viable sources of renewable energy to address this problem as the world seeks to strike the right balance between energy stability, economic growth, and environmental sustainability. The advent of “large battery” or the “big battery” technology is the solution to a major challenge for renewable energy, that is the intermittency of wind and solar. By the means of storage batteries, generation and consumption of energy can take place at different times even in the absence of the source. During a power outage, solar and storage will provide backup power. They will keep vital facilities running and ensure that basic resources, such as communications, are available at all times. Microgrids and smaller-scale devices, such as mobile or portable power units, may also benefit from solar and storage. What began as an experiment of solar energy and large storage batteries appears to have ignited a $2.8 billion global investment boom, with a 103% rise in the renewable energy storage industry. By the year 2025, energy storage costs would have fallen by more than two-thirds, and potential demand for renewable energy would be tripled. The size of the global economy will be six times what it is now by the end of 2030. The solar power industry’s future would aid in the adoption of energy-efficient technologies by many companies.
New developments in the industry of solar power technology are making energy-efficient technologies more available to a wider range of businesses. Additionally, as technology advances and grows in popularity, so does the cost-cutting and energy-saving advantages it offers. Let us walk through some of the big technological trends that could propel this industry in the coming years.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Machine learning and artificial intelligence are two trends to watch out for in the emerging solar energy technology solutions, such as microgrid controllers. This enables the technology to adapt to the needs of the market and grow in tandem with changing solar energy trends. The new software is helping to shape the future of how companies will use artificial intelligence and machine learning in solar energy technology as new technology emerges to meet the growing needs of the solar energy industry and the businesses that use it as an energy-efficient resource.
- Floating Solar Photovoltaic Plants
As the name implies, a solar PV installation device is installed on a floating structure over a water body, usually an artificial basin or a lake. Because of the cooling effect of water, floating solar PV modules generate around 10% more power than land-based or rooftop solar plants. Even though floating solar photovoltaic projects have been around for a while, it has recently gained a lot of traction in the solar power production mix.
Although blockchain is most commonly associated with the cryptocurrency market, it is also being used in the energy industry. This is a cost-effective way for businesses to purchase and sell electricity directly from others, bypassing the need for indirect energy suppliers. As a result, solar energy technology is a perfect way for customers to take advantage of this energy-saving initiative in a cost-effective and simple manner.
Market Growth Trends
Stringent environmental friendly regulations around the world have led companies to look out for low-carbon technology options, such as renewables. In light of the same, the global demand and usage of solar technology are expected to rise by 6% in the coming years.
- Due to its large share of more than 98% of total solar energy installed capacity in 2019 and upcoming projects, the solar photovoltaic (PV) segment is expected to be the largest and fastest-growing segment in the years to come.
- As part of numerous international agencies’ and regions’ efforts to reduce carbon emissions and decarbonize the energy market, solar generation is projected to account for about 13% of the total energy mix by 2030, with more than 2000 GW of installed capacity
Types Of Energy Storage
- Pumped-Storage Hydropower
Pumped-storage Hydropower is a water based energy storage technology. When energy demand is poor, electrical energy is used to pump water uphill into a reservoir. When demand is high, the water can be allowed to flow back downhill and transform into a turbine to produce electricity. The technology necessitates suitable landscapes and reservoirs, which can be natural lakes or man-made dams, as well as lengthy regulatory approvals, long implementation periods, and a high initial capital investment.
- Electrochemical Storage
This technology works on the mechanism that causes a chemical reaction when electricity is fed in the battery that results in storing electricity. When the battery is discharged, the chemical reaction is reversible, resulting in voltage between two electrical contacts and current flowing out of the battery.
- Flywheel Storage
A flywheel is a large wheel with a revolving shaft fixed to it. The wheel can be made to spin faster by expending energy. By attaching the wheel to the generator, energy can be extracted by the means of electromagnetism that slows the wheel down and produces electricity. Even though flywheels are efficient enough at generating electricity, they are not capable of storing it.
- Compressed Air Storage
Large containers, such as tanks, or natural formations, such as caves, are used as compressed air storage systems. The vessels are pumped full of pressurized air by a compressor system. The air can then be released and used to power an electricity-generating turbine.
- Solar Fuels
Solar energy can be used to produce solar fuels or new fuels that can be burned or consumed for providing energy. Solar energy can essentially be stored in chemical bonds.
- Virtual Storage
Energy can also be stored in multiple devices that we use. For instance, through heating or cooling a water heater before a predicted peak in electrical demand, the heater can “store” thermal energy so that it would not consume electricity later in the day. By holding cold or warm air, the heater acts as a thermos itself.
- Liquid Air
Liquid Air runs on a mechanism that cools air and stores it in above-ground tanks under pressure. The compression and power generators are sourced from well-established supply chains in well-established industries.
With rapid technical advancements, improvements and creativity, the solar industry is constantly evolving. The adoption of these novel technologies would further reduce prices, and solar power will soon become the primary source of energy for the majority of the world’s population. This, in fact, would have a favourable effect on the atmosphere and climate change. Thanks to the advances in solar cell technology, storing energy becomes easy. Even though some energy is lost in the conversion and retrieval of energy, it does allow for the flexible use of energy at times other than when it was produced. By striking a balance between supply and demand, the stored energy cannot just boost device efficiency and resilience, but can also improve power quality. Solar-plus-storage systems will support both residential and commercial solar customers, as well as utilities and large-scale solar operators. A few years down the line, solar and storage solutions will become more affordable and accessible to all. The trends discussed above would not just revolutionize the solar industry but would also change our mindset about harnessing solar energy.