It was just about a decade ago that the world began experimenting with solar power in earnest. A global energy crisis was in the offing. Traditional fossil fuels were non-renewable, and getting rapidly depleted due to overuse.
Therefore, it became necessary to look for viable alternatives. Renewable solar energy seemed to be the perfect answer. Since then, world leaders have begun to pay great attention to the harnessing of solar power for fulfilling energy needs. A perusal of the current scenario suggests that solar power may very well rule the world in the future.
There are several reasons for this kind of observation.
In June 2019, a research organization, BloombergNEF, came up with some startling statistics about renewable energy.
According to the report, solar and wind power will rule the world by 2050. They will take charge of almost 50% of global electricity needs. Other forms of renewable energy, such as nuclear, hydro, etc., will suffice to provide another 21% of electricity. Thus, fossil fuels such as coal will take a backseat.
Such data denotes that a world, which has been highly dependent upon traditional fossil fuels, is changing mindset. Global warming and climate change have been influential in this regard. It is why many nations came together in 2015 to sign the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
Every signee promised that by 2050, there would be a reduction in carbon emissions by 70% and beyond. In other words, nations will go all out to deploy renewable forms of energy on a massive scale. Several countries have already begun to work on their promises.
Note that solar is not a fuel, but a technology. Therefore, innovative technological advancements can go a long way in making solar energy more affordable. Thus, energy experts are giving significant attention to the reduction in costs for the manufacturing of various components. They are also figuring out ways to harness and use solar power more efficiently.
Several academicians are also lending a hand via relevant research studies. One such is the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and the other is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
They believe that slimmer silicon wafers could help in making solar energy more cost-effective. For instance, the majority of manufacturers use crystalline silicon to create solar panels. Every panel comprises of numerous photovoltaic cells. Wafers of silicon come into play for manufacturing these cells.
However, these wafers possess a thickness of 160 micrometres. As per the study, it is possible to use technology for reducing the thickness to 100 micrometres, and maybe even to 40 micrometres in the future. Bulk production of thinner photovoltaic cells would save on time, effort and expense. Above all, an expensive initial investment would bring inexpensive and cleaner rewards in the future.
Solar technology uses silver too in the production of solar cells. Therefore, governments are striving to not only bring down the costs of silicon and silver but also reduce their usage in the manufacture of photovoltaic cells.
Then again, experiments with bifacial modules are becoming popular. These solar panels help in capturing the sun’s energy from both sides. Thus, low-cost technologies and power electronics are playing tremendous roles in popularizing solar power.
Many governments are offering incentives such as cash rebates, exemptions in taxes, etc., to encourage people to favour solar power for their electricity needs. Fortunately, a growing awareness is coming into play. People realize that they can reduce their utility bills if they have solar installations in place. The fittings are inexpensive, as well as easy to maintain.
Furthermore, solar panels have a longer life span, going up to 20/25 years, at times. Finally, modern solar panels are capable of storing sufficient power during the daytime. This proves useful for the nights.
This source of renewable energy does not cause air pollution. There need be no fear of Greenhouse Gases accumulating in the environment. In contrast, the usage of fossil fuels causes so much damage to the lives of humans, animals and plants. Thus, the air remains cleaner and greener.
Solar power is useful for producing heat and light, specifically in areas having trouble with traditional methods of generating electricity. It helps to distil water in areas having very little in the way of clean water supplies. It is possible to power satellites in space with the sun’s energy.
Today, people are experimenting with solar energy windows! One never knows what other innovations will show up in the future!