The solar industry has come a long way over the last decade. The global market in 2010 was very limited and reliant on subsidies in countries like Italy, Germany, and the UK. The widespread use of solar power has faced a variety of obstacles in recent years. For these ambitions, fast technological advancements were necessary with aggressive price goals that set high bars. Nevertheless, the solar industry excellently and solar systems have reached record levels in 2020.
Only at the end of 2019, global grid-connected solar power hit 580.1 GW, along with 3.4 GW off-grid pV as per the International Renewable Energy Agency. Even by the end of 2019, the US alone had installed over 2000000 PV systems with a total solar capacity of approximately 71300 MW as well as a capacity of over 100 TWh.
The global solar industry is predicting a 14 percent increase in 2020 compared with its global solar capacity installed in 2019, as a report by IHS Markit published throughout early 2020. Throughout the year, they planned to install an additional 142 GW, seven times the total solar capacity installed in 2010. Of course, neither one of us knew that the entire world would be suffering from a pandemic in January when this was written. While a recent evaluation has shown that global renewable energy growth is being hurt by the Covid-19 crisis, it does not halt. In the US, rooftop facilities were affected; however, the solar market remained remarkably robust, and record facilities are still expected to reach in 2020.
Solar Energy Cost
In the last decade, solar costs have certainly plummeted as new technologies are promising to raise solar efficiency further cheaper, particularly in sunnier areas, where a new generation of electricity already has developed into the lowest cost. Since solar energy is readily available as well as renewable, Solar will become the largest source of electricity in much of the world by 2030. The solar industry is rapidly increasing before solar power becomes immutable as compared with fossil fuels, which would have a positive effect on the environment as well as climate change. Solar can be installed easily and fast and can be flexibly powered as anything just as small as just a watch or as big as a city. The adaptability of Solar means that over the next ten years there’s no excuse why the solar sector should not continue to expand.
There are concrete proposals for cost savings in the solar industry so that solar costs can be halved by 2030.
It is expected to continue to reduce costs and mount silicon solar cells in significant numbers. The US is expected by at least 700 percent that these cost reductions will increase solar power produced by 2050! In the meantime, research is ongoing on various designs to make solar cells more powerful and cheaper.
Solar Cells Future
Higher performance modules have already been designed today to generate 1.5 times higher power than current modules with tandem silicone cell technology.
A new design needs to be capable of capturing more light, transforming light energy more effectively into power, and building less than the current designs in such an effort to overcome existing solar cells. There really is no question that solar energy would be taken up by the energy manufacturers and customers if the energy they generate is equivalent or cheaper than any other non-renewable energy.
One choice for the capture of more light from solar cells is to install solar cell electronics which monitor the sun as it passes through the sky by day. If the solar cell still points to the sun, far more photons strike it than if it just points at midday towards the sun. The cost of developing electronics that can achieve this precisely and reliably for many decades is currently prohibitive. Its use of mirrors to light a smaller and thus less expensive solar cell is also an alternative to having the solar cell itself move.
The efficiency of solar cells is yet another way to enhance the way they operate so that they can better turn sunlight into power. Solar cells with far more than just one layer of light collection material have shown themselves to absorb more photons than solar cells with a single layer. These cells are currently also too costly and hard to commercially use, but continuing research will allow the super-efficient cells one day to be implemented.
Production advances are all in the pipeline, which will reduce the volume of costly materials used to produce solar cells like silver and silicone. If we look into the future, alternatives to silicone are likely to emerge in our solar farms as well as rooftops to provide safe and sustainable energy sources.
The simple reduction of solar cell costs is an alternative to improving performance. Regardless of the fact that silicone manufacturing has decreased over the years, it still greatly raises the cost of solar cell installation. The price of materials is lower if thinner solar cells are used. These “thin-film solar cells” have used a material layer that only covers 2 to 8 micrometers in thickness, only about 1 percent of the amount used in the production of a conventional solar cell. These thin-film cells are, however, similar to cells with several layers that restrict their use, but research is ongoing.
Another breakthrough is the creation of bifacial modules that allow panels from both sides to collect solar energy. In addition, engineers continue to look for ways to further integrate solar energy into our homes, companies, and energy systems. This calls for better power electronics and more cost-effective emerging technology.
Sun Sets Down on the Fossil Fuels
A variety of different factors are driving the transition of energy supplies worldwide away from polluting sources like oil, coal, and gas. One aspect that drives this transition is political because the world is stepping up its efforts to reduce temperatures by less than 2 degrees Celsius in conformity with the 2015 Paris Agreement. Another significant factor is the economy because renewable energy costs have decreased considerably and have become competitive with many other energy sources. One-third factor behind improvements is market demand by increasingly introducing new technologies such as electric cars and solar photovoltaics.