#Asia Solar energy is no more a novelty, but a necessity


It is an unarguable fact that the solar energy is the only key towards the sustainable energy sufficiency of the world and there are a lot of new technologies being developed every day to meet that objective

Next Wave of Solar Technologies Future of Solar Industry (1)

What used to be the demand of “energy efficient” of yesterday has become the “energy neutral” of today.

The world over, there is an acceptance today that we are in a real threat of a severely compromised life and lifestyle, should the climate change be allowed to go unchecked. The ways and means towards reduction of the Greenhouse Gases (GHG) is being widely discussed and being researched upon, throughout the world.

There is a huge push towards making our energy production and management systems as environment-friendly as possible. In fact, there is emerging evidence that we have perhaps already been a little late in this realization and efforts at a war-footing are required now.

Towards that end, the energy experts and town planners all over the world are looking at optimizing and harnessing the energy of the most-abundantly available, the cleanest and naturally renewable power source in the world, the Sun. It is an unarguable fact that the solar energy is the only key towards the sustainable energy sufficiency of the world and there are a lot of new technologies being developed every day to meet that objective.

So, where do we stand?

Well, not quite there but moving fast. Till about 1980, there were practically no commercial solar power plants in the world. By the year 2007, the combined output of the solar power plants was an abysmal 12,000 MW.

By 2010, this amount was 40,000MW that went up to 230,000MW in 2015. That is just 1 per cent of the total global electricity supply. One of the main reasons for this under-productivity is the fact that most widely-used materials used for the present technologies of making the photovoltaic panels or solar cells, as commonly known are expensive and the technology requires a high degree of industrial precision and expertise.

The increasing awareness and the concentrated efforts of companies and governments across the world towards minimizing the use of fossil fuels has meant that the solar energy development is in the top agenda of many of them.

They are providing all the support and finances required for innovation of the technology and making it more accessible and affordable. These efforts have variously bore fruit in the sense that the cost of the electricity from solar panels is continuously decreasing. By creating sustainable volumes, the overall costs are also being brought down significantly.

Where are we headed to?

The study and research of optimizing the solar technologies is on full swing all across the globe. After the photovoltaic cells, there have been promising researches done on dye-sensitized solar cells, organic photovoltaic and inorganic quantum dot solar cells. Whereas these do sound quite technical, these technologies can replace the existing silicon-based solar cells and can be less expensive, more flexible, thinner and provide far wider applications.

Let us discuss some of the few upcoming innovations and applications of the technological advancements in the Solar Power Harnessing technologies:

1) Increasing efficiency: It is a known fact that most solar generators can convert less than 1/4th of the sunlight into usable electricity. This inefficiency increases costs and makes the solar projects somewhat economically unviable.

The Swedish Company Ripasso Energy is said to have come up with a technology that can convert almost 34 per cent of the sun’s energy into electricity. A single dish can generate 75-85 megawatt hours of electricity in a year. This amount of energy can take care of the entire electricity needs of 24 homes in the UK, which is a high energy consuming country, per capita.

2) Solar sharing: For any upcoming technology with a large user base of the normal public, it is always beneficial to involve the masses in the development of the technology itself. Many companies are now offering to set up shared solar panels in neighbourhoods. In doing so, they are directly involving the public in maintaining these panels and deciding how to use the electricity produced.

3) Developing the infra: It is a fact that 40 per cent of the sunlight that reaches the earth is not the visible light, but lie in the infrared and ultraviolet spectrums. The traditional photovoltaic that is silicon-based can only convert the visible light into usable energy; hence leaving almost half go unused.

Researchers at an American Institute have done path breaking research and have developed solar panels made out of highly absorptive carbon nanotubes that are transparent. These can be placed on the existing silicon cells if required and can harness the infra red energy of the sun. Although this technology is still in nascent stages, there is no denying the fact that once it enters commercial production, it can change the solar energy landscape of the world dramatically and completely.

4) Promoting integration: The solar energy harnessing can get a huge incentive if there was away through which Solar Panels could be made a part of the buildings themselves. One of the innovations that have been a work in the making for almost 20 long years is the “building-integrated photovoltaic” (BVIPV) which is basically thin film solar panels that can be integrated seamlessly into building materials. These could be curtain walls, facades, windows or roofs. This technology, once widely available can cut out the substantial installation costs and will be visually appealing.

5) Making it portable: One of the discouraging factors in the popularization of the use of solar energy is its bulky and complicated installation. Lately quite a few solar panel companies have launched portable solar batteries that can be carried around to charge mobile phones, gadgets or torch lights. This comes very handy in difficult-to-reach areas or areas struck by a natural calamity where the electricity lines have been disrupted.

Professor Krebs of the Technical University of Denmark and his team were able to develop a large scale roll to roll printing technique by connecting more than 16,000 organic solar cells. The same company also makes a very efficient and easy to use roll up solar panel for charging mobile phone batteries that has a retractable photovoltaic panel and a lithium ion battery.

The American Company Power Film Solar has also been making Rollable Solar Panels with power outputs of 7 to 60 watts and retail for less than 100USD for the basic versions.

With the above discussions, it can be well seen that the use of solar energy is no more a novelty. It is being used and developed for large scale commercial use towards the objectives of lessening our reliance on the fossil fuels and towards a cleaner environment.

With the technologies fast developing, it is just a matter of time when we can hope to see the solar energy systems as one of the large contributors to the overall energy supply in the world.

The views expressed here are of the author’s, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them. e27 invites members from Asia’s tech industry and startup community to share their honest opinions and expert knowledge with our readers. If you are interested in sharing your point of view, submit your article here

The post Solar energy is no more a novelty, but a necessity appeared first on e27.

from e27 http://ift.tt/29iCIAA

This entry was posted in #Asia by Startup365. Bookmark the permalink.

About Startup365

Chaque jour nous vous présenterons une nouvelle Startup française ! Notre pays regorge de talents et d'entrepreneurs brillants ! Alors partons à la découverte des meilleures startup françaises ! Certaines d'entre elles sont dans une étape essentielle dans la vie d'une startup : la recherche de financement, notamment par le financement participatif (ou crowdfunding en anglais). Alors participez à cette grande aventure en leur faisant une petite donation ! Les startups françaises ont besoin de vous !