The solar industry is leading the way in its digital transformation compared to other energy industries. These are the key findings of DNV GL’s report on Digitalization and the Future of the Solar Energy Industry, which surveyed nearly 2000 engineers and senior executives from start-ups to large corporations in the energy sector.
Solar companies are putting a strong focus on blockchain technology to drive their digital transformation, with 12% of respondents stating that skillsets to implement blockchain applications are needed in their industry, which is 50% higher than in other energy industries. The use of this technology is still in its infancy, however blockchain applications provide the opportunity to make an impact on areas such as decentralized energy transactions, renewable energy provenance, metering and billing.
Other digital technologies that are more advanced are already an integral part of the solar industry. Drones for asset inspections, mapping using satellite data and automated resource assessment, for example, are widely used in the solar industry, with 33% of respondents saying these are making an impact on their business, which is 1/3 higher than for the rest of the energy industry.
However, the solar industry also identified a lack of standards in their trade. Although the solar business has made attempts at standardization it isn’t as advanced as other industries. Defining a framework based on digital tools will ensure the industry can develop to the next level.
“The solar industry has been traditionally very progressive in adopting new digital technologies, which has been key for much of the industry’s growth. Our survey results show that many industries saw the lack of a digital mindset as a main barrier to digitalization. However, only 13% of solar respondents ranked this as their number one concern, which is the lowest of all industries surveyed. We see that the mindset of the solar industry is geared towards embracing new technologies to further advancements in their field, which is a very promising signal that digitalization will play an integral part in solving the challenges the industry will face in the future,” said Ditlev Engel, CEO of DNV GL Energy.