In 2019, Solar Novus brought you the significant news stories as they happened, such as the growth in solar-plus-storage, generous funding for solar research, new inverters and other product launches and political issues like the solar tariffs and extension of the ITC. At the same time, our in-depth features drilled down to the details that you need to know in order to stay on the cutting edge. Here we bring you the top ten most read articles of 2019.
At the end of 2018, 500GW of PV capacity had been installed globally, and a report from the Global
Alliance of Solar Energy Research Institutes anticipates that 10 terawatts (TW) will be installed by 2030 and as much as 70TW by 2050. In the United States alone 2.7 gigawatts of solar was installed in the first three months of this year, making it the most solar ever installed in the first quarter of a year. As costs come down and supporting technology advances, the trend will only continue. Read about the business opportunities in the solar industry. Economies of scale are driving strong growth in the expansion of utility-scale energy storage. Expansion of the electric vehicle charging infrastructure will give rise to the solar-powered transportation sector. The materials markets serving the solar industry is projected to approach $20billion by 2024, or a CAGR of over 11%. As an investment, solar is expected to remain attractive as costs continue to decline while electricity demand and costs are expected to increase 62% through 2050.
The technology behind silicon solar cells hasn’t changed much in decades, although efficiencies have been boosted with incremental improvements, such as a new coating developed at the University of Texas. Perovskites, however, are one of the big changes in solar technology in recent years. Perovskites have a combination of good opto-electronic properties with low material and manufacturing costs, making them a suitable material for any application that involves light
absorption, emission and detection. Read about how researchers around the world are looking at perovskites to enhance a variety of light-based devices, finding that they can be used not just in good old-fashioned solar cells, but also in X-ray detectors, laser projection systems and more.
Clean solar panels can dramatically enhance system efficiency, but doing so can be dangerous, labor-intensive and ineffective. Uncleaned systems can also break down far sooner than regularly and properly cleaned systems. Read about a recent
innovation that is helping companies conquer solar panel cleaning.
TG hyLIFT GmbH of Germany has designed a battery-powered, remote-controlled buggy that enables users to clean up to five times faster than manual labor. The buggy is safer than manual cleaning of solar panels and can dramatically improve the efficiency of the solar power system. This article explains how the buggy works, the setup and more. It’s been found that dirty solar panels can be 30% less efficient, so a safe and simple cleaning buggy may prove to be aa worthwhile investment.
A microgrid is a local energy grid with control capability. It can be connected to the grid or not, but it can be disconnected to the grid and operate independently. By its very definition, it works well with energy storage, and due to the decreasing cost of energy storage, microgrids with battery storage
are becoming much more commonplace. Some trends in microgrids and energy storage include dropping prices and the challenge of getting public utility commissions to see the benefits to the entire rate base. Read about who benefits from microgrids and how.
A homeowner in San Antonio, Texas decided to include a solar energy system on the roof of his new home that would enable him to reduce his utility bill, while also generating his own clean energy. This case study describes the system that he had installed, which met his community’s strict building standards.
He chose CertainTeed’s Apollo Tile, which features a low-profile design that integrates with concrete tile roofs. Read about the installation of 350 solar tiles that cover 1499 square feet of roof space. In its first year the system produced more than 28,000 kilowatt hours of energy.
The current transducers used in photovoltaic inverters are following trends toward reduced footprints, while maintaining or improving performance, and doing so at a lower cost. For example, a 2kW inverter available in 2010 and weighing over 20 kg, had been replaced in 2016 by a model weighing less than 10 kg.
The transducer size must also reduce without any performance degradation. Similarly, their cost must reduce to follow the downwards cost trend of the complete inverter system. Read about how this is possible in this feature written by electric measurement experts.
In 2035, the world will be on an accelerated path to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and eventually become carbon neutral by 2050. In the years up to 2035, the residential and industrial demand for electricity will keep on growing, especially if heating
with gas and oil is phased out and replaced by electricity. In addition, in countries like Belgium, nuclear energy plants will no longer be part of the energy mix. Wind and solar energy will have to fill a large share of the gap. To make this reality, wind and solar energy generation will have to grow tremendously from where we are today. This inspiring article discusses future electrical needs, efficiencies, renewable energy and storage as well as smart energy grids.
While no-one would argue that the increased availability and use of solar power has reduced our carbon output, we risk undoing much of this good work if we do not find environmentally friendly ways of disposing of used solar panels. Currently, legal requirements for the safe disposal of solar panels vary between legislations.
This article describes two ways in which to reduce e-waste from solar panels. One is to incentivize recycling, and the other is to promote solar leasing whereby the panels would be returned to the manufacturer at the end of their useful life. The manufacturer would then take them apart and reuse what materials they can, and/or repurpose the panels.
Recent solar research is bringing down the cost of solar as well as increasing efficiencies.
It is also expanding the use of solar in ways that can help solve environmental problems, like the need for clean drinking water.
Read about the latest cutting-edge research from around the world that is advancing solar technology as well as using it for the betterment of the world’s population.
At a time when per acre farm revenue is down, development pressure on farmland is up and
hundreds of family farms are lost each year, a growing number of farmers and rural communities are discovering that solar provides a surprising and welcome boost to the increasingly challenging economics of agribusiness. Read about this growing trend—called agrivoltaics—and the many benefits for the soil, the farmers and the world at large.
Written by Anne Fischer, Managing Editor, Solar Novus Today