How the Future of Solar Energy looks like?
Generating energy from the sun begins with the Photoelectric effect principle. Heinrich Hertz was the inventor of it in 1887. When light strikes a particular material, the photoelectric effect occurs, and it releases a current of electrons. That is basically how solar cells or photovoltaic cells work.
However, the productivity of harnessing energy by the sun is relatively low at the beginning. The hardship that scientists have faced is that the efficiency of energy harnessed from a given amount of sunlight. The proficiency of solar energy over the years has improved. In today’s technology, when light strikes PV cells, most of the power is lost by reflection or as heat. This situation reduces the efficiency of solar energy.
The First Solar Cell
The first solar cell is created and designed by Charles Fritts in 1883. It was made out of Selenium, including a thin layer of gold and only converted between 1-2% of the sun’s energy. Compared to the present time, efficiency was nominal. After that, in the 1950s, scientists at Bell Labs discovered that silicon was more effective than Selenium.
Switching to silicon allowed PV cells to work with 6% efficiency. But the cost of manufacture, at the time, made them only practical for particular uses such as on Spacecraft. Then, scientists were ready to face the 2nd challenge of lowering the cost of production. Thanks to the Exxon Corporation, which funded research in the 1970s, led to PV cells now being made from cheaper materials. This material change dropped the price of PV cells from $480 per watt to almost $100 per watt adjusted for inflation.
As for today’s situation, most modern silicon solar panels are either monocrystalline or polycrystalline. Their dark colour and trimmed corners distinguish monocrystalline PV cells. Each cell is a slim segment of a long cylinder of silicon. On the other hand, polycrystalline has a blue colour and are made out of molten silicon poured into thin films.
The most efficient PV cells today have efficiencies of around 20%. Furthermore, the cost per watt is expected to reduce to just 22 cents by 2022!
Statistics of Solar Power
With the high efficiencies and low production costs, Solar Power is now the fastest growing renewable energy source, making up two-thirds of net new capacity globally. Global photovoltaic power capacity broke 1 GW in the year 2000 in the first instance.
Today, global PV power capacity is well over 500 GW, accounting for around 1% of the world’s electricity generation. Moreover, according to a recent report out of Norway, the solar electricity generation will expand 65 times by 2050. Solar power has enormous growth potential, and it will get more prominent throughout the years.
New Solar Power Production Technology
There’s so much room for usage to grow and so much room for the technology to improve. In the 2018 November, the Institute for Solar Energy Research in Hamelin, Germany developed a solar cell that has an efficiency of 26.1%. This development was managed using Surface Passivation.
The technique involves two thin layers of silicon called passivating contacts, that compressed between the solar cell and its metal contact. The silicon layers are oxidized and crystallized. The connections included by healing broken atomic bonds on the silicon surface along with preventing electric charges from being trapped in the system, to increase the efficiency.
The Role of Solar Power on Global Electricity Demand
Global electricity demand is projected to grow by about seventy-five per cent over the next 25 years. Most of the development will happen in developing countries. Today, the cheapest energy sources are fossil fuels, but they come with obvious environmental consequences.
Carrying out an entirely new renewable platform isn’t easy, especially in countries that are heavily reliant on oil, coal, and gas. The prices of fossil fuels like oil, coal, and gas are changing rapidly. For now, they’ve all been a far cheaper option to solar – but Solar is catching up fast. Year-on-year solar power production is getting exponentially less expensive. Price means nothing without performance, and one of the most significant challenges facing solar pioneers is how to produce energy when the Sun isn’t shining. Today, a famous investor believes he’s found an innovative way to store solar energy.
Search for new solutions for Solar Energy
Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, has originated a new lithium-ion battery technology that’s being present as a consumer commodity. Powering homes is an initial point, but Musk’s company is emphasizing much more than the launch of a new product. In a performance tailored for a mass public, his bold assertions led to a reinvention of the way we power the globe.
In spite of all the current advancement, solar still only provides 1% of global electricity. To become a competitive member, it needs another significant logical leap. One expert in Oxford, England, assumes he may have the answer. In a deflated laboratory, tests are being carried out on a new matter that could be far more efficient at capturing energy than conventional silicon solar panels.
Large existing solar panels change around 20% of light into power as it passes through. In the lab, they can accomplish the same results with this new super-slim substance. Just connecting perovskite with regular silicon boards has already been proven to nearly double their production.
It’s early evidence of the potential for commodities utilizing perovskite to be profoundly efficient, lightweight and low-cost. If a technology like this can make the jump from the laboratory to the market, glass factories could produce electricity in a completely new process. With less necessity on the network, the economics of the energy industry could also change.
Top Countries that Will Lead the Solar Power Way
- The Indian government has already signed agreements for producing 105 GW of solar energy by 2020. It is both bold and farsighted move.
- Germany is also prepared a bright future with solar power. Compared to 1990, they increased their solar energy production more than eightfold.
- As for Uruguay, they are meeting 95% of their energy needs by using renewable energy sources. And they did it less than ten years.
- Last example, Iceland generates the cleanest energy. They produce electricity from all renewable sources like solar, wind, or geothermal, etc.