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Solar Technology: What’s New in 2019?

Posted on Sept. 23, 2019 by Sanghamitra Sinha Chowdhury

An addition to the newest solar technology is happening at a meteoric speed. According to the Renewables 2018 Global Status Report (GSR), the solar industry accounted for an upsurging growth in renewable energy future on one hand; while the deterioration in the overall transition speed on the other hand. We know how diplomatic it stands, if reports are to be believed, momentum in the power sector is quite positive. As a matter of fact, 2018 renewable power generation capacity witnessed its biggest annual increase ever, with an estimation of nearly 177 gig watts added globally. Putting together all the facts, we get to know that the global energy transition to a renewable future is not very far away. Coming back to the point, there are two main types of solar technology: photovoltaics (PV) and concentrated solar power (CSP). The first one- solar PV technology entraps sunlight for generating electric power and the latter one- concentrated solar power (CSP) harnesses solar energy for generating thermal energy powering heaters and turbines. Considering the amount of profit that businesses have leveraged from these two forms of solar energy over the years, opportunities for technical innovation is in high demand these days!

We all know that technology for solar energy is nothing new. In recent times, renewable energy sources and renewable energy types have grasped a principal part of the entire solar power sector. From 3D solar-cell designing to floating solar farms to installed solar flowers, to solar net metering and the federal solar tax credits, iSolarWorld has already informed you apropos an umpteen topics, lately. But there are many more such solar technology like bio-solar cells, energy harvesting trees, the transmission of power from space, that we are yet to tell you about. Below we have stated eight such latest innovations in the worldwide solar energy market that has created quite a buzz in recent times. Done with the intention of achieving more effective solar systems and obtaining low-cost electricity and heat through solar energy, these newfound technologies have enlightened the renewable energy future through their phenomenal performance. The important approach for every one of us is to be updated with the latest trends that will allow you to be one step ahead of the upcoming solar energy revolution. Now let us have a look below,

1.Solar Skin Design

When it comes to installing solar panels atop your house, your biggest concern is how will it look right? What if it is unpleasant to look at, now this concern has stirred up even the solar industry today! And as a result, the latest solar skin designs came into play. Credit goes to Sistine Solar, a Boston-based design firm that has led forward to the concept of aesthetic enhancement, allowing all kinds of solar panels to have a customized look. The MIT start-up “solar skin” product can be utilized to match the external appearance of a solar panel with a roof, without disturbing the panel efficiency or production.

2.Solar Water Purifiers

Researchers from Stanford University developed a new solar device in collaboration with the Department of Energy. The device can purify water when exposed to sunlight. The latest invented device represents that of a minuscule tablet and has reached ahead of its former inventions in terms of working efficiency. This new product of Stanford’s can access visible light and requires a very little amount of time to produce reliable drinking water. The latest innovation in solar-purifiers has made these minute devices the favorites among hikers and campers.

3.Solar Thermal Fuel (STF)

Guess without which element solar power is incomplete? Yes, its solar battery storage. Luckily, the future of solar involves an affordable storage solution that will establish it as a sustainable energy source for 24 hours a day. Solar batteries despite being a proper and trusted storage option are still not economically viable for the mainstream. MIT scientists have spent several years finding alternative solar-storage solutions. One such invention is Solar Thermal Fuels (STF’s). The internal mechanism of this technology resembles that of a typical battery. STF’s can harness sunlight energy, store it as a charge and then release it when prompted. The concern was with storing solar energy in the form of heat, but heat is supposed to dissipate over time. Then people thought of creating something that can charge energy rather than capture heat. This latest STF prototype is simply an improvement of a prior design that allows solar power to be stored as a liquid substance. Lately, researchers are behind a solid-state STF application for implementation on solar windows technology and other surfaces that are exposed to the sunlight.

4. Solar Tracking Mounts

Solar has undoubtedly reached the top preference list by a majority of home-owners today. Just because of this augmentation, ground-mounted solar is transforming itself into a viable clean energy option. Here, we welcome the tracking mount technology. The biggest advantage of solar-trackers is gaining the maximum amount of energy. They do tilt and shift their postures for imitating the movement of the sun in the sky. In this way, they capture maximum solar energy from it. This technology is in the air for long but it is being loved by solar manufacturers recently due to its yielding results. Research shows that a major upward trend in the popularity of tracking systems, predicting over 250 percent increase over the upcoming years for the PV tracking market. It is also perceived that by 2021, almost half of all ground mount arrays are bound to get flourished with solar-tracking facilities.

5. Solar Powered Roads

An all-new exciting PV technology is on its way! – Solar-powered roads. America’s historic interstate highway route 66 saw its sidewalks upholstered with this exciting new PV technology. This route was chosen as a testing location for solar PV technology. These improvised roadways come up with several technologies likable to generate clean energy, LED bulbs lighting roads at night, thermal heating capacity to melt snow during winters; and what not!

6. Wearable Solar

Give it a thought yourself, what about being clothed by solar? Isn’t that a gorgeous idea? Though it is not a new concept as they say there is always a place for innovation in the market. Apart from solar watches and solar gadgets, solar panels can now be stitched into the fabric of clothing! Solar has made its presence being felt over the textile industry quite remarkably. When both come together, it enables solar to get included in home products like window curtains, etc.

7.Space Solar Power

Now, this technology does entail a lot of advantages like - a higher collection rate and a longer collection period due to the lack of a diffusing atmosphere. Countries such as India, China, and Japan are investing heavily in these technologies right now. A very clear and latest example is the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA)’s Space Solar Power Systems (SSPS). This technology aims at transmitting energy from orbiting solar panels by 2030. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd (MHI) conducted a ground demonstration test of “wireless power transmission". The test represents the taste and flavor of SSPS. As it put a milestone in transmission distance and power load (enough to power a set of conventional kitchen appliances). JAXA has got huge expectations from this technology to become a mainstream energy source, solving both environmental and energy issues simultaneously.

8. Bio-Solar Cells

Researchers connected nine bio-solar cells into a big-solar panel and then produced continuous electricity from there. As a result, fetched the maximum amount of wattage possible from any bio-cell. With time, they thought of re-inventing these technologies. Materials of the cathodes and anodes were altered, along with some other changes. After a few trials, a scalable and stackable; the highly-efficient bio-solar panel was created. That panel is capable of generating electricity with the help of photosynthesis and respiratory activities of the bacteria in a 12-hour day-night cycle over 60 total hours.

Conclusion

This is for all of you considering solar panel systems; I hope you have well understood how important solar-technology evolution is for us. Efficiency upgrades, storage improvements and equipment capabilities all contribute to more efficient power output for solar panels and lower costs for systems. The benefits of today’s advanced solar-products have in a way changed the renewable energy definition.

Solar energy is one of the most easy, abundant and free energy resources in the universe. The sun rays are a medley of electromagnetic, infrared and ultraviolet waves coming out of an electromagnetic spectrum, the estimated annual potential of solar energy is around 50,000 EJ, which is enough to provide for the entire energy consumption on earth several times. Now, this is a facility that we must be utilizing as much as we can, don’t you agree?

Albert Einstein once published a paper called: “The Photoelectric Effect,” since then “photovoltaic effect” had its way in front of the whole world. Both these processes have the same mechanism but the results are different. Actually photovoltaics or solar PV is today the most widespread solar technology. The evolution of the latest digital and electronic media has enabled us cost-reduction in manufacturing photovoltaic cells to an achievable amount even for residential purposes. But there is a lot more included in solar energy-harnessing than just photovoltaics. Several diverse and effective solar technologies are coming up in the market that makes the whole process of solar power harnessing easier.

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