Solar Power Trends: Navigate the Future of Energy
Of all the energy resources available on Earth, solar energy is the cleanest and most affordable. In addition, we can highlight its versatility. The resource can be converted into heat and electricity, which allows it to be used in many areas.
This is possible thanks to photons, which contain energy. It is this energy that is the basis of a renewable source and comes to the Earth in large quantities every day. Realizing all the benefits, experts are constantly developing solar energy innovations in this area and creating all the conditions for a prosperous future of solar panels and sustainable development.
Rising Popularity of Smart Homes
The benefits of an eco-friendly source of electricity are becoming increasingly apparent, so many homeowners are thinking about how to install solar panels to meet their specific needs. There are many ways to use solar power for homes. In particular, it is suitable for powering smart solar solutions that improve the comfort of living.
In subsequent years, analysts predict that most new residential and commercial properties will be built with smart systems. So if you are into renewable energy trends and decide to build an eco-friendly house it’s better to check solar systems reviews to find a professional team.
Most modern solar panels have a rather garish appearance, which is almost impossible to integrate organically into the urban environment. This is explained by the fact that they are mostly made of silicon, which looks quite heavy. This element perfectly turns sunlight into electricity, but it is not the only one capable of performing this function. Today, scientists are trying to find an alternative that can be embedded directly into the glass. Imagine that you are sitting next to the window, basking in the sun, and then recharge your cell phone through a connector in the frame.
To achieve this, we need to find a transparent material that is lighter than silicon. Solar cells made of organic compounds have come to the rescue. About 43% of the radiation passes through cells of this type available today. This, of course, is dark for the windows of a private house or apartment, but it is perfect for “tinting” the windows of office high-rises.
These batteries are much cheaper to produce than silicon batteries. They are also very light and can be adapted to cell phone screens and car roofs. They do have one serious drawback though – low efficiency. They convert only 13% of solar energy into electricity, while silicon batteries have an 18-22% conversion rate. However, the ease of use and installation of organic solar cells means that they can be used anywhere. Including on surfaces that were not previously considered to hold any promise in terms of electricity generation.
Engineers are trying to get thermal clean energy solutions to heat homes. They are designing storage batteries filled with what is called “solar thermal fuel.” This is a substance that absorbs energy and then releases it at will. The sun’s rays break its chemical bonds, causing the molecules to rearrange themselves, acquiring a new, more heat-consuming configuration. Swedish researchers were able to create a fuel that can store energy for nearly two decades in this way. The release occurs through a physical filter that acts as a catalyst and returns the molecules to their original state.
The Swedes managed to raise the temperature around their device by 63 degrees in just a few minutes, but they are determined to improve the result. If this technology is brought to fruition, it is sure to become highly sought after. A thrifty landlord puts a device on the roof of his house that is simply warmed by the sun’s rays. Then, with the onset of winter, he simply flicks a switch and his home is warm. No electricity or gas bills, no harmful emissions or pollution. This process can be repeated over and over again.
The first modern hybrid car was created in 1982. Hans Tholstrup, the creator of a vehicle called the Silent Record Breaker, drove his brainchild across Australia at a maximum speed of 20 km/h.
Electric cars work without harmful emissions into the atmosphere, but there are pitfalls here too. In order for eco-friendly electricity to reach the socket from which the electric motor battery is charged, power stations, high-voltage lines, and charging communications are needed, and all this also harms nature, although not so noticeable, but very tangible. In this situation, solar-powered electric cars are a really great alternative. They have disadvantages, but there are also a lot of advantages.
Another option for using this type of power supply, which is already actively used in some models – installation of solar panels on the roofs of cars as an additional power source. That is, in this case, the battery does not power the engine and the entire car, but individual power consumers, such as climate control.
There is no mass production of these and other solar cars due to low practicality – the cost is high, and efficiency is low. However, it turned out to be very convenient and profitable to introduce the technology into hybrid cars as an additional power supply. It is possible to name the most expected and successful developments in this field, which are soon expected on the market:
- Sono Motors is a German development. In fact, they plan to create an electric car with independent charging from solar panels, they will become an additional power supply for the car when it can not be connected to the network. In this model, it is worth noting one more interesting feature – the system of air purification from strands of island moss, built into the dashboard. Biological air filter regulating temperature and humidity.
- Toyota Solar Prius – there is already a Prius with solar panels, but in the update, they will be unique – ultra-thin, the development of the company Sharp, it is this type of battery is installed on spacecraft. The panels are more efficient than the silicon panels that are usually used, they will be able to increase the range of up to 56 kilometers.
It is generally accepted that the ideal place to use solar panel technology is the vast deserts of our planet. There’s plenty of light and virtually no clouds. The problem is that current-generating panels do not like heat. They work most efficiently at temperatures of less than 25 degrees Celsius. However, in temperate climates, it is not easy for them to find enough free space. The noughties saw the gradual introduction of a seemingly win-win solution – Agrivoltaics. The technology involves installing solar panels directly over crop fields. This not only eliminates the need to clear additional space for the batteries themselves but also allows them to be cooled using the water that the plants beneath them evaporate.
Researchers from the University of Arizona were not lazy to find out that in the period from May to July, such solar panels gave three percent more energy than conventional. It doesn’t seem like much, but we should not forget that this is an ongoing process, and even a small benefit turns into a very noticeable increase over time. Engineers are now trying to extend this concept to water bodies. The technology has already been given a name: “photovoltaics”. Here, the panels are placed above the water surface, the vapor from which is also designed to increase the performance of the batteries by cooling them to the optimum temperature.
Application of AI in Photovoltaics
It is expected more than 70% of all solar photovoltaic systems will utilize artificial intelligence tools.
These technologies allow us to expand the functionality. In particular, we are talking about several promising innovations:
- Improving the performance of trackers (provided by the ability to “self-learn”, which ensures a higher output, and an increase in data volume)
- installation of higher protection for modules and identification of the proactive type
- the ability to diagnose system failures (a separate AI function)
- improvement of performance indicators in automatic mode.
The benefits of smart energy and automation are obvious – improving energy efficiency, saving energy resources, reducing environmental impact, and increasing the reliability of the energy system. In addition, it promotes the development of grid infrastructure and creates new opportunities for the use of renewable energy sources.
Currently, the market continues to trend toward cheaper solar power adoption. However, at the same time, the need for maintenance and the level of its complexity are increasing. Under such conditions, artificial intelligence is in high demand, as it allows to improve the functionality of solar systems.
Moreover, influencers and experts predict an increase in the value of automation and smart technologies for solar energy. This is not surprising, as these innovations provide several benefits at once.
These include ensuring a stable supply of electricity, higher resource efficiency, and adaptation to constantly changing conditions. Thus, automated solutions and smart add-ons are becoming more popular every day. In particular, among structural engineers.
From the above information, we can conclude that in developed countries, the share of solar technologies in the energy market will grow significantly, and the services of solar power providers will become more in demand. This is due to several advantages of solar power benefits that are becoming more and more obvious. These include the reduction of harmful emissions, the renewable resource of the sun, and stable power supply.