There has never been a more opportune time in history to make the shift to sustainable energy solutions such as solar power.
More and more states are providing incentives like tax credits for businesses and homeowners who subscribe to solar energy options.
These attractive prospects have pushed solar energy innovators to come up with some exciting technologies to stay ahead of the race, and to revolutionize the way energy is produced. A Goldstein Research report even suggests that by 2024, the global market for solar power will reach US $430.2 billion in value.
If you’re considering this increasingly popular innovation, here are the most exciting solar energy breakthroughs worth watching out for in 2020.
In our fast-paced world, everyone is always on the go. Sometimes, not even portable options can catch up to the speed with which our lives move forward, hence the boom of technology products you can wear on your body.
Wearable solar devices like sun-powered watches and calculators have been around for the longest time, but engineers have recently made significant breakthroughs in terms of solar fabric. This year, we might just see the mass production of clothes that have tiny solar panels stitched into them.
Soon, we might be able to power phones and other devices simply by walking outside in our solar filament-embedded apparel.
Transparent solar panels
Scientists have been toying with the idea of absorbing invisible light wavelengths since 2014, but the efficiency of transparent solar panels leaves a lot to be desired. Most luminescent panels available in the market perform at one percent efficiency, and materials engineers are working to push that conversion efficiency rate to at least five percent.
If achieved this year, the aesthetically-appealing transparent panels might finally grab the attention of green building developers. The beauty of transparent solar panels is that they can literally generate power from home and car windows without violating any of the traditional design principles we are familiar with.
Like transparent solar panels, BIPV solar technology carefully incorporates solar technology into the form of a building’s roofs, canopies, walls, and facades, without compromising design. In the past, BIPV technology was only added to structures as a retrofit.
This year, we are expecting to see a lot more newly-built infrastructures where BIPV technology is planned and integrated into the initial building design. Since the cost of solar paneling is worked into the initial budget, builders are able to reduce the incremental cost of shifting to solar power.
Unified billing for mixed power sources
For a lot of households, the only thing stopping them from fully going solar is the upfront costs involved. This is why shared solar projects are expected to gain ground this year.
Community solar projects allow nearby residents to use energy harnessed from a shared solar farm without having to install any equipment on their homes. Power is coursed through local utilities who distribute it to homes and businesses in the area, just like traditional power sources. This is a great option for those who want to use renewable energy but cannot install solar panels or strips on their rental homes or apartments.
Shared solar farms also allow for unified billing. Instead of receiving two separate bills for your traditional and renewable energy sources, your solar subscription is integrated into your existing utility bills, making the switch to Community Solar hassle-free.
Floating solar farms
Floating solar farms form another kind of shared solar worth watching out for in 2020. Unlike land-based photovoltaic panels, farms floating on dams, reservoirs, and other bodies of water generate impressive electricity volumes without taking up pricey land or real estate.
Power generation companies have been installing floating solar plants in first world countries since 2008, but this year, multinational firms are introducing the technology to more emerging countries, marking the start of worldwide popularity for this solar energy innovation.
The best part about having all these solar innovation options in the pipeline is the increased accessibility of cleaner, more sustainable power sources all over the world.