2020 and 2021 have been years of extreme stress in the very term, especially in the sector of health and economics. However, the world managed to get out of this these turbulent years. During those years, the solar industry also developed new solar technology that can revolutionize energy production. The solar energy industry has come from a hiatus because many projects were canceled because of COVID-19. Now photovoltaic panels are expected to be installed much higher than in last years. Many countries have already planned and tried to exceed their solar capacity for upcoming years, as many governments are setting efficient goals for decarbonization. They have updated solar panel technology for energy production in the upcoming years. During the lockdown period, they have been thinking about saving energy and relying on natural resources and fossil fuels as much as possible.
In the last forty years, there has been a dynamic surge in the use of photovoltaic panels in the US and many other countries. The more solar panels are coming to market, the more chances we have to reduce reliance on natural resources and fossil fuels. Moreover, embracing solar technology in our lives will crucially advance it, making us free on the move. Although about 10.6 GW of energy was harnessed in recent years, attempts are being made with the new and latest solar panel technology to make it even better. Efforts have been made in this case to develop technology that requires low maintenance but generates more power. Some of the best solar panel technologies that will revolutionize energy production we will discuss below:
Green Hydrogen Technology
Users and developers have always demanded green Hydrogen Technology. The year 2021 witnessed a major boom in interest in this technology. This technology has managed to gain the attention of some major companies from all across the world. In the US, solar panel energy companies are planning to invest in green hydrogen technology production units all across the country. In Switzerland and Canada, much attention is being given to the production of green hydrogen technology. This technology means that the electrolysis ability in green hydrogen can produce energy from any source of water, preferably salt water. Some companies have joined hands, and the process of production of green silicon material is already undergoing.
Building Integrated Photovoltaics
Many buildings in residential blocks and commercial areas have wide surfaces that can easily and efficiently contribute to producing solar energy without disturbing the image of the buildings. Building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) has an aesthetic appeal that can enhance society to interest in solar technology. Customized panels have already earned popularity as a great solution for terraces and backyards. Nevertheless, the most popular and attractive product nowadays is photovoltaic glass.
These photovoltaic panels are manufactured from transparent photovoltaic cells. When the sunlight touches the photovoltaic glass, it lets sunlight enter the building, meanwhile producing invisible energy side by side. This new feature can be easily installed while renewing a building. The incorporation of solar power into the architecture of a building can have innumerable advantages. It is a source of production of an unlimited amount of energy which requires low maintenance and cost, along with improved insulation and optimization of thermal. It is one of the technologies that steps towards zero-carbonization.
Floating Photovoltaic Solar Panels
Among all surfaces, lakes and reservoirs have one of the largest surfaces that have a high potential for producing solar energy. One of the greatest advantages of these new solar panels technology is that they can produce a large amount of solar energy without taking up a great area of land. Floating photovoltaic solar panels were first used commercially in the year 2007 in Japan. Photovoltaic solar systems generally use an air cooling system to prevent overheating, but in floating photovoltaic solar panels, water has increased energy production by 10%. The reason behind an increase in energy is the water beneath the panels. The maintenance cost of floating photovoltaic panels is less expensive than others because water keeps the panels dirt-free. The shade cast by panels helps reduce algae growth over the water’s surface.
Thin-Film Solar Cells
It has been proven that the efficiency of solar cells increases if they are in up to four layers. The layers allow the panels to harness about 46% energy instead of 18% energy as harnessed by regular photovoltaic panels. But, the point of conflict is that these kinds of solar panels are quite expensive for commercial use. However, there is a solution for this, as suggested by the latest innovation in solar panel technology. Compared to standard photovoltaics, solar fabric is incredibly thin and lightweight. One of the best features of solar fabric is that it is flexible and can easily be fitted on any circular structure. It can be installed on window shades and doors. Its quality of being lightly weighted makes it ideal for covering large expanses.
The solar-powered LED has changed the whole map of streets and pathways in the US. LED solar lighting has the advantage of working off the grid. The LED does not need high maintenance costs, and the expenditure is about 25% less than others. While installing solar-powered LED, there is no need to use traditional trenches and cables that are way too expensive. The latest technology in LED has improved the battery condition and electronics. It also comes up with a backup system that keeps the lighting functioning for many days. Its efficiency can be highly improved with the help of controllable electronics, and lighting can be adjusted according to the location or the weather conditions. Public safety is one of the biggest advantages of solar lighting, not to forget that LED solar lighting with battery power is sustainable and ecological.
Photovoltaic Noise Barriers
There are more than 3,000 miles of noise barriers lining American highways. The function of noise barriers is to reduce noise pollution as much as possible by diverting the sound waves back to their source of origin. These barriers also contribute to reducing air pollution by restricting harmful fumes. Although these barriers help reduce noise pollution, they also provide space for solar energy production. According to recent estimations, these barriers can produce about 400 GW of energy annually. Double-sided solar cells are used to increase the production of energy. For the purpose of generating solar energy, the barriers should be properly aligned to make use of solar energy. When it is used with double-sided solar cells, the tilt and orientation do not contribute to creating problems.
Solar skins are new solar technology integrating customized designs in solar panel systems. Manufacturers are testing this new technology in the United States with the purpose of increasing its efficiency even more. The sunlight that falls on solar skins is filtered first, and then it goes to the solar cells beneath the panel. Consequently, it does two works, displays the custom image and provides solar energy. The imprinted custom images embedded into solar panels can directly match the grassy lawns or the rooftop of your buildings. In the government and business sectors, solar skin panels are quite beneficial. They can be used to customize the business logo and display it, or they can even display the advertisements, the flag, and much more. Along with that, solar skin panels use rail-less racking systems. If you are concerned with aesthetics and, for this reason, you are not going for photovoltaic panels, then solar skins can be a good choice for you. Moreover, the solar skin allows you to monitor system performance on your mobile phone. It also warns if there is any issue or outages of solar energy. Not only it warns about the upcoming issue, but it also provides the right solution at the right time.
Why not generate your energy whenever the need arises, especially if solar radiations are present worldwide? Have you ever imagined producing solar energy not only at a fixed location but also when moving? Researchers are already working on this idea and developing state-of-the-art new solar panels. The vision behind solar fabrics is to introduce solar power in each fiber. The solar fibers or solar filament can be embedded in your clothing, including winter coats, tee shirts, or any other type of clothing that can keep you warm, charge your phone, and can also provide energy to others in case of need when you are moving. Solar-fabricated clothing can help you in saving the investment on solar panels. U.S. Army projects are already investing in this purpose to create a solar-powered tent.
Solar Water Purifiers
Solar power can provide energy to your home and help clean the unsafe water in the parts of the world where drinking water is unsafe. According to the World Health Organization, about 2 billion people, which makes ¼ of humanity, are forced to drink contaminated water. Nevertheless, with the advancement in solar technology, this problem can be resolved. Researchers have developed our solar-powered desalination system at the Massachusetts Institute of technology and in China. This system can help provide 7 liters of drinkable water per hour for each square meter of the solar region. Let’s just say that if the system is 100 meters square, it will provide about 700 liters of drinkable water per hour. The capital of Nigeria, Lagos, has more than eight hours of sunshine; according to this, the amount of desalinated water per day could reach 5753 liters. According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, humans should be drinking about 2.7 two 3.7 liters per day of water, which includes the water in food, equal to 20% of fluid intake. The potential of making water drinkable with the help of sunlight is high and then helps millions of people worldwide access the most important resource. It will not only help provide clean water but also help eliminate deadly diseases that spread because of drinking contaminated water.
So with the new solar technology, it has become possible to wear solar cells but is it possible for vehicles? Can vehicles or cars have a layer of solar tech that will help them absorb sun rays and convert them into energy? The answer to this question is yes! And this is the future. A British company has constructed a solar airplane with 35 meters wingspan, and every last centimeter is covered by lightweight solar panels, which help keep the plane flying during the day. Meanwhile, power is stored in the battery during the day and is used at night. In February 2020, this plane successfully completed its first flight at an Australian Air Force test range. With the first successful flight, the future seems to be bright.
Perovskite Crystal Coated Panels
Perovskite is a mineral of titanium calcium oxide, which is quite light in weight. This compound is cheaper and more efficient than silicon, making it an excellent alternative for new solar technology. It is not that we should replace silicon rather that they both can be combined to enhance productivity. Due to some experiments, combining both has increased cells’ efficiency from 20% to 27.3%. This technology is becoming popular in many countries all across the globe.
Why Solar Energy?
Solar energy or solar power has become the need of the hour. We all know that natural resources are limited, and sooner or later, they will end. So it is of utmost importance that we rely on sources other than natural resources to improve the planet. Industrialization in recent years has contributed to greenhouse and global warming. The impacts of global warming are now visible, as we can see extreme weather conditions in different regions of the world. Therefore, it is important to move towards solar power instead of fossil fuels and make this planet a better place to live.
The Future of Solar Power
With recent new technologies and the integration of different technologies, the future of solar power looks bright. Back in the year, we only had rooftop solar panel technology to generate solar energy. However, due to the recent advancements mentioned above, solar power has become lighter, more flexible, and can be applied anywhere. With all these technologies, you can easily visit other cities and buy food from a solar-powered food cart. You can travel in cars powered by solar energy. You can charge your phone from your solar-powered clothes. This is going to be the future in the next few years. Apart from this, other innovative residential solar technologies are in process of development for a better and bright future.
Solar energy can provide substantial amounts of cheap, green electricity that does not contribute to global warming and is safe for use. Because of the new technology and continuous effort for improvement, solar photovoltaic cells have become even more versatile and dynamic. There are various practical applications of solar power, starting from architecture to street lighting and to the charging of phones from clothes. All these examples are clear indications that the future is going to be solar-powered.