New Innovations Changing The Future Of The Solar Energy Industry

New Innovations Changing The Future Of The Solar Energy Industry

Solar is the future of the energy industry. With record investment in renewable energy, including wind and solar innovation projects, more companies are expanding their knowledge and applications of solar energy. In 2020, investment in clean energy totaled $55 billion, according to Generate Capital. By 2026, Allied Market Research estimates that the global solar energy industry will be worth over $223.3 billion. The mounting interest in solar energy signals exciting times ahead for the energy industry, starting with some new innovations on the way.

Solar Paints For The Home

More homeowners want to switch to renewable energy. In a Pew Research Center poll, 46 percent of homeowners were considering switching to rooftop solar. Approximately 96 percent of them said their choices were motivated by their desire to save on utility bills, while 87 percent wanted to do their part to save the environment. While there are increasing financial incentives for switching to solar energy, homeowners can still find the prices of installing solar panels steep.

Now it turns out that the task may get even easier (and cheaper) for homeowners with the introduction of solar paint. Introduced by a team of researchers from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), the paint uses titanium oxide and synthetic molybdenum-sulfide to absorb solar energy and moisture from the air. The moisture absorbed is hydrogen and oxygen, with the hydrogen then reused for energy in fuel cells. This means that homeowners will soon be able to transform a simple brick wall on the property into a solar energy-producing piece of their home.

Anti Solar Panels For Energy Generation At Night

The average cost of solar panels has declined by 70 percent in the last decade, making them much more affordable today. According to estimates by Freedom Solar Power, less than 2 percent of homes have solar panels installed, but this is expected to increase rapidly, mainly thanks to the declining panel and installation prices. Currently, homeowners still pay between $17,760 and $23,828 to install a 10-kilowatt solar panel. So while solar panels are becoming more affordable, they are still quite an investment. Therefore, it makes sense that homeowners would want to maximize their returns.

Before now, suitability for solar panels depended heavily on your location and exposure to sunlight. Recently, researchers have discovered ‘reverse’ solar panels, which use solar technology around the clock. Using radiative cooling, the device harnesses energy during the night. Preliminary tests on the device showed that the device can produce 64 nanowatts of power per square meter, but there is great potential for advancement in the coming years.

Perovskite Solar Cells

Another notable innovation in the solar energy industry has been the introduction of new materials like perovskite solar cells. Scientists at Maschuttets Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a perovskite solar cell with 25.2 percent efficiency by adding a layer of tin dioxide. Perovskite has been noted for its more flexible and thinner design. The design also showed record levels of light absorption, making solar energy more accessible to those in low-lit locations.

These are just a handful of the upcoming innovations in the solar energy industry. With new conductive materials and more expansive solar technologies, the future looks bright for the solar energy industry.

Photo by Nuno Marques on Unsplash
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