Solar energy revolution

Millie HennickSeptember 4, 2018 1238 0

Solar energy revolution

It is not surprising that we are experiencing a kind of solar revolution today with many technological innovations competing to make solar more efficient and affordable.  The sun provides a dependable long-lasting and affordable alternative source of electric power in the form of photovoltaics (PV) and solar heating through concentrated solar power (CSP). Solar energy provides a wide range of opportunities for technical innovations, and 2018 promises to be a year of solar power revolution for residential and commercial customers alike.

What is new in the solar industry?

The first quarter of 2018 saw great growth in the solar industry and more changes are on the horizon. According to studies and recent figures from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, new U.S. electricity capacity from alternative energy sources surpassed those from natural gas for the fourth year in a row. This is heartening news for the solar industry as solar energy has become one of the best values in power generation options. In 2018, the solar industry is expected to develop even more innovative solar technology, more efficient solar panels, and continued research into third generation building materials for solar cells. New technology like maxim cell level optimization, which is a new chip technology being introduced into some of the best brands of solar panels, will also be incorporated into solar panels in 2018.

What are the most promising solar technologies?

The solar industry is rapidly expanding with hundreds of different solar panel models available. This includes a growing number of premium technology brands in the residential sector that has come a long way from those bulky rooftop panels. Research your options and get solar savings estimates to see what a solar investment entails. Some of the new 2018 solar panel technologies expected to hit the market include high capacity bifacial, all glass, frameless, and clear solar panels. Solar windows are another technology scientists are working to master. Bifacial solar panels, more commonly known as double-sided panels, offer added value by gathering sunlight through both sides of the panel through reflection off the surface below. Higher energy harvest capability makes these panels an attractive option. All glass solar panels are innovative in multiple ways, including being more visually appealing and durable than typical silicon cell panels. These are often integrated into skylights and known to be more fire resistant and less prone to erosion. Frameless solar panels solve the problem of unsightly solar panel frames that some homeowners feel is the least attractive aspect of rooftop panels. Frameless solar modules utilize specialized mounting systems that match the panels for a more streamlined look.

Clear solar panels look promising

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Clear solar panels employ a frameless design entirely enclosed in glass that utilizes the same silicon technology as standard panels but offers a more attractive appearance by sandwiching the cells between two glass casings instead of being mounted on an opaque backing material.

Other promising technologies include solar skin designs that offer a customized look to match your roof shingles, solar panel and inverter integration and micro-grids that are smarter and smaller than traditional electricity grids.

Are solar panels the only way you can benefit from solar power?

Besides innovations in solar panels, other new technologies allow you to harness the sun’s power while combining it with your current architecture. Traditional solar panels monopolize the space they’re mounted on, building-integrated PVs produce power while replacing other building materials. These solar-embedded products utilize the abundant surface area of residential and commercial buildings and offer creative solar solutions.

Solar windows are a technology emerging on a larger scale in 2018. While they look like normal windows, solar windows generate energy as sunlight passes through the quantum dot coating in the glass.

Solar shingles are another promising development for 2018 that infuse innovative solar technology into sleek, modern roof shingles. Tesla offers homeowners a way to integrate solar energy creation without any noticeable difference to their roof with their smooth, textured, Tuscan or French slate glass tiles. Solar shingle tiles are tougher and provide better insulation than standard roofing materials.

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