17 Oct 2020
The evolution of Solar Power Sector

    The evolution of Solar Power Sector

    The ever-evolving form of renewable energy is at the brink of being adopted on a mass scale and it is expected that it will soon emerge as the most important source of energy by 2030. But what does it imply to industries and the people? Without further ado, let us begin the discussion.

    According to a survey conducted by the International Energy Agency, the capacity for renewable energy will expand by 50% over the next 5 years, with solar PVs alone accounting for 60% of the projected growth.

    Solar energy has been widely recognised as a cost-competitive reliable source of energy, which has come a long way over the past decade. The revolution was kicked off in 2008 when the capacity of new installations jumped to 6.7 GW (gigawatt) as compared to 2.5 GW the previous year. Back then, the global market for solar power was highly dependent on subsidies as solar energy harvesting was highly expensive and inefficient. In contrast, by 2020, more than 115 GW worth of solar power instalments will be installed across the world according to a survey conducted by the World Economic Forum.

    In India, the growth of renewable energy sources has been remarkable. Our country ranks 4th in wind power, 5th in solar power and 5th in the capacity of renewable energy installations as of 2018. A total of 31k+ megawatt of grid-connected solar power generation capacity was set up in the country until October 2019.

    We will now look closely into the factors that led to the evolution and massive upsurge in supply and demand for solar power.

    Technological Advancements

    The fact that technology can achieve miracles is not a secret, and it seems to have caught up with solar energy as well in terms of cost-effectiveness and overall efficiency. It can be expected that in the coming years, technological advancements happening in the field of solar energy will bring about the lowering of costs and ensure cheap solar power.

    Solar power is an ever-evolving form of energy and it is at the brink of being adopted on a mass scale. Going forward, solar power is expected to become the most important source of energy within the next ten years and it is being predicted that solar power costs are going to halve within that time, all thanks to industries setting up effective cost-reduction roadmaps.

    Bifacial PV modules and the rapid implementation of single-axis trackers is aiding the growth and prosperity of the solar energy sector.

    The demand for Solar Energy is on the rise

    According to a survey report by the global climate think-tank Ember, electricity generated globally from solar energy grew by no less than 22 per cent year-on-year in FY 2019-20.

    The widespread upsurge in solar power usage is due to reasons including global warming, bridging the acute power shortage and global policy changes in energy utilisation. As the effects of global warming are being felt across the world, starting from a rise in ocean temperatures to natural calamities, the implementation of solar power as the key electricity-generating source has gained significant ground and has emerged as a major drawing point in global climate policies and economics. In recent years, the cost margins of solar energy production reached a record bottom point, leaving the market with no choice but to explore the opportunities solar power has to offer in the market.

    In domestic levels, however, the potential of solar power remains an untapped opportunity.

    Here are some reasons why:

    ● The emergence of roofless houses/apartments:

    As the flow of urbanisation remains unwavering, it has boosted the culture of apartments and societal complexes, a major shift from the need of large roof space to roofless accommodations. Additionally, with changes in lifestyles, the demand for power and consumption rate is also steep. But limited roof area or no roof at all poses a major constraint in the way of solar PV plants that can be installed.

    ● The exorbitant price of rooftop solar installations:

    The cost of solar PV plants and the rate of installation associated with it continues to be extremely steep. Although the prices have seen a massive drop, it continues to be expensive. Companies are required to do away with affordability if they want to install rooftop solar plants.

    ● Power storage issues:

    The current charging time ranges between 8 to 10 hours, which is way too long than what people want. Although the implementation of lithium-ion batteries is outweighing the shortcomings, it will still take some time before it is adopted en masse.

    What does the future hold for solar power?

    Tech giants like Tesla have started working on a new form of solar energy production, christened as the solar roof. The technology, if put into fruition, will provide the added benefit of large-scale solar power generation without compromising on space or other real estate-based constraints. Solar energy will slowly emerge as a built-in feature, and the rapid evolution and advancements in technology paired with an increase in the adoption of solar energy serve as a precursor to the fact that the day isn't away when the vast majority of our surfaces will soon be generating electricity.

    According to research and analysis conducted by Bloomberg-NEF, wind and solar energy are now the least expensive mode of energy in major parts of the world and innovative solutions are pushing it towards an even brighter future.

    The future is prospective and it won’t be far when solar energy will emerge as the best alternative to fossil fuels and an iron-clad solution when it comes to implementing a cleaner source of energy.