One of the most pressing concerns of the recent years is energy and the environment. Some of the issues we are facing at the moment are climate change, and use of non-renewable energy and its adverse effects on the environment. Which is why there are various efforts from the different sectors of society, and even individuals, to shift towards sustainability, and more specifically towards renewable energy.
The movement towards renewable energy is impelled by environmental problems caused by fossil fuels. To date, much of the world is still reliant on fossil fuels such as natural gas, coal, and oil. Although still abundant, these sources are depleting and in danger of being used up and exhausted in the future. Also, because fossil fuels come from non-renewable sources, their retrieval becomes environmentally harmful.
Naturally, because of the many disadvantages of non-renewable energy, there is a movement towards renewable energy. Some of the most popular forms of renewable energy are wind, solar, and hydroelectric energy. In recent years, solar energy increasingly became a trend.
What is Solar Energy?
Solar energy is the form of sustainable energy which comes from the sun’s abundant sunlight and heat. The energy is harnessed through devices such as solar photovoltaic devices, solar thermal technology, and passive solar heating.
1. Photovoltaic devices
PV or photovoltaic devices use solar panels made up of solar cells. They use semiconducting materials to harness light and convert it into electricity.
2. Solar thermal energy
Solar thermal energy is the type of technology which collects sunlight and transforms it to electricity through the use of solar energy collectors. Solar energy collectors are a type of device which captures heat from the sun with the use of low, medium, or high temperature-collectors.
3. Passive solar heating
Passive solar heating is a system which uses the direct heat of the sun to reduce energy consumption in homes. It uses the greenhouse principle to trap solar radiation. The trapped heat is rereleased at night time to offset heat losses.
Latest Developments in Solar Energy
At present, there’s been development in solar technology to make it more cost-effective, efficient, and sustainable.
Wearable solar devices
Although it has been years since the emergence of wearable solar devices, this year saw the innovation of solar technology in textiles. A notable example of this new technology would be solar panels stitched on fabric. This is a revolutionary development because of the many possibilities of textile, as compared to hard plastic, which was the only material used in the past for wearable solar devices.
Since solar batteries are becoming more in demand, there have been efforts to make cheaper and more efficient types of solar batteries. It is said that this year, the number of Australian households using solar batteries have increased. Another trend is larger solar rooftop systems in the efforts of maximising the roof surface area for battery storage.
The use of earth-abundant materials for PV
At present, research is being done using more abundant materials for PV panels such as silicon. Other types of solar cells that use earth-abundant materials are polymer solar cells, Perovskite solar cells, and Dye Sensitised Solar Cells.
Corporations switching to solar energy
Companies and industries are now steadily moving towards renewable sources of energy, specifically solar energy, because of its lowered costs, and higher security as an energy source for the coming years.
If you have missed the solar trend, it is not too late to make the switch. Our comparison site will get you in contact with the right solar experts and help you choose which solar system is best for you.