The International Energy Agency forecasts a 43 percent increase in the capacity for renewable electricity before 2022. The prediction shows that there will be a growth of more than 920 GW. Besides, there is a daily sprout of new energy startups. Solar power production and deployment have been on a significant rise for the last few years, with different energy projects ongoing. These solar energy trends are as a result of decrease in cost of solar panel installation.
The mode of life is fast-changing and solar power is in the middle of the reform. This energy was a significant player in the shift towards energy production at the individual level. Today, there is the emergence of new technologies. Let’s look at some of the innovations we expect to be a key in the solar industry next year.
Solar Energy Trends to Make Headlines in 2021
1. Increased installation of Solar Shingles
What are they?
These are small scale modules that you can permanently install on the roof of a building. At times, people refer to them as solar roofs or solar roof tiles. They generate solar power through a photovoltaic system like solar panels. Additionally, they also require a connection to an inverter. Solar shingles can function on or off the grid.
Price of solar shingles
There has been a reduction in the cost of solar shingles since 2011. At the moment, they cost about half of the original price. However, their price is still higher than solar panels. According to Tesla, a solar shingle goes for 21.5 dollars per square foot.
Therefore, if your building roofing measures 1,700 square feet, it would cost you 36,550 dollars. The amount is exclusive of the installation costs. However, it is possible to reduce the cost through rebates and incentives on federal duties. If you compare solar panels, the price ranges from 10,000 dollars to 40,000 dollars, which depends on the roof size and wattage.
Installation of a new system to your home is equivalent to carrying out a renovation. The installation raises the market value of a building. According to some past statistics, buildings with a solar shingle system can cost 15,000 dollars more. It is the same case with solar panels. Besides, there are PV systems that are quicker to sell than others.
What to Expect in 2021
In realizing the market value that the solar shingles add to a building, homeowners are increasingly interested in installing them. Therefore, it is a trend you should expect in 2021.
An analysis by Tesla reveals that you can use the solar shingles for over 30 years without the need for replacement. Solar panels tend to have a relatively shorter life expectancy. You might need to replace them after 20-25 years.
Homeowners are increasingly keen on environmental conservation. Solar shingles depend on renewable energy to generate power for your home. More people are shifting to solar energy to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
Solar shingles have a modern appearance. Some blend perfectly with the design of the roofing. It is advantageous to homeowners who want solar power but don’t want their roof to appear full of solar modules.
More people tend to keep up with technological advancements, including solar shingles. Therefore, it is no surprise that these will be among the solar energy industry trends to check out in 2021.
2. The market for solar cars moves to another level
By 2023, expectations are that the solar car market in the world will be 329.5 million dollars. Moreover, the projection indicates that it will reach 4,087.6 million dollars before 2030, with a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 43.3 percent.
The projections further indicate that North America will contribute the highest revenue of 138.5 million dollars in 2023. The continent will contribute 1,819.4 million dollars within the next seven years. The CAGR forecast is at 44.5 percent.
Europe comes second with estimations that it will reach 1675.1 million dollars before 2030, with a 46.3 percent CAGR. Expectations are that the two regions will take a share of 77.6 percent in 2023.
Solar cars are electric vehicles that depend on solar power to operate. They come with PV cells mounted on solar panels. The panels convert energy from the sun into electrical power. The vehicle has a battery that stores the energy.
Solar panels consist of silicon, which takes up solar heat and converts it into electrical energy. There is an increased positive reception of the latest technology in cars, which has led to the augmentation of solar vehicles. The adoption has led to a positive impact on the solar car market in the world.
Why Solar Cars?
There is an increase in the demand for an efficient charging system due to the introduction of electric cars across the world. It is crucial to alleviate the challenge of quick draining of power when the vehicles are in their operations.
Besides, inadequate infrastructure for charging the vehicle for long term operation has illuminated the importance of solar modules installation. The two have been crucial in propelling the solar vehicle market to a higher level.
Another factor driving the growth of the solar vehicle market is the increased concern on environmental pollution. Vehicle manufacturers are embracing technologies that reduce environmental harm. Internal combustion in fuel-powered vehicles releases harmful emissions. The development of solar cars will lower environmental pollution significantly.
Therefore, the concern on the negative impact on the environment contributes to the solar car market’s growth. It is among the solar energy trends to expect not only in 2021 but in the coming years.
Internal combustion vehicles operate using petrol and diesel. The two are processed extracts of crude oil. In the past few years, there has been an increase in oil prices at such a rate that it becomes uneconomical for low and medium-class consumers. The world population is shifting towards energy-efficient options that are cheaper per kilometre drive. It is a factor that leads to an increase in demand for solar cars.
3. Launch of solar road projects
The launch of more solar roads is among the solar energy industry trends to expect in 2021. Imagine the amount of energy the many miles of roads in the world can generate.
Studies suggest that roads cover between 0.2 to 0.5 percent of the Earth’s surface.
Furthermore, there is an expectation that the percent may increase by 60 percent before 2050. The modern technological innovations of PV panels can endure the heavyweight of a vehicle. The use of the solar modules could convert the asphalt roads we have today into massive energy producers. It is already happening in China, where the first solar highway project is in the making.
Scott Brusaw, an American electrical and electronic engineer, is the brain behind solar roadways. There have been developments in special solar units that people can walk or drive through. It is an innovation that will only be present for motorways some years from now. However, pilot projects for parking lots and pathways with low, dense traffic are already available.
This invention has elicited the federal government. So far, the Department of Transportation in the United States has commenced giving financial support as the federal administration seeks to unearth this invention’s full potential.
Idaho was the first area in the United States to have the trials on the solar roadways project spanning around 70 kilometres. An analysis is in progress to see if it is possible to replicate the project in other areas of the United States. Therefore, as we move, solar roads are among the great things to expect very soon.
4. Increased embracement of micro-inverter technology
Micro-inverters convert direct current from PV systems into alternating current. The technology is advantageous over the conventional string units. The system design is more flexible, it is easy to install, and there is yield optimization. Besides, the distributed current is safer.
Interestingly, the micro-inverter technology promises even more potential. There is an advancement of demand for thin-film units that are getting into the market, and new micro-inverters can support the revolution. Micro-solars have many advantages, and there is no doubt, it is an area with the potential to grow in 2021.
5. More focus on solar storage
In 2019, PG&E utility in California started to institute power shutoffs to reduce the risk of wildfires. The move left many people without power for some time. During the outages, a solar storage companies testified of more than 15 times increase in guests to their battery pages.
Production of solar energy happens only when there is sunshine. The storage comes in handy because the excess energy is stored and used during low-production hours. Solar installers are increasingly finding environmental and financial sense in installing solar panels and batteries for energy storage.
But a policy is essential in the growth of this field. In 2019, the House of Representatives issued a clean energy package. It includes an extension of the Investment Tax Credit in addition to more incentives for power storage.
As the solar sector continues to grow, you cannot underestimate the importance of energy storage. The two go hand in hand. Therefore, expect more developments in this area.
The demand for energy in the world is increasing rapidly due to advancements in technology and increased population. Therefore, a renewable energy resource that is reliable and cheap is the way to go. And one of the most promising among the available alternatives is solar energy. This industry is developing steadily across the globe, and the above trends in solar power are just a few of what you should expect soon.