The Future Of Solar Power

As the world moves forward into the third decade of the 21st century, the energy industry continues to evolve. One important change, the emergence of solar energy as a vital component of the world’s energy resources.

The cost of powering planet earth rose significantly in about the last third of the 20th century. Carbon-based energy resources were the best choices, then. Scientists later discovered evidence showing these choices causing damage to the environment of the planet.

Knowing that man was changing his home for the worse, science searched for safer alternative resources. One of those alternate sources was natural gas.

The cost of new energy resources.

Natural gas provided cleaner options than carbon-based sources but required a complicated and expensive network of pipes for transport to users. Many people thought the price of building the network would prohibit natural gas use. The negative thinking was in the 1950s. Today, natural gas plays a critical role for billions of people.

Nuclear Energy is powerful but dangerous.

A second powerful possibility for energy at the time was nuclear power. Like natural gas, this second alternative took some time to develop but has also come to provide power to large numbers of people.

The one shared trait of natural gas and nuclear power was danger. Technology controlled these energy sources successfully most of the time; however, when something went wrong, destruction would occur. Science continued to search.

Here comes sunlight.

In 1953, the possibility of using the sun as a resource for generating power became a reality. People at the Bell Laboratories developed the first silicon solar cell. The new discoveries turned the theory of harnessing sun power into one of the most likely future renewable energy resources.

Fast forward to 2020 and solar energy is solidly in the mainstream, and new technologies will continue to transform the solar power industry.

Floating Solar Photovoltaics

Throughout history, water has played a significant role in creating power. The efficiency of silicon solar panels improves daily. The concept is exposing two substances to light, and creating an intersection of those substances, much like an intersection of two streets. At the intersection, electricity happens. The process, photovoltaics gives us solar energy. Now, invite water to the party.

Solar farms use innovative technology to improve the photovoltaic process. The solar panels float atop a body of water, like a reservoir. Costs reduce because land installation is unnecessary, and even the volume of saved water fairs better because the floating panels reduce evaporation.

Evaluations of the process show that production increases by 10%. Further evaluation predicts production will climb higher with each passing year.

Solar Panels become part of the structure.

Building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) blend with building materials. They marry with the architecture without being seen. These innovative solar panels become the walls, roof, and even glass components of the structure. They add beauty and efficiency. The innovative solar panels also help to lower costs.

Solar Skins are a unique technology

The design of skin-like photovoltaic solar panels incorporates a new system of light filtration. Another characteristic is the ability to use images on top of the panels. The image is a duplicate of the surface where the panels mount. For example, if mounted on a roof, they look like the surface of the roof. If mounted on a wall, they imitate the wall. They have a chameleon property that imitates an image of choice. Sunlight filters through the image down to the panel and creates solar power.

The brief history of creating power has shown that many options have served humanity well; however, not without consequences. Some consequences cause damage to the natural world. And that damage may reach a level that science cannot undo. The growth of solar energy and the few examples shown here prove that humans can power their world without the damage. And as a species, we are just getting started.

Brett Sartorial

Brett is a business journalist with a focus on corporate strategy and leadership. With over 15 years of experience covering the corporate world, Brett has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, analytical and insightful journalist. He has a deep understanding of the business strategies and leadership principles that drive the world's most successful companies, and is able to explain them in a clear and compelling way. Throughout his career, Brett has interviewed some of the most influential business leaders and has covered major business events such as the World Economic Forum and the Davos. He is also a regular contributor to leading business publications and has won several awards for his work.