According to the World Economic Forum, the future is “looking bright” for solar power technology. Installation costs have fallen dramatically, and new technologies are making the energy gathering process more efficient. Solar power is quickly overtaking fossil fuels as an energy source. Globally, there will be more than 115 gigawatts of solar power installed this year. This is more than all other world energy generation technologies put together. Installing solar or rooftop solar helps in energy storage and this is enhancing the energy technologies.
Solar power technology in 2030
After doing the energy research, The World Economic Forum also predicts that, by 2030, solar power plants will have become the most important electricity production source in large parts of the world. This will have very positive knock-on effects for issues like climate change and environmental sustainability. This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. After all, the sun provides our planet’s surface with more than enough energy to power our lives and our operations indefinitely.
As technology improves, it solves the challenge of collecting enough solar power to make the technology viable for widespread use. The photovoltaic cells used in solar panels have traditionally been expensive to produce. Now, they are moving out of the luxury goods bracket and becoming far more mainstream. This is because the technology behind them has evolved enough to make production far more straightforward. At the same time, devices run on electricity are becoming more efficient at being powered by solar energy.
Business case for solar power technology
Even with today’s costs of solar panels, there are already good cost savings to be made from switching away from the National Grid. As solar power technology improves, there will be more benefits for business, including an increase in savings. For instance, work is ongoing to manufacture bifacial modules. These capture solar energy on both sides of the panel at once. So you get double the output for roughly the same installation costs. That’s not a bad investment at all.
More businesses are joining the solar power technology revolution. They are discovering new ways to integrate it into their power systems and lower operational costs. In addition, solar power technology is reaching new places in the world where they have previously relied on fossil fuels. Solar panels are now much easy to install. The technology is more flexible, too, which means it can be used for many applications. This could be a game-changer for businesses and homes in developing communities.
Solar storage and real estate
Meanwhile, other businesses are realising the potential for solar power storage solutions. Tesla’s Powerwall is a home battery that stores solar power generated by photovoltaic panels or photovoltaic pv. It reduces a home or business’s reliance on the National Grid massively. Every Tesla solar power order includes one of these batteries. You can also add more units to increase storage capacity.
Having more solar power storage helps protect a home or business from power outages. It also contributes towards reducing carbon footprints. The Powerwall from Tesla automatically detects power outages and recharges itself using sunlight. It comes with an app so you can control it remotely and receive updates in real time.
Another business innovation connected with solar power is the predicted rise in demand for real estate. Landowners in many areas are being encouraged to lease out real estate for solar farms. This will make land values increase. It will also boost demand for cabling and infrastructure to connect the farms to the National Grid. Thus, solar farms will increase job opportunities all the way along the supply chain. Finally, research is happening into creating ‘floating’ solar panels to be located off the coast to harness the sunlight that falls on open water.
Sustainable solar power technology
A large aspect of the future of solar power technology evolves around making the technology itself sustainable and recyclable. If the apparatus required contributes too negatively to climate change, any advantages that solar power creates are cancelled out. So, efforts are in progress to make the technology itself sustainable. Initiatives include collecting and recycling old photovoltaic modules and panels.
As a result of this focus, many solar companies are working to achieve eco accreditation. They are working to make their resources recyclable, durable and as environmentally-friendly as possible. They are working towards delivering ‘zero-carbon’ electricity to help further reduce the effects of climate change. The world’s focus is turning more and more towards sustainable living. So, this seems like the perfect time to work towards this admirable goal.
Green energy and living sustainably is big news right now. Many people are realising just how much our reliance on fossil fuels is harming the environment. The good news is that there are several renewable energy sources out there, including solar power, wind turbines, hydroelectricity and air source heat pumps. So, it is easier than ever to switch to a greener lifestyle and run a clean energy home.
Why go green with a Clean energy home?
There are all kinds of benefits to running a clean energy home. For instance, it helps to reduce the use of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are infinite and will one day run out. Burning them in excess also causes air pollution. Renewable energy has less of an impact on climate change and comes from inexhaustible sources. For homeowners, running a clean energy home can cost less than using gas, oil or electricity for the National Grid. It also makes good use of otherwise wasted space. For instance, installing solar panels on the roof.
Running a cleaner home and following a greener lifestyle can be very easy. It just requires some research to start you off into the best methods to use. Then, you may need to make a few changes to your home, for instance installing solar panels. After that, it’s a question of sticking to your new routines to save energy and live more sustainably. Here are some ways you can create a clean energy home and create a greener way of living.
1. Solar power
In the UK, solar power accounts for nearly 3.3% of total renewable energy used. Solar power systems work by harnessing energy from the sun’s rays and turning it into electricity. You can install photovoltaic panels on the roof of your house. Or, you can put them on a flat, outdoor surface that gets a lot of sunlight. For instance you could use a wall or a free-standing frame. Solar power systems work by converting the sun’s energy that hits the photovoltaic cells in the solar panels to electricity. So, they need a lot of exposure to the sun to work effectively.
This electricity is then used to power the home or stored for future use. Electricity created during the day can be used later on, at night or during dull weather when the sun cannot provide enough energy. After the solar panels have been installed, you will start saving money on your fuel bills. This is because you won’t have to rely so much on power from the National Grid for your clean energy home. You can use your own solar panel-generated electricity instead.
2. Wind and air power
Some homes can be powered by alternative forms of renewable energy, as well as solar power. These include wind turbines and air source heat pumps. There is also the option of hydroelectricity if you live in a suitable area that’s near a river or lake. Ask your local renewable energy advisor about different forms of clean energy home. You might be able to combine more than one renewable energy source to create an even more sustainable power system for your home. It can give you substantial savings over fossil fuel-powered systems such as oil or gas.
3. Be smarter with your energy use
Pay careful attention to the energy you do use in the house and look for ways to cut back. For instance:
- Replace all light bulbs with lower-energy LED and fluorescent versions
- Turn lights off when you are not using the room
- Run the air conditioner a few degrees higher for lower energy usage and consider just using it in one room, rather than the whole house
- Switch to fans for a lower-cost, greener way to keep cool in summer
- Likewise, turn the temperature of your hot water down a little. As a result, you will save energy without really noticing a difference
- Switch off devices such as computers and TVs when you are not using them.
4. Get a green home inspection
Ask your renewable energy advisors to arrange a home energy inspection to see where you are using too much energy unnecessarily. For instance, they will check your insulation to make sure it is working properly and not letting heat escape. Look at all the doors and windows to ensure there aren’t any gaps where cold air can come in. Have an appliance safety check and turn off anything that you are not using regularly. Find out how you can switch to using renewable energy around the house to make your carbon footprint smaller.
5. Spread the word
Once you are running a clean energy home, you will not want to go back to your former ways. You may also want to spread the word about your new sustainable lifestyle. Tell your friends, family and neighbours about things like solar power, wind power and ways to save energy. This is the best way to bring your whole community to the clean energy way of life. Once you know more people living in clean energy homes, you can swap tips and even share the costs of items such as solar panels on two semi-detached houses, for example.
Solar panels work, as the name suggests, by converting energy from sunlight that falls onto the photovoltaic panels into electricity, either to be used straight away or stored for later. That’s all very well in sunny water, but what happens when it rains, or turns dull? Solar panels and bad weather, we can’t predict weather after a few hrs. Many parts of the UK have seen an extremely changeable Spring this year, with a few periods of sun interspersed with more frequent times of rain, clouds and even storms and hailstones.
The good news is that, even when the sun doesn’t shine down for hours on end, solar panels do still work, converting solar energy into electricity. Think about how we can still get sunburnt on an overcast day – some of the sun’s rays can still break through a cloudy sky. While UV solar panels are more effective the brighter the day is, the technology carries on working, so long as there is some light available. In fact, the rain can even do the panels a favour, as it can wash away any dirt or debris on them, clearing the cells to react with sunlight, uninterrupted. So, how do you care for solar panels in adverse weather conditions and help them withstand a harsher environment?
How to care for solar panels in adverse weather conditions?
Ensure that the panels are secured tightly to the roof or flat surface when they are installed to prevent the wind from lifting and damaging them, or heavy snow pulling them out of position. Do your research carefully to make sure that you choose the most appropriate system for your individual circumstances and the weather that your area is most likely to encounter. Choose a supplier that can prove their products have undergone extensive testing in different conditions.
Solar panels that are not waterproofed properly can have rain get inside and damage individual cells. Rain can also flood the panel, meaning that less sunlight can reach the parts that react with the solar energy. It can be very hard to repair a flooded panel, so it is wise to ensure that all components of the solar power system are waterproofed correctly and remain in that condition for their entire working life.
Keep up with local weather reports and forecasts so that you can have a better idea about what’s coming. Check your insurance policy to see what’s covered in terms of weather damage and know what to do if your electricity supply is suddenly interrupted or compromised. Have the details of a maintenance or repair company to hand in case you need to call on their services and finds out what protective measures you can take to look after your panels in bad weather, e.g. by installing a cover of some kind.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Set up a regular maintenance contract so that you can have regular access to a solar panels expert to keep your system running efficiently. Keep an eye on your panels to make sure they stay as clean as possible – rain can help with this, but you may also need to get up there with some water and a cloth to wipe away any larger
patches of dirt, bird excrement, tree pollen, leaves or branches etc. and to keep the panels free to absorb solar energy as they are designed to do. Install a cover to help reduce the amount of cleaning work required
Winter Wear and Tear
Although the UK Spring hasn’t exactly been gloriously hot and sunny, the most common season for bad weather is, obviously, winter, with its colder temperatures and greater risk of snow, frost and hail. Protect your panels from damage from sharp hailstones, or lingering frost with toughened glass covers, e.g. plexiglass. These can be installed fairly easily and will prolong the useful life of your panels.
If you can do so safely – and only if this is the case – clear away any heavy snow that settles on the panels to prevent the weight from cracking them. If in doubt, call in a maintenance expert to do this job for you. Of course, you can also help prevent snow from building up when you first install the panels by having them at a tilted angle to help snow and other debris slide off.
Solar energy has played a huge part in cutting down on the use of fossil fuels across domestic households, as well as bringing more sustainable living more and more into the mainstream. Thanks to the efficiency of solar panels and the easy installation process, many people across the UK can enjoy the benefits of generating greener electricity.
Yet it is not just householders who enjoy the advantages of their community moving more towards a more sustainable way of generating electricity. Businesses, too, are discovering benefits to switching to solar panels for lighting, heating and powering their buildings. Enterprises that use a lot of energy, such as manufacturing businesses, are particularly in line to benefit from this innovative approach to sourcing the electricity they need.
Not only when it comes to the practical concerns around powering machinery, lighting workshops and keeping employees safe and comfortable at work, but also when they are considering their reputation as a progressive, ecologically sound and ethical company. Here’s why…
Related Reading: The Benefits Of Solar Panels To Your Household
Preserving fossil fuels
This is the biggie – the more energy that can be harvested from renewable sources such as the sun, water and wind, the fewer finite fossil fuels will be burned in order to meet the global demand for electricity. This helps preserve these valuable natural resources for future generations and raise public trust in alternative energy sources. On a day-to-day basis, solar power can help manufacturing businesses operate as normal and enjoy lower energy bills, but it can also help them to fulfil their obligations towards greener ways of working and responsible use of the planet’s finite resources.
Reducing carbon footprints
Hand in hand with preserving fossil fuels comes reducing the carbon footprint put out by labour-intensive businesses like manufacturing companies. The more commercial buildings and facilities that are powered by solar power and other renewable sources, the less of an impact that the company’s daily electricity use and individual carbon footprint will have on the general state of the planet. Installing solar panels is a highly effective way for a business to be seen to play its part in that.
Alternative energy is a growing sector, which brings with it new business openings, opportunities and jobs. From advisers to installers; insurers to engineers, solar energy is a growing sector that requires new expertise and skills to maintain and push it forward. For the manufacturing businesses themselves, it can be seen as a great way to attract ecologically minded employees who are keen to work with a greener company and who will display greater enthusiasm and loyalty to an employer who is clearly taking the issue seriously.
Supporting electric vehicles
As technology advances in the world of sustainable energy and solar power, so the electricity generated can help support other areas of progress and innovation. Electric vehicles are also growing in popularity and households will move more and more towards being able to recharge their cars at or close to home using electricity generated by solar power. If a manufacturing company can provide charging ports in its car parks or on its premises for employee or paying public use, this could be an excellent additional business opportunity for firms able to spread some sustainable love.
One oft-quoted concern around solar panels is how they will look when set against an existing landscape, especially in more secluded settings. The clash of traditional and ultra-modern is one that needs careful handling to avoid creating eyesores in the community and turning public goodwill against a manufacturing business. The good news is that solar panels are designed with this exact concern in mind, and a focus on making them unobtrusive, subtle and ascetically acceptable – or even pleasing to the eye when designed with care.
Installing solar panels has become a popular way to switch to a more sustainable way of living and to help lower household electricity bills, which is one of the many benefits of solar panels installation. The technology works by harnessing energy from the sun’s rays and converting it into electricity via a series of photovoltaic cells. This electricity can then either be used straight away or stored for future use at night or during duller weather when the sun is not producing quite so much solar energy.
Besides the advantage of switching to a more ecologically friendly method of energy production, what other benefits can accompany the installation of a solar panel system for your household? Let us know more about the different benefits of solar panels.
Related Reading: The Benefits Of Solar Panels For Manufacturing Businesses
Once the installation has been completed, householders can enjoy seeing a reduction in their energy bills pretty much straight away. As more of the electricity generated by the photovoltaic panels is used, so the amount taken from the National Grid lessens, reducing energy bills and lowering overall household outgoings. Maintenance is simple to carry out once the system is in place, with many firms including routine servicing in the overall installation price.
Greater access to your own electricity, generated using the solar energy that hits your solar panel system, means a much reduced reliance on the National Grid to power your home. Less reliance means that you are no longer quite so dependent on the National Grid remaining in working order, less affected by blackouts through overuse or human error, and not quite so much at the mercy of electricity company price increases when they occur.
Solar power comes from the sun, which makes it one of the most easily accessible forms of renewable energy there is. Even when it is cloudier, the solar panels can still pick up energy from the sun and convert it into electricity. When the sun is too weak, or it is dark, the system stores excess electricity for future use, plus a dual approach that sees the household still connected to the National Grid for emergencies means that there is no interruption in electricity provision. Renewable energy source and the readily available are the major benefits of the solar panel installation.
Young people learn much by observing the world around them, and living in a household that uses solar energy to power, light and heat the home can lead to lifelong sustainable habits that can help them enjoy the same benefits when they grow up and branch off into their own household further down the line. It can also help inform school projects on ecological lifestyles and alternative energy, as pupils can observe sustainable energy in action, right on their very own roof.
As electricity travels towards a household, it loses some of its energy along the way. The further away it must travel, the more power is lost. While the losses can be considered negligible in themselves, they can have a more serious impact on areas with a higher population density. Being able to generate the electricity you require on site means that it doesn’t have to travel to you, and you can benefit from its entire energy quota.
If your household is interested in learning more about solar power, speak to an expert like UPS Solar to find out what’s involved and the different solar panel options available to you.
Solar power technology is moving on apace, as the world continues to seek more sustainable methods of energy generation in order to protect finite fossil fuels. Solar panels have been around for many years now, with their efficacy, aesthetics and ease of installation advancing more and more as time goes by.
One innovative version of the technology is the introduction of solar panel roof tiles. These small photovoltaic panels are shaped to look like normal roof tiles while absorbing sunlight to convert it into electricity in the same way that standard solar panels do. They are the perfect solution for people who appreciate the idea of generating their own electricity via photovoltaic solar power but don’t like how the larger panels look on their building.
How efficient are solar roof tiles?
The best solar roof tiles are those that offer excellent efficiency to offer strong returns on their initial cost outlay.
There are three main types of solar panel roof tiles, all of which offer good efficiency.
On-roof installations are exactly what the name suggests – the tiles are fitted to a frame that is fixed to the top of the roof.
In-roof, or integrated solar panel roof tiles
In-roof, or integrated solar panel roof tiles, replace some of the roof’s existing tiles, so that they sit flush with the structure of the roof and are less visible from the street.
Total overhaul your roof
Finally, you can opt for a total overhaul of your roof with an entirely new solar roof replacing your old one for maximum efficiency and coverage.
How Many Solar Tiles You Require?
How many tiles you require and how large space they will take up will depend entirely on how much power you need them to generate for you on a regular basis. Solar power, in general, has been proven to be an efficient form of alternative power generation, especially given that any surplus electricity that is produced during sunnier periods can be stored for future use when conditions are less conducive to efficient energy conversion, such as during poor weather or at night.
How much does a solar roof tile cost?
While the concept is still in its infancy there are a number of solar roof tiles manufacturers in the UK and elsewhere selling variants of the new technology to suits householders and business owners alike. Costs vary depending on the size of the roof in question type of tiles chosen and complexity of the installation. Additional features, such as tempered glass, invisible solar cells and bespoke designs will increase costs, however reputable companies offer a lifetime’s manufacturer’s guarantee and instructions on how to maintain your new solar roof tiles to help reduce unexpected costs further down the line.
There may also be grants for solar roof tiles available in selected areas of the country – information about this can be found on the internet for those interested in finding out more. The main consideration with this type of technology is that they cannot be integrated into an existing roof set-up without carrying out some structural changes to the existing tiles. The tiles are best suited for new build projects, or as a roof replacement or upgrade instead. Speak to a solar panel expert for further information and advice on solar tiles.
In an age where everyone is far more aware of the finite nature of the planet’s fossil fuels and the growing benefits of using more sustainable energy production methods, technology such as solar power is rising more and more to the forefront of people’s minds. There has been much talk about the efficiency of solar panel systems, which are designed to absorb energy from the sun’s rays and convert it into electricity for domestic or commercial premises. The prospect of choosing, installing and maintaining such a system can seem daunting at first; however, the investment in time and money will repay itself many times over during the course of its working life.
So, how does a solar panel work? It consists of row upon row of photovoltaic cells, which are the elements that change the solar energy into electricity. They do this by allowing light particles or photons, or photons, to nudge electrons from atoms, thus creating an electricity flow. This electricity is then transferred to the building’s power network and used to power heating, lighting etc. Another benefit of the system is that any electricity that is not used straight away can be stored for use when solar energy is less evident or absent, such as during dull weather or at night.
What is the most efficient solar panel?
When considering which type of sustainable energy solution to buy, it is worth carrying out plenty of research. For example, there is a wealth of information available online around efficiency measures, including solar panel efficiency formula and solar panel efficiency calculator applications that allow you to work out how much money you can save over the longer term.
From a technical point of view, there are three main types of solar panels currently available on the market. They type you select will depend on what your individual set-up is and what your expectation is for your preferred system.
Monocrystalline Solar Panels
Monocrystalline solar panels are the most established type and the oldest form of this technology. They are made from pure silicone with a solid crystal shell around it called an ingot. Each ingot is thinly sliced and shaped into the individual cells which line up together to form a solar panel. Due to the way that the silicon interacts with sunlight, these panels appear pure black. They can achieve efficiency rates of more than 20 per cent.
Polycrystalline Solar Panels
Polycrystalline are also constructed from silicon crystals, but the separate cells are made from fragments that are melted together and created without the ingot covering. They appear blue when installed and are less costly to install than their monocrystalline alternatives. Their efficiency is slightly lower than monocrystalline versions, coming in at around 15 to 17 per cent, thus producing slightly less power.
Thin-Film Solar Panels
Finally, there is the thin-film variant, which is the newest arrival on the scene. These panels are not always made from silicon; they can also be formed from other materials, such as cadmium telluride or copper indium gallium. The chosen material is then placed between thin, conductive sheets and topped with glass for maximum protection. This type offers around 11 per cent efficiency, but allows greater
versatility when it comes to fitting the panels, as they don’t come in a standard size. It is also worth noting that some models can produce more power than others.
Are newer solar panels more efficient?
Despite the figures quoted in the paragraph above that indicate the best solar panel efficiency over time comes from the monocrystalline version, it is still worth keeping an eye on the newer materials too, as progress is being made all the time when it comes to improving efficiency, resilience and performance. It is also important to consider other factors, such as cost, aesthetics, ease of installation and longer-term expectations from the system. With so many aspects to consider, it is certainly worth speaking to a solar panel efficiency expert to ensure that you make the right choice for your property.