As the globe warms and the climate changes, people from all over the world are seeking alternative energy solutions to prevent both of those problems from getting worse. The emissions from fossil fuels like gas and coal are a big contributor to the planet’s environmental problems, which is why energy that does not produce any harmful byproducts is so desirable to so many.
The consequences of oil are terrifying. According to Stanford University, around 5% of the total global footprint can be traced to 9,000 oil fields around the world. Fortunately, new alternative energy sources are helping address this concern.
Solar Energy Can Offset the Carbon Footprint of Oil Production
There are many different suggestions, but solar energy is always one of the most popular ones. The reason is that solar technology is relatively easy to implement for most people compared to other alternative energy sources like wind or water power.
Almost anyone can install a solar panel onto their home or business to help reduce their energy consumption from the power grid. However, while solar energy is more practical, it does have some drawbacks, but those drawbacks are becoming smaller thanks to game changers in the solar industry.
Those game changers make solar technology even more practical. Keep reading to learn more about those game changers, but if you want to know when and if you can use any of them yourself, then contact a company like Brooklyn Solar Works to learn more.
One of the biggest problems facing solar technology is storage, specifically, how to store enough power so that the technology can be used at night. An innovative thermal battery being developed by Curtin University is aiming to change that. The battery is being developed with United Sun Systems and ITP Thermal and the goal is that it will be able to store and release electricity 24 hours a day, meaning that it can work at night and when there is heavy cloud cover.
This thermal battery could make solar power a more viable alternative not just for residential homes, but also for heavy industries, such as mining, that use a lot of power. Since those industries typically output a lot of pollution because they rely on fossil fuels, their switching to solar thanks to the new thermal battery could be a net positive for everyone.
Concentrated Solar Power
Concentrated Solar Power, or CSP works by concentrating the heat from solar energy. The heat is then used to boil water, which of course produces steam; the steam is used to propel a turbine that is connected to a generator, which then produces electricity. This is a different process than traditional solar panels, which use photovoltaic cells to convert light into electricity. Solar panels are still a better choice for residential homes because CSP systems require a lot of land with direct access to sunlight, so they are impractical on a residential level.
However, CSP systems do make for a more efficient and cleaner alternative to the energy systems currently used on the industrial level. One disadvantage to CSP is that it requires a lot of sunlight and is therefore less efficient on cloudy days compared to traditional solar panels. It makes up for that disadvantage by having superior storage capabilities so it can be used even when the sun is not shining.
New Solar Panel Technology
You’ve probably never heard of perovskites, but they could be the next big thing in solar panel technology. Currently, most solar panels use silicon, but when combined with perovskites— which are a type of mineral, they are able to convert even more of the sunlight into electricity. That means perovskites make solar panels far more efficient, meaning that solar installations will be able to produce more electricity with fewer panels, which reduces costs. That makes solar panels more viable on a much wider scale than ever before.
Further increasing the appeal of perovskite solar panels is the fact that they are more efficient in the shade, on cloudy days, and even inside. Better still is that perovskite solar panels can be made to be as thin as wallpaper, which reduces weight and increases their flexibility. That means perovskite solar panels could theoretically be wrapped around entire buildings, which means that they could make the future of solar technology a lot brighter and a lot more practical.
Solar Technology is Getting More Practical
These are just a few of the game changing breakthroughs in solar technology, but there are more and there will likely be more to come. It should be noted that as much as solar power keeps improving, it will likely never be a one size fits all solution to the world’s energy supply. Rather it will be one of many, but these improvements means that it could become an important pillar in the energy future of many parts of the world. That is important because we only have the one planet and the effects of global warming hurt us more than they hurt the Earth.