HOW DOES THE FUTURE LOOK FOR SOLAR?
July 13, 2020
Over the past decade, the cost of solar has fallen dramatically (nearly 90%). With new technologies and innovation in solar power systems, green energy generation efficiency has increased, enhancing solar asset value and reducing its costs further. Although the spread of COVID-19 has put a hurdle in the path to global solar transition, the world is slowly but steadily realigning its priorities and accepting the new normal to stay on the path for green energy growth. Thus, we can say that soon solar energy will outrun fossil fuels in the competition to become the mainstream energy source for the world.
Solar plant systems have come a long way in a decade. Back in 2010, the global solar demand was small and thus the market was dependent on subsidy regimes. In that time, solar power systems were only visible (in a prominent manner) in countries such as Germany and Italy. However, with awareness regarding the fossil fuel reserve depletion and its effect on the climate spreading, demand for solar grew and now not just developed countries but the emerging economies are betting big on solar. It is a fact that the spread of COVID-19 has led to a nearly 18% decline in 2020’s global PV installation rate. In 2020, only 105 GW of PV is expected to be installed instead of 130 GW expectancy. However, continuous fall in solar equipment cost, rising demand, new efficient technologies, and growth in the energy storage sector is expected to add more than 150 GW of solar plant systems (PV) within 2021. Therefore, it is fair to state that the future looks bright for solar!
Fossil fuel’s impact on climate has made it an urgent affair to speed up the solar transition. The focus is already towards increasing the efficiency of the solar panels so they can generate more green energy for not just the day but the night as well. The technological growth trajectory indicates that solar may become the most important source of energy for electricity production for the world by 2030, thus having a positive impact on climate change as well. Although COVID-19 has slowed down the progress rate of the industry, the technological growth is expected to reach more than 15% in next 2 years, led by innovative solar power system technologies like Bifacial PV modules.
With the continuous growth of solar plant systems, fossil fuels are becoming increasingly less competitive, particularly during peak solar production. Therefore, fossil fuel-based energy generators are being ramped down and losing profitability, being retired. In such a scenario, growth in energy storage systems plays a major role in building a sustainable energy future for the world. The cost of energy storage has decreased vastly, enabling the development of advanced solar plus storage systems.
It is easy to see that as solar power systems and storage costs decrease further and more hybrid plants are deployed, the value of fossil fuel-based power generation will continue to erode, making solar the primary energy source for the masses.
Going forward, the world is showing an inclination towards adopting high-efficiency modules that can generate 1.5 times more power than existing panels, coupled with the very clear cost-reduction roadmaps of the industry, it is reasonable to state that solar has a very bright future ahead. Or should we say that we have a very bright future by adopting sustainable energy?