09 Nov Solar power innovations in 2020
The solar energy industry has enjoyed a series of revolutionary breakthroughs this year. While this is a huge boon for renewable energy consumers as a whole, businesses that are proactive about their engagement with on-site renewable generation also stand to gain from increased efficiency. We explore two of the most significant advancements in solar power and how ESS can help SMEs be a part of the revolution.
Sunshine through the window
Solar windows have been a long-harbored dream for the renewable energy sector. This futuristic technology could be used on almost any building, offsetting carbon emissions across a multitude of sectors.
Earlier this year, a team at the University of Michigan set a new efficiency record for solar windows. Using an organic material they achieved 8.1% conversion while the panes themselves maintained over 40% transparency.
The implication is that this carbon-based material could be swapped for the windows of buildings around the world with little disruption to light levels inside. Business estates can obviously benefit financially from on-site generation while reducing their carbon footprint. Unfortunately, commercial real estate also has high energy requirements and roof space is rarely large enough to support a sufficient number of solar panels to significantly contribute.
However, by using solar windows, you multiply the surface area available, greatly increasing offset carbon.
Dubbed the ‘miracle material’ by Z. Valy Vardeny, a materials science professor from the University of Utah, Perovskite was in an identity crisis over the last three years.
Virtually nothing matches the material in its efficiency of converting direct sunlight to energy. Unfortunately, it was too unreliable for widespread commercial use. Structural instability occurred across larger surface areas. Perovskite only occurs naturally near the Earth’s core so fabricating a stable version has proven challenging.
However, researchers at the University of Sydney may have found a way around this problem. Sandwiching several layers of Perovskite together greatly reduces both energy loss and the risk of toxic elements spilling out.
Given Perovskite’s high-efficiency numbers, it now has the potential to revolutionise the solar market.
On-site generation for SMEs
On-site generation can offer significant savings on energy costs not available by other means. Primarily this is thanks to its freedom from non-commodity costs. A 2018 study showed that 77% of UK and Ireland believe a quarter of energy needs will be generated onsite by 2025.
Given these rapid advancements, we can expect solar to only become cheaper and more effective over time.
We at ESS believe in the power of solar energy to reshape our world and provide clean energy for all. That’s why we help our clients to establish their own on-site solar generation equipment. Aside from supporting the environment and offering you savings on energy bills, this can also provide added energy security. It’s no surprise then that 50% of UK businesses have expressed interest in on-site generation options.
For a full breakdown of our services and how we can combine them to develop your bespoke carbon plan, get in touch.
If you are interested in reading more on the full range of renewable energy sources and how they work then our sister brand Monarch Partnership has recently released a new Renewables Guide, which you can find here.