As the planet warms and the climate changes, people around the world are looking for alternative energy solutions to prevent these two problems from getting worse. Emissions from fossil fuels like gas and coal contribute greatly to the planet’s environmental problems, which is why energy that does not produce any harmful byproducts is so desirable for so many people.
The consequences of oil are terrifying. According to Stanford University, about 5% of the total global footprint can be attributed to 9,000 oil fields around the world. Fortunately, new alternative energy sources are helping to solve this problem.
Solar energy can offset the carbon footprint of oil production
There are many different suggestions, but solar power is still one of the most popular. The reason is that solar technology is relatively easy to implement for most people compared to other alternative energy sources like wind or hydro power.
Almost anyone can install a solar panel on their home or business to reduce their energy consumption from the electrical grid. However, although solar power is more convenient, it has some drawbacks, but these drawbacks are getting smaller and smaller thanks to the game changers in the solar industry.
These game changers make solar technology even more convenient. Read on to learn more about these game changers, but if you want to know when and if you can use them on your own, contact a company like Brooklyn Solar Works to find out more.
One of the biggest issues that solar technology faces is storage, in particular, how to store enough energy so that the technology can be used at night. An innovative thermal battery developed by Curtin University aims to change that. The battery is developed with United Sun Systems and ITP Thermal and the goal is that it can store and release electricity around the clock, which means it can operate at night and in heavy cloud cover.
This thermal battery could make solar power a more viable alternative not only for residential homes, but also for heavy industries, such as mining, which use a lot of energy. Since these industries typically produce a lot of pollution because they rely on fossil fuels, their switch to solar with the new thermal battery could be a net positive for everyone.
Concentrated solar energy
Concentrated solar energy, or CSP, works by concentrating 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 which is connected to a generator, which then produces electricity. This is a different process from traditional solar panels, which use photovoltaic cells to convert light into electricity. Solar panels are always a better choice for residential homes, as CSP systems require a lot of land with direct access to sunlight, so they are impractical at the residential level.
However, CSP systems are a more efficient and cleaner alternative to the energy systems currently used at the industrial level. A downside of CSP is that it requires a lot of sunlight and is therefore less efficient on cloudy days compared to traditional solar panels. It compensates for this disadvantage by having higher storage capacities so that 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 breakthrough 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 sunlight into electricity. This means that perovskites make solar panels much more efficient, which means that solar installations will be able to produce more electricity with fewer panels, which reduces costs. This makes solar panels more viable on a much larger scale than ever before.
The appeal of perovskite solar panels is further heightened by the fact that they are more efficient in the shade, on cloudy days and even indoors. Best of all, perovskite solar panels can be as thin as wallpaper, reducing weight and increasing flexibility. This means that perovskite solar panels could theoretically be wrapped around entire buildings, which means they could make the future of solar technology a lot brighter and a lot more convenient.
Solar technology becomes more practical
These are just a few of the revolutionary breakthroughs in solar technology, but there are more and there will likely be more to come. It should be noted that while solar power continues to improve, it is unlikely ever to be a one-size-fits-all solution to the world’s energy supply. Rather, it will be one of many, but these improvements mean it could become an important pillar in the energy future of many parts of the world. This is important because we only have one planet and the effects of global warming are harming us more than they are harming the Earth.