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Solar Energy: Where Will It Be In 10 Years?

Posted In Industrial & Technology - By Techtiplib on Saturday, April 25th, 2015 With No Comments »

Renewable energy is something that the human race as a whole will require in the future. It will significantly reduce the amount of pollution that we create, increase the overall amount of electricity we can produce, and provide more affordable energy solutions for people who live in isolated areas.

Of all the renewable energy sources, solar energy holds the most promise. It also can be seen as having the greatest number of challenges to overcome. For example, most photovoltaic cells have an efficiency that ranges between 10% to 15%. This means that a large area is required to harness any viable amount of electricity, which is something that people in areas with a dense population may not have.

Another challenge of photovoltaic cells concerns the cost of producing new cells. PV cells with a higher energy efficiency tend to cost triple or quadruple the cost of cells that require more area to create electricity.

Solving These Challenges with Clever Engineering

The challenges that solar energy faces will likely dictate where solar energy will go in the next ten years. Clever engineering may be used to circumvent the problems that we currently face, which in turn could make solar energy a more viable solution.

Solar Energy solar panelsConsider the problem of surface area and how it applies to solar energy. It would take just about 496,800 square kilometers to power the entire earth using solar panels. The challenge is that there are very few places where this amount of flat land area is available.

One posed solution is to line roadways with opaque photovoltaic cells. Given the numerous challenges associated with this, which include everything from the ground shifting to heating the panels, this may not be a viable idea in the near future.

Other Options To Soon Be Realized

Transparent photovoltaic cells that allow you to look out just like windows would may provide an ample solution and become commonplace in the near future. They could be applied to buildings with a considerable amount of height and glass, such as skyscrapers, to make modern buildings self-sufficient while substantially reducing the costs associated with electricity.

The cost of producing efficient photovoltaic cells will also likely decrease in the future. While it is incredibly difficult to say by how much, it may be possible to see a dramatic reduction if research into the same principles that allow plants to harness solar energy produces results.

The adoption of solar energy as a primary source of energy may come when engineers discover how to create multi-layered solar cells. These could act as the “Holy Grail” of photovoltaic cells, which in turn would allow for an incredible boost in the efficiency of solar cells without a marked increase in their cost.

Solar Energy solar cellAt present, the “Infinity Layer” seems to be reachable. The only requirement in employing this type of photovoltaic cell is a more defined understanding of quantum physics and the processes required to manufacture such cells.

Predicting How Solar Energy Will Grow

The challenges facing solar energy will likely direct it on a path that makes it evolve in ways that better integrates the average photovoltaic cell with buildings and other man-made structures. This will dictate the shape of some forms of solar energy production.

Advances in science will be the other part that drives the creation of more efficient photovoltaic cells. These may be able to drastically reduce the surface area required for solar energy collection while other advances, such as electricity storage and more reliable batteries, will be the other part of the equation required to make solar energy the most prevalent form of renewable energy in the next 10 years.

Author Bio:

This article was composed by Rochelle Pentelute.  Rochelle is currently studying law in Denver, CO, but also enjoys researching renewable energy and future technologies in her free time.  Currently, she is contributing to Ablaze Energy LLC, a solar solution company located in Denver, Colorado.

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