What’s the next solar revolution?

With solar on the rise, the world is continuing to find breakthrough ways to harness the sun’s energy. We take a look at the latest in solar innovation.

Written by Justine Summers


Over the years Australians have watched the price for solar systems decrease and increase on the uptake of solar for businesses.

The solar sector is projected to continue growing, and according to The Guardian it’s the fastest-growing source of new energy.1 With this in mind, it’s interesting to consider what the next innovation in solar energy will be.

We’ve compiled a selection of the most exciting innovations in solar energy, which are set to change the way we use solar in our homes and businesses.

Combined solar and farming solution

Australians are fortunate to live in a country with plenty of space suitable for installing solar panels, with plenty of land left over for farming and agriculture.

However, in other countries where there is less land available, and it’s harder to find the space to build solar farms, solar technicians have struggled to find a solution.

The Agriculture Solar Concentrator Photovoltaic brings together all the benefits of renewable solar energy, with the added benefit of allowing produce to grow underneath. This unique design has semi-transparent panels which filter light through to the ground. Light can permeate through, allowing the plants to grow, while the rest is used for solar energy. This method is based on the concept that plants don’t actually need 100 percent of the light that the sun provides.2

This clever design could be the answer to the limited land-for-growing-produce problem, allowing for solar energy generation and plant growth in the one space.

Four working prototypes have been installed in China, and two more installations are planned for 2019 and 2020, with a plan to make this system commercially available in the coming years.

Image via gigaom.com

Solar power from glass – ClearVue

We all know that it’s easy for a lot of heat to escape through regular glass windows in your home or office building. But have you ever heard of windows that actually help to power your house?

ClearVue is an Australian business that has developed a new technology that allows visible light to pass through a pane of glass, while the invisible wavelengths of light are deflected to the edges of the glass where they are converted into electricity.3

This bright technology has the potential to transform a regular building into a colossal solar panel. Instead of solar panels generating and transmitting the power to where it’s needed, this process allows the building itself to generate the energy – and it’s not just limited to buildings, the solar windows can be installed on homes, cars and trains.

Printed solar cells – Perovskites

The way that we manufacture and process solar energy has come forward in leaps and bounds. One of the most exciting innovations in the solar sector to date is the creation of a new type of material called perovskites.4

Perovskites have the potential to dramatically change the solar energy market. While most solar panels are reliant on stiff, static panels, that are clunky and difficult to transport, perovskites are flexible and easy to install due to their unique nature.

Image cia CSRIIO

Perovskites can be either be printed or sprayed directly on to a surface from an ink mix, making them a simple and straightforward energy solution. In turn, these panels will be able to capture energy on virtually any surface facing the sun. Development of this new type of solar technology is underway, and is set to be released to the public in the coming years.5

References

If you are looking to transition to solar energy for your business, we can help. Find out more online today at www.originenergy.com.au/business/solar.html or speak to one of our friendly team members from 8 am–5 pm, Monday – Friday, on 1300 134 138.   

1 https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/oct/04/solar-power-renewables-international-energy-agency

2 https://www.rdmag.com/article/2018/06/solar-panel-innovation-allows-plant-growth-energy-generation-simultaneously

3 http://www.clearvuepv.com/

4 http://time.com/5297011/solar-energy-perovskite-national-lab/

5 https://solarmagazine.com/perovskite-solar-cells-commercialization/


About the author

Justine works in our Origin Business Solar department, and has a background in Marketing and PR. Justine is an fan of sustainable, minimalist lifestyles & is a self-proclaimed vegetarian recipe master – trying her hardest to convince the masses that meat free meals are still delicious.

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