Interesting EngineeringJuly 10, 2019190
The future of solar energy looks promising, thanks to recent developments as well as government subsidies that are in place to promote the use of solar panels today.
One of the biggest challenges that people have confronted while using renewable energy is that of collecting this energy. However, with the development of solar panels, this problem has been taken care of easily.
Apart from the domestic use of renewable energy, there are several other big energy projects that are being tested and run around the world. People all over the world are increasingly realizing the importance of clean energy, and therefore, they are making efforts to become the champions of renewable resources.
Some interesting examples of massive projects of renewable energy are listed below:
Asian Renewable Energy Hub or AREH is an international consortium of several companies that work with renewable energy. Here, they have come together to develop hybrid power plants to harness the wind as well as solar energy from a wide area ranging from South-East Asia via Singapore and Indonesia to Australia.
This hybrid plant will stretch across 14,000 sq. km. in the north-west coast of Australia. According to the plan, it will have approximately 10 million solar panels and 1,200 wind turbines.
The aggregated capacity would be 6000 megawatts, out of which 4,000 megawatts would be from wind energy and 2,000 megawatts from solar energy. The power that this is estimated to generate will easily supply electricity to more than 7 million households.
Tidal Lagoon Power or TLP is another interesting and innovative project that uses renewable sources of energy and is located between Newport and Cardiff in the UK. The project is expected to bring electricity to more than 3 million people simply by using powerful tides.
The estimated budget for this project is 8 billion pounds, and it will require 108 tidal lagoon turbines.
The Gansu Wind Farm Project is another ambitious project that was approved by the Chinese government in 2008. Through this project, China aimed to become leaders in the renewable energy sector.
Currently, it has installed wind turbines with a capacity of more than 6,000 megawatts. The implementation of this project is happening in phases, and they aim to grow this to 10,000 megawatts soon.
This requires an investment of $16 billion. In the end, their goal is to install 7,000 wind turbines so that they can switch to clean energy in the future.
A lot of countries are investing huge sums of money on clean energy today. Considering that the sun is the biggest energy source, it has a lot of potentials to replace other forms of energy systems if harnessed properly completely.
It can be used for cooking purposes, heating water, heating homes, and much more. A lot of countries get long hours of sunlight, offering them a lot of potentials to harness solar energy.
One of the challenges that traditional solar energy panels faced were related to their storage. However, this has been tackled with modern solar panels, although there is still a lot of scope for improvement.
Currently, the maximum efficiency that any regular solar panel offers is only 33%. This means that most of the solar radiations are wasted. This challenge still needs work, although the modern solar panels have resolved these hurdles significantly.
It is also an obstacle that is stopping the exponential growth of this sector.
Another hurdle comes in the form of solar energy storage, which is essential for future success. Right now, if surplus energy is generated through solar panels, there is no way of storing it for future usage.
For this, solar battery storage systems can be useful, but their current cost is quite high. Therefore, successful implementation would require a lowering down of the cost of these batteries in the future.
According to the current trends, the solar energy market globally is likely to reach $366 billion by 2023. Therefore, it can be seen that solar energy is a very elegant solution to the energy needs of humans.
Although there are a lot of challenges that are expected to pop-up from time-to-time, its possibilities far outweigh the hurdles in its inception. A good example in this regard is the research that is being carried out for better conversion of sunlight to electricity.
Researchers from Germany and Israel have deduced that the best way to carry out this conversion is through photosynthesis. In addition to that, when biomass is used as a fuel, it actually has a capability to generate artificial photosynthesis machines.
As a result, these machines could help in the conversion of sunlight into energy as well as assist in the storage of this energy for later use.
Another exciting project in the pipeline is being carried out by a group of Finnish researchers. The team is trying to store solar energy in the leaves of a tree.
These energy harvesting trees, if successful, could be used to power mobile phones and small appliances.
Studies suggest that these leaves will be designed to generate power from sunlight and will be 3D printed through the use of organic materials that mimic wood. In addition to that, these trees would be able to survive both indoors and outdoors.
This project is currently being tested in Finland but is another exciting prospect of the use of solar energy to look forward to in the future.
These examples are just the tip of an iceberg when it comes to studies and research being carried out to make optimum use of solar energy. A lot of similar projects are in their initial stages across the world.
It is expected that in the coming years, solar energy will not only be in use, but we will also be able to store it successfully. Hence, the future of renewable energy looks promising in the future.
To sum up, the current trends show that solar energy is likely to be used on a large scale in the future. It is promising not only to tackle the energy deficits that exist around the world but also to provide clean energy to combat climate change.
With improvements in technology, more people are likely to switch to solar energy because of the reduction in costs and easier installation.
Having said that, using solar energy is definitely an excellent prospect for the future because it saves money in the long run, and also helps the environment in the process.
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