Infinite Solar Power Technology Could Completely Change Our Future

The Sun Goes Up, And Oil Goes Down:

Last 2016, solar power saw a resurgence — from cheaper solar panels to innovative roofing for houses and cars, to solar powered roads, and even to powering an entire island. It seems we have entered a new age in solar energy. Well, it doesn’t end there. In the years to come, we may see the rise of solar power, according to Thierry Lepercq, French energy company Engie SA’s head of research, technology, and innovation.
“The promise of quasi-infinite and free energy is here,” Lepercq declares, in an interview with Bloomberg. His arguments aren’t based on any environmental concern. Rather, he takes the perspective of price.
“Solar, battery storage, electrical and hydrogen vehicles, and connected devices are in a ‘J’ curve,” Lepercq said. “Hydrogen is the missing link in a 100 percent renewable-energy system, but technological bricks already exist.” Lepercq believes that the price of solar power will probably fall below $10 per megawatt-hour (roughly 1¢/kWh) in the world’s sunniest places.
As a consequence of the rise of renewables, oil prices are expected to plummet. “Even if oil demand continues to climb until 2025, its price could drop to $10 if markets anticipate a significant fall in demand,” he said.
“As carmakers offer more electrical vehicles with a range exceeding 500 kilometers, charging stations being progressively deployed and more cities banning gasoline and diesel cars, a shift will progressively take place,” Lepercq added.

Solar Power Shines:

Lepercq isn’t alone in seeing the price potential of renewables, particularly solar energy. The World Economic Forum (WEF) recently published a report showing how solar power now costs cheaper than fossil fuels.We now have a farm that uses seawater and solar power to grow crops, we’ve built the largest solar desalination plant, and we’ve even managed to have supercomputers that run on solar power. And the ways that solar power is being used will only get better in the next couple of years.Indeed, quasi-infinite and free energy is well on its way.Rectangular Sunflare panels come in both standard and custom sizes. With super-thin panels come more possibilities. Rather than relying on heavy aluminum frames and skilled installers, Sunflare panels will stick almost anywhere with a special adhesive, and because they’re flexible, they can follow a curve instead of being limited to flat installations. If a branch shades a traditional solar panel on a home’s roof, it will trigger the shutoff of that panel or a series of panels, explains Sunflare’s chief marketing officer Elizabeth Sanderson. She notes that Sunflare panels have more diodes that help bypass just the shaded area. In addition, these unique panels can be used with off-grid homes that can’t support regular panels, like trailer homes, tiny homes, or RVs.One of Sunflare’s first customers stuck the panels onto her tiny home in Spain, allowing her to live off the grid. And Vistabule, a camping-trailer manufacturer, has worked with Sunflare to incorporate panels into the roof of its teardrop-shaped trailers. Sanderson says she’s excited about the products’ commercial applications: “Silicon panels are four times heavier than the Sunflare panels.Warehouses and distribution center roofs often can’t handle that kind of weight. Also, commercial building owners aren’t very happy when they have to puncture their roofs to install racking. But they are happy with Sunflare installation; it’s peel and stick. And the panels are durable and can provide more insulation for the building. It’s a win-win-win.” Because Sunflare is in the initial phases of scale-up and in the beginning of its technology lifecycle, its prices are about 50-100 percent higher than traditional panels. However, that gap narrows as you take its much cheaper installation costs into account. Sunflare is currently ramping up as it awaits safety certification for commercial membrane roofs this month.

Solving the Storage Problem

Of course, one can’t talk about new ways to integrate solar without talking about Tesla. With its big money and perpetual media buzz, Tesla has moved quickly from the car industry into residential solar. 
In the past, one big concern with solar was how to store power generated during the day for use at night. In 2015, Tesla launched its Powerwall, a giant solar-storing lithium ion battery that solves that issue. Each Powerwall battery can hold ten Kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity. By comparison, a car battery holds about 1.2 kWh.
The Powerwall is the best-known of a few products that let people store solar energy. LG, Panasonic, BMW, and Nissan, as well as several start-up companies, all sell “home batteries” similar to the Powerwall. (Nissan uses recycled batteries from 
its electric cars to power its xStorage battery, which is about $1,000 cheaper than Tesla’s.) 

Invisible Solar 

Though they may sound like an enviro-fantasy, solar windows could be on the market soon. A solar window is a transparent glass window that uses sunlight to create electricity, just like a solar panel.  In 2017, SolarWindow Technologies announced a partnership with Triview Glass Industries to create SolarWindow™ products that can generate electricity. The key to this new invention is in SolarWindow Technologies’ liquid transparent coatings that make the glass act as a photovoltaic device.Once it reaches the commercialization stage, the Maryland-based company plans to use these windows to turn skyscrapers into vertical power generators. “Our company is essentially writing the chapter on large-area commercialization of organic photovoltaic devices and panels,” says CEO John A. Conklin.Buildings consume 40 percent of electricity in the US, and the company anticipates that SolarWindow coatings could cut the annual $150 billion dollars it costs to pay for their electricity in half, according to company models, which feature SolarWindow on all four sides of a commercial building.

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