Renewable energy solutions are showing no signs of slowing down as the world pivots towards sustainability and more conscious consumption in the face of burgeoning climate change.
Both the public and private sectors now have high stakes in the development of modern technology connected with the generation, distribution, and popularization of clean energy.
As a result, we now have a myriad of renewable energy trends to keep a close eye on, if only for their potential to shape the way we consume energy a few years down the road.
In a nutshell, perovskites are crystals abundant in the mantle of the Earth. About a decade ago, it was found to have properties that make it a viable alternative to silicon, the material most commonly utilized as a semiconductor in the capture and transmission of solar energy.
Perovskite-based solar purports to be a cheaper alternative to the widely-used silicon-based panels because perovskite conductors are relatively more affordable to produce. More importantly, they are capable of harnessing power from wavelengths of light that are typically not captured by silicon.
The best thing about perovskite is that it can be used in conjunction with silicon-based panels. Researchers are developing a design wherein perovskite material is simply added on top of the silicon-powered panels for maximum efficiency.
2. Power-to-X solutions
To put it simply, the entire idea of power-to-x systems rests upon the need to conserve energy. It encompasses power-to-chemicals, power-to-hydrogen, power-to-fuel, and other like conversion-reconversion options that capture surplus power from existing grids to make sure they are properly stored and ready for use in other sectors like transportation or chemical engineering.
Basically, it is a complex system that seeks to synchronize power supply and demand that they may meet at a level where power is neither wanting nor wasted. It levies the ability of electricity to be converted into different forms in terms of what the public needs at a certain time.
3. Proliferation of Shared Farms
Nowadays, it pays to pay attention if a community solar program has been made available to residents in your area before you invest in your own solar system setup at home. For starters, new community farms are being put up every day as more and more developers are looking to leverage its multitude of benefits, like its ability to make solar power available to renters who are not really in the position to install solar panels on the roof of their rental buildings.
Shared solar is also promising in terms of increasing affordability. Subscribing to a community solar program requires less capital outlay than buying solar panels, having them installed at home, and keeping track of its upkeep and maintenance requirements.
4. Internet of Energy
Implementing the Internet of Things (IoT) technology in the power sector results in a more efficient, almost zero-waste power generation system. Like power-to-x solutions, the goal is to create a network that automates functions like power monitoring and demand management.
A good application of this would be hooking up your dishwasher to the internet and programming the system so that the machine may only be operated when there’s ample solar power in the grid to power your washing cycle. In many ways, this may be described as having access to solar power and implementing a ‘smart’ system to optimize its use.
5. Blockchain Technology
A corollary threat that is perpetually attached to the increased interoperability provided by the internet is, of course, security concerns. Like any other digital solution, the internet of energy is susceptible to threats like ransomware and hacking, as well as insecure transactions from unscrupulous individuals.
For this reason, the applicability of blockchain and its secure network in the energy sector shows great promise. While still in the early stages, this trend is one to look out for if we ever want renewable generation to catch up to the heights reached by fossil fuels, we have to tap the internet.
These are just some of the emerging (and continuing) trends that have the potential to disrupt the entire energy sector may it be by increasing access to renewables, or making the same more affordable and secure.