WHEN YOU RUN OUT OF LAND, THERE’S ALWAYS WATER

WHEN YOU RUN OUT OF LAND, THERE’S ALWAYS WATER

Solar technologies are now available on both land and water

 

REGINA ROME
Solar Digital Squad
Manila, Philippines
December 1, 2018

 

The mind-blowing solar boom

Today, the market is flooded with a vast array of solar tech options: crystalline silicon panels, organic and carbon nanotube cells, multi-junction solar cells, thin-film solar panels in the Philippines, solar farms, solar plants, and a variety of other solar power generation hubs. In year 2017 alone, the United States installed more than 10 gigawatts of solar PV. A more mind-blowing statistic is the fact that five states in America now generate at least 10% of their electricity from solar. Now if only the rest of the world would follow suit.

 

Rooftop solar PV is now better, cheaper, and cooler

The solar PV market has taken a quantum leap. As of the moment, silicon photovoltaic panels are leading the race. The debate on the streets is about which tech is going to rule in a few years. Whatever it is, no matter which way it is turned around, it still remains the power of the sun. Countries all over the world are now eyeing the possibility of requiring all new homes to install solar.

 

Then there was Tesla

The Tesla solar roof tiles seem to have never really become the hit we imagined it would become. Speculations declare that the problem was the competition in terms of price. The typical rooftop solar prices had dropped so ridiculously low, making residential rooftop solar available to just about anyone. Building integrated PV (BIPV) had difficulty staking its claim in the market because the available alternative was cheaper and more affordable.

 

Floating solar

The challenge: finding land for solar. The solution: they put solar on water. And so now we have it unraveled before our very eyes: floating PV (which are PV panels mounted on platforms that float on lakes and bodies of water). What are the advantages of these floating solar things? Not too much site preparation required and the panels remain at a cooler temperature which will enhance their efficiency. Although floating PV was born in 2007, it is only beginning to trend this 2018. South Korea boasts its Geumjeon floating solar power plant. Japan and China are lining up to do the same. In 2017 alone, 100 MW of floating PV was installed on the planet. Project talk is that one is set for construction in Indonesia in 2019.

 

Unstoppable takeover

As solar PV continues to take over the planet, more sub-markets are beginning to emerge that solve challenges arising in the midst of this era of technology. Now there is even saltwater PV which is also referred to as offshore solar. This type sits on harbors or bays beside wind or oil platforms. Since saltwater PV is still in pilot phase, its potential has yet to be determined.

So let’s sit back and relax and keep up with the latest alternative solar tech developments. The widespread dominance is clear. We never know what mind-blowing solar milestone to expect next.

 

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Regina Rome is a solar analyst with the Solar Digital Squad Research.