Solar Power

“We are at the start of a solar revolution. The solar energy industries have taken off in the past decade, growing forty-fold globally from 2008 to 2018 with few signs of slowing down” Dustin Mulvaney (2019)

from 170 MW

It was during the year 2008 when 170 megawatts of photovoltaic modules and concentrated solar power plants were built and installed, producing power for a quarter of a million homes on any given sunny afternoon.

to 500 GW

By the end of 2018, over a thousand times of the capacity produced a decade earlier was installed – reaching a cumulative photovoltaic capacity of 500 gigawatts (GW). Enough to power over two hundred million homes.

Fun Fact – Solar power is the source of all renewable energy

The sun is responsible for creating rain through evaporation and convention processes hence, it directly influences the level of water in hydropower reservoirs. The sun is also responsible for creating wind due to different high and low atmospheric pressures hence, it directly influences the wind uptake on all eolic systems.

Is solar power still in its infancy?

Solar power should not be longer considered an alternative energy source or even a modern renewable. Let’s just say that the first solar oven was used back in 1767 by a Swiss physicist named Horace de Saussure. But, even though today solar mix remains a small portion of the global energy supply (1% of the total energy supply), new records for solar generation are broken every month in countries and states such as Germany, California, and China. You probably stumble upon a headline announcing the opening of the next largest solar power plant in the world every other week.

Needless to say, if you’ve been following the latest Covid-19 impacts on the energy industry, it was recently reported that renewable electricity was the only source resilient to the biggest global shocks seen in 70 years. Because fossil fuel energy demand has seen a heavy reduction in the past months, the price of oil and gas was severely affected – reaching unprecedented negative figures in the stock market. Renewable energy, on the contrary, has maintained a healthy price attracting investors and users alike. Consequently, there are expectations of a 5% growth in the coming year.

We know how mainstream renewable energy is and, without a doubt, solar power is the most affordable and accessible worldwide. As manufacturing costs have descended, demand has ascended with a lead capacity expansion of 98GW (+20%). So, let’s deep dive into what it actually is and how it works.