Are innovations disrupting the solar power industry
Fact: Innovations in every field ensure better and technically advanced products.
So, why should the renewable energy sector be any different? In the past few years, governments around the world are creating, deploying and encouraging innovative solutions that have the potential to transform the renewable energy sector.
Several studies advise governments around the world to play a proactive part and put proper policies and incentives in place, keeping a long-term perspective in mind(1). Systemic innovation involves innovations across dimensions such as technology, business models, market designs and system operations.
Let’s take a look at the way green energy innovations have already accelerated the global switchover:
Smaller-scale, more flexible thermal generation has replaced the larger inflexible models. Increased grid interconnectivity and faster ramping capacity also promotes greater flexibility.
Applications are fast emerging with great potential to store energy in different forms. Battery technology is increasingly becoming feasible with several users turning to installing batteries to maximize self-consumption or for avoiding network upgrades.
Electrification of end-use sectors (such as transport and thermal) is fast developing. Electrification technologies include battery or thermal storage that matches the availability of generation to the capacity of the distribution grid.
The three main trends responsible for transformation in the power sector are:
Digitalisation of the power sector has allowed for better monitoring of assets and their performance, more refined operations, implementation of new market designs and emergence of new business models.
Decentralization gives more power to individuals and communities over the generation and consumption of energy. Locally produced energy is very advantageous to the system and decreases the need of costly alternative measures. Sophisticated devices are going beyond merely monitoring energy use and are optimizing consumption and generation. Such devices boost the economics and create room for new business models and platforms.
Smart electrification complements the variable nature of renewable energy. Electrification is a solution to the national energy security concern with regards to the imports of oil and diesel. Moreover, it is a cheap and clean power source. Electrification and digitalisation trends together are promoting appliances that are increasingly getting connected and smarter.
The popularity of electric vehicles perhaps explains the trend better. There were some 6.8 million battery electric vehicles in use globally in 2020. That year, more than three million new battery electric vehicles were added to the worldwide fleet (2).
Innovation Is Crucial for Global Transformation
The renewable energy sector is being looked at for cleaner energy solutions so that a secure and sustainable environment is attained. The future of the planet lies in developing better and more efficient green energy technologies. Adaptation of green technologies the world over is driven by increasing environmental concerns and scarcity of limited energy sources. Much more research and development is needed to optimise renewable solutions. Innovations when coupled with a sustainable and inclusive approach pave the way for a successful global acceptance of a renewable powered future.