In the past few years, the global market for solar energy products and services has been highly influenced by advancements in technology, declining prices, and new innovative products. With governments around the world implementing supportive policies and entrepreneurs harnessing the power of the sun, more and more people are seeing the light and switching to renewable energy sources.
But, as with any other market, there are a number of different products and services saturating the market, resulting in a lot of consumer confusion. To help you make the right choice and understand what you’re getting into, we’ve compiled a list of the most significant developments in solar energy over the past year (2016)
Solar Panels Have Improved
Photovoltaic solar energy panels have become much more efficient in converting sunlight into electrical energy over the past year. The most popular type of solar panels are the silicon solar panels – otherwise known as solar shingles – which are more than 50% effective at converting sunlight into electricity. This makes them about 10–20% more efficient than the panels used in solar power systems a few years ago. Moreover, the efficiency of solar panels continues to rise as manufacturers continue to improve upon their design and manufacturing processes, resulting in a steady 20% efficiency increase every year.
This increase in efficiency has resulted in a substantial decrease in the price of solar energy – about 40% in the past year alone. The cost of solar energy has also decreased significantly due to massive quantities of panels being produced and sold globally. As a result of these developments, it’s the perfect time to invest in solar power – whether for residential use or for commercial ventures such as businesses and factories.
New Product Innovations
To accommodate this increased demand, the solar energy industry has seen a steady stream of new product innovations hit the market in recent years. This year was no exception, with a host of new products and technologies being introduced by major manufacturers to stay ahead of the curve in a highly competitive market.
Some of the more prominent new product innovations this year included the following:
- TileSun – A thin, flexible solar panel designed for the rooftops of homes and businesses alike. It’s bendable and can be cut to shape, or applied directly to the surface using a permanent adhesive. Flexible solar panels are more than 85% efficient, resulting in substantial energy savings for users. Moreover, these tiles are about three times more efficient than standard solar panels, meaning they’ll generate about the same amount of electricity while using less energy.
- Mako Power – A sleek, attractive, and highly efficient solar powered battery that stores energy from the sun to provide power for lighting, electronics, and small appliances such as room temperatureers. These batteries are made from materials that are both biodegradable and compostable, and they have a bright orange peel that blends in perfectly with solar energy installations. With Mako Power, you won’t be wearing a dirty white shirt when the lights go out. (Yes, they come with a pretty sexy blue shirt too).
- Powerful Products – A wide range of powerful flashlights, each one offering a selection of high-quality light sources designed for specific applications. These lights are equipped with an internal battery charge which provides them with enough power to run for about 300 hours on a single charge. In case you happen to drop one in the dirt, it’ll survive a large fall without breaking. However, if you do happen to drop one in the water, it might not be as easy to repair. (Water damage is a common issue for waterproof lights.)
- New Solar Inverters – These professional devices are used to convert the direct current (DC) voltage produced by solar panels into a usable alternating current (AC) voltage that can be used by different types of appliances and electronics.
- New Solar Charge Controllers – These are devices used to regulate the current generated by solar panels, ensuring a steady supply of electricity regardless of the current demand. Without them, your gadgets and appliances would either run dangerously low on power or not work at all.
- Increased Battery Options – A number of manufacturers this year introduced a variety of new rechargeable batteries withstanding continuous use at higher charge levels for longer periods of time. These batteries are capable of powering almost any electronic device – from small appliances such as room heaters and air conditioners to large-scale industrial equipment such as forklifts and backhoes. Some of these batteries even boast exceptional cycling capabilities, allowing them to be recharged and used over and over again. (This is great if you’re running low on power and need something to keep the lights on for a little while longer.)
- Smart Solar – A wide range of smart devices and applications designed to make your life simpler and more enjoyable when using renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. For example, the SolarWindow series of smart shades lets you control the amount of sunlight entering your home or office space, while Sustainability Mode on the Sustainability Display series of TVs turns them into functional green screens which show relevant environmental information for those living or working in sustainable environments.
- Eco-Friendly – A growing number of manufacturers this year introduced eco-friendly alternatives to traditional electricity generation, relying solely on renewable energy sources for their products. In fact, many of these manufacturers were focused on producing green alternatives to traditional energy products, demonstrating the growing demand for eco-friendly products and processes in the industry.
More Consumers Shopping For Renewable Energy
With prices steadily decreasing and governments around the world implementing more eco-friendly policies, more and more people are looking for ways to reduce their energy consumption and contribute to a better environment. As a result, the global market for solar energy products and services was valued at $16.9 billion in 2015 and is predicted to grow to $26.3 billion by 2019.
In the U.S., the market for solar energy was worth an estimated $4.7 billion in 2015 and is projected to hit $7.1billion by 2019. Moreover, according to The New York Times, consumers are now more likely to purchase renewable energy products and services than before, with 59% of those surveyed in a recent national survey saying they’d consider buying solar equipment as an option.
This increase in consumer interest has led to a rise in the popularity of solar products and services among both individuals and businesses. To take advantage of this trend, you can start by considering what type of system you need for your specific situation. Next, you can look into different financing options or decide to go with a pay-as-you-go system and avoid any financial burden. Then, there’s also the choice of whether to go with panels or purchases – both options have their pros and cons but you need to consider what’s more suitable for your needs.
Ultimately, it comes down to this: if you’re in the market for a sustainable energy product or service, it’s worth considering all your options before making a purchase. From there, you can consult with an expert or research the products and services yourself before making a decision.