How a Company Uses Quantum Dots for Solar Energy

While most people are focused on the rising cost of energy, the advantages of using solar power as an alternative for electricity generation are becoming more apparent.

The cost of solar power has been declining as the demand for clean energy increases, and different technologies, such as photovoltaics (PVs) and solar thermal power (STP), are providing a way for businesses, schools, and governments to become more energy independent.

One of the reasons the cost of solar power is declining is because of advances in technology, like laser marking, that make it easier to track and monitor energy production. Another is the increase in the number of people choosing to go green and do their bit for the environment. However, while the technology is making it cheaper and easier for businesses to implement solar power, the complexity of the process can still see some challenges.

To find out more about these challenges, we spoke to Daniel Hessel, Director of Sales & Marketing at Nuvoton, a leading provider of quality control testing and measurement instruments for the solar industry.

How The Solar Industry Is Changing To Adopt New Technologies

The first step to understanding the complexities of going solar is understanding how the solar industry has changed over the past decade.

Even five years ago, most businesses and government institutions were not interested in going solar, as it was neither cost-effective nor reliable enough to provide sustained energy. However, the shift in interest to renewables, and in particular to solar, can be attributed to a combination of factors.

Manufacturers have continued to improve the efficiency of solar cells and panels to lower the cost of production, providing businesses and schools with the practicality of generating their own power and cutting back on their electricity bills. In fact, according to a report published by the Solar Industry Association (SIA), between 2010 and 2014, the cost of solar equipment decreased by 31%, with the price of PV modules costing $0.62 per watt in 2010 to $0.36 per watt in 2014.

The report also states that the size of installed solar capacity increased from 0.5 to 1.7 gigawatts in the same period. This trend should not come as a great surprise: with the cost of solar power decreasing, more and more businesses are looking to adopt a green approach to their energy use and replace fossil fuels with more eco-friendly alternatives.

Another factor driving the growth of the solar industry is the increased availability of funding and support for renewable energy projects, particularly those that produce electricity. In the United Kingdom, for example, support for solar projects more than doubled between 2010 and 2015 — from £0.13 to £0.25 per kWh — and the government expects this trend to continue.

The government’s move toward supporting green energy is not just limited to the UK. Across Europe, governments are encouraging the development and use of renewable energy technologies, like solar, to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and reduce pollution. For example, in Germany, 16 financial instruments and policies designed to support renewable energy projects were introduced in 2015 alone.

As the cost of solar power continues to decline, the appeal of generating your own energy is becoming more apparent. As well as providing a practical solution to reduce energy costs, going solar also helps to reduce carbon emissions. The Solar Industry Association report notes that while the total amount of energy generated by solar power is less than 1%, it also states that this represents a more than 95% reduction in terms of carbon dioxide emissions compared to power generated by traditional energy sources.

Why Use Lasers For Monitoring And Tracking

To ensure that the output of their solar farms is as dependable and reliable as possible, businesses and schools must track and monitor the energy production of each solar module, panel, and plant in real time. This is where laser marking comes in: by using a laser to etch small marks on the surface of the solar cell or panel, companies can keep track of how much energy each component produces and when it needs replacing.

This process is not easy: according to the Solar Trade Association, over 80% of businesses and schools find it difficult or very difficult to track and monitor the production of their solar power.

One issue that often hinders this process is that the solar panels and cells for photovoltaics are manufactured in such large quantities that small marks, like those made by lasers, are often lost in the noise of the system. This is why manufacturers have turned to various technologies, including laser marking, which they feel will more reliably allow them to keep track of energy production and avoid any unnecessary costs and complications.

The Benefits Of Laser Marking

Not only does laser marking provide a reliable way for businesses and schools to track and monitor the production of their solar power, but it also has other proven advantages.

The ability to keep track of energy production in real time makes it easier to ensure your panels and cells are working efficiently and can help you to spot any potential issues before they become problems. This in turn helps to maintain a high level of product quality while also cutting back on unnecessary administrative costs, like having to send out extra people to carry out spot checks and inspections.

Laser marking also helps to identify and isolate faults in solar panel and cell production before they cause major problems down the line. This is often the case when a mark created by a laser is difficult to see or can be easily confused with another similar mark.

How The Cost Of Going Solar Is Decreasing

The decrease in the cost of solar power is not just a practical solution to reduce energy bills but is also a result of the increase in demand for clean energy, coupled with technological advances in the sector that make it more efficient and reliable. In 2014, the cost of installing a small solar power system (<20kW) in a business or school dropped to $0.59 per watt, compared to $0.81 per watt in 2010. This is mainly because the cost of photovoltaic modules has decreased by 31% between those two years.

To put this into perspective, the cost of generating electricity from a renewable source, like solar power, is currently $0.03 per kWh in the UK, compared to $0.05 per kWh from non-renewable sources like fossil fuels. This means that for every kWh produced by solar power, the electricity generation costs $0.02, while the cost of generating one kWh from fossil fuels is $0.04. In other words, going solar is not only cheaper in the long term but is more environmentally beneficial as well.

The cost of generating electricity from fossil fuels will continue to increase, as wholesale energy prices are currently at an all-time high and are expected to increase even further in the coming years. In the short term, this means that going solar is a practical and affordable solution to reduce your dependence on fossil fuels and cut down on your energy costs. In the long term, it is also reduces carbon dioxide emissions and makes your energy more environmentally friendly.

Final Takeaway

The increased demand for solar power, coupled with the decreased cost of installing and operating a small-scale solar farm, means that more and more businesses and schools are looking to adopt this green approach to generate their own clean energy. This trend should not come as a great surprise: while most people are focused on the rising cost of energy, the practicality of energy independence provided by solar power is becoming more apparent.

Manufacturers continue to innovate and improve technology to make solar power more affordable and accessible, and the benefits of this are now becoming more apparent. By adopting a more eco-friendly approach to their energy use, businesses can not only keep track of production but can also reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and reduce pollution as a result.

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