It is often said that life in the 21st century is looking more like a Game of Thrones than the real world. New businesses emerge and thrive, while old institutions crumble. The fossil fuel industry, for example, is facing an existential crisis because of climate change, and its grip on the world may be weakening.
In that fantastic world, the renewable energy industry has thrived. There is still a lot of work to be done, but the industry grew by 27% last year. Germany, in particular, experienced a massive influx of green investment, with new renewable projects opening every week. The country has now surpassed its self-imposed climate targets and is looking towards a society powered by green energy.
One of the biggest benefactors of this trend is the solar power industry. The following will examine the growth of the sector and its impact on our world. Keep reading!
The Rise Of The Solar Industry
The world’s first commercial solar farm was built in the US in 1913, and the industry really took off in the latter part of the 20th century. It wasn’t until the 21st century, though, that solar power started becoming popular. This is primarily because of the surge of green energy that emerged in response to climate change.
The sector grew by 27% last year alone. As more and more people woke up to the reality of climate change, they began seeking out renewable energy sources that they could depend on. In 2019 alone, there were more than 400 mergers, acquisitions, and funding rounds in the solar industry.
The benefits of solar power are endless. Not only does it not emit any greenhouse gases when producing energy, but it also doesn’t have the same impact on the environment as fossil fuels. Furthermore, it is completely renewable, so it can never run out. In many parts of the world, especially Germany, solar power already forms a large part of the energy supply.
The Growth Of Mini-Solar
Although solar power as a whole grew by 27% last year, the opposite was true for small solar generators, or “mini-solars” as they are commonly known. These are the ones that you can fit onto your roof or terrace. They are usually used for small-scale, local electrification and for powering appliances such as kettles, hairdryers, and water heaters.
These appliances don’t need to be connected to the mains electricity supply, so they can be operated independently from it. That way, if there is a power cut or your electricity bill rises, you can still have some use out of your devices. The mini-solar market grew by 16% last year and is anticipated to continue expanding.
The Difference In Size And Usage
It’s not just about the growth rates, either. The mini-solar industry is actually a whole lot smaller than the larger counterpart. In 2019, there were 263 different product ranges in the market, ranging from small (< 2kW) all the way up to large (> 20kW).
One of the significant differences between the two is the type of people they’re designed for. The larger model is usually used by homeowners and small businesses, while the smaller models are more suitable for individuals, especially those living in apartments.
The former group sees their electric bills as a major area of interest, so they are more likely to invest in a larger model that can generate sufficient power for multiple electrical appliances. On the other hand, individuals who are on a limited budget see the mini-solar as a cost-effective solution. That is why the budget-conscious consumer sees the most demand for the small generators.
The Main Manufacturers
The mini-solar market is mainly dominated by a handful of manufacturers, most of which are from China. The major producers in the country include Trina, which became the world’s largest solar panel manufacturer in 2019, and Suntech, which was the second-largest producer before being overtaken by Trina. These two companies account for more than 50% of the industry.
It comes as no surprise, then, that a lot of the panels being produced in China lack the necessary certifications and accreditations that come with being made there. That is why in July 2020, the government of China tightened its guidelines on the export of solar-related products, including panels.
The German government has an ambitious target of providing 100% of the country’s energy from renewable sources by 2050. It is, therefore, likely that the country’s large solar industry will continue expanding, with many new projects set to come online in the next few years.
It’s not just about power generation, either. The government is also looking into the potential that renewable energy has for generating income. Through tax-free power sales and other innovative finance instruments, the government is looking to bring more prosperity to a region that was already experiencing high rates of employment.
While we wait for the energy companies to begin providing more information, the above should leave you with plenty to think about. More and more people are realizing the importance of investing in renewable energy, and it would be a shame to miss out on the opportunities that it presents.