For years, fossil fuels have been the driving force behind the global energy market, contributing to the world’s prosperity. However, as energy demand grows and the environment becomes more conscious, alternative sources of energy are garnering attention.
Amongst these, solar energy draws a lot of attention due to its many advantages. Not only is it sustainable, but it’s also free. The impact of solar energy is evident in areas where it is widely deployed, especially in countries with sunnier climates and where energy utilities are expensive.
According to the International Energy Agency, solar energy accounts for nearly a quarter of global electricity generation. It’s no wonder many countries are looking into ways to diversify their energy sources, making solar energy a reliable and attractive option.
The Rise In Adoption
Over the past decade, the solar market has seen an incredible rise in adoption, especially in countries where energy utilities are expensive. This is due in part to the large-scale manufacturing of solar panels and the introduction of innovative and flexible solar financing solutions.
In 2017, nearly all regions of the world experienced an increase in solar energy deployment. This was especially the case in China, where there was a 300% increase in new solar installations. In the U.S., the National Solar Panel Production and Deployment Act was passed, supporting the large-scale manufacturing of panels and offering financial incentives to businesses and homeowners who adopt solar energy. Flexible Solar 2.0 is another financing solution that enables businesses and individuals to purchase solar energy equipment without the need for upfront capital.
The Growth Of The Sunnier Markets
The demand for electricity is growing rapidly in countries such as India and China, which have rapidly developing economies and large populations. This presents a significant opportunity for companies that deploy solar energy, as there are already more than 600 million solar-ready houses in these countries.
Based on the population of these countries, this presents a great opportunity to sell a lot of solar power. However, solar energy is expensive, which presents a significant challenge for energy utilities in emerging markets.
The Growth Of The Self-sufficient Living Community
In places such as California and Hawaii, where the climate is hospitable and solar energy is abundant, individuals and communities have formed self-sufficient living communities that are entirely dependent on solar energy for their day-to-day needs.
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, California became the largest solar power producer in the world last year, contributing significantly to the economic boom in the state. Moreover, since 2010, the cost of solar energy has dropped by nearly 50%, which has made it more affordable.
This has enabled many individuals and communities to adopt solar energy, providing them with the opportunity to become more self-sufficient. In the future, more and more individuals and communities may choose to adopt this type of lifestyle, taking the world’s energy future into their own hands.
The Growth Of Biomass Energy
Renewable energy, such as solar energy and biomass energy, can play a crucial role in helping to alleviate global energy poverty. Biomass energy is renewable and can be collected easily from urban areas, where trees and plants are grown for energy production.
This is an environmentally friendly source of energy that is reliable and has a lot of potential, especially in areas where solar energy is not available or practical. Due to its proximity to areas of infrastructure and habitation, urban trees provide an easy target for land-based bioenergy collection. Many countries, such as Germany, have made it mandatory for energy companies to use biomass energy, partly due to the environmental benefits and partly due to the fluctuating nature of fossil fuels and the cost of electricity.
The Growth Of Off-grid Energy
Off-grid energy, also known as distributed energy, has become popular over the past few years and is expected to continue growing, especially in emerging markets. This type of energy produces electricity independently of large power grids, which enable households and businesses to create their own power supply and become more self-sufficient and independent.
According to the International Energy Agency, off-grid energy provides a viable solution to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly in emerging markets where utility providers lack economic clout and political influence.
Off-grid energy allows communities to have access to electricity, improving quality of life and boosting local economies. Moreover, due to its decentralized and independent nature, it poses a significant challenge for energy utilities and government agencies, making it a growing source of alternative energy.
The Growth Of Hydropower
Hydropower, or waterpower, is another renewable energy source whose popularity continues to grow, especially in emerging markets. Just as with other renewable energies, the cost of hydropower has come down significantly, creating opportunities for impoverished communities.
According to the International Energy Agency, 70% of the worldwide installed hydropower capacity is located in emerging markets, especially in countries such as China and India. Hydropower provides a stable and sustainable source of energy, especially in regions where the climate is wet and power outages are common.
Moreover, in areas where hydropower is widely deployed, such as parts of Scandinavia and Europe, the average annual energy cost for households using it is considerably lower than the average annual energy cost for those relying on expensive and dirty energy sources.
Why Is Renewable Energy Popular?
Renewable energy, such as solar energy and biomass energy, is popular for several reasons. Not only are these sources sustainable, but due to their proximity to areas of infrastructure and habitation, they are also reliable and easily accessible. This makes them ideal for areas lacking energy resources, due to either a lack of supply or an expensive and unpredictable cost of imported energy.
These sources are also easily scalable, due to their ability to be produced in large or small quantities. This makes them ideal for communities and businesses that seek to diversify their energy sources or those that wish to go independent, with the ability to provide for their own energy needs. As time goes on, as more and more countries look to reduce their carbon footprints and become more sustainable, renewable energy will only become more popular.