Solar power’s growth trajectory is pushing upwards in 2018. Solar represented 55% of new electricity capacity added in Q1 2018, and installations in the U.S. grew +13% vs year ago. This is the 10th consecutive quarter with at least 2 GW added to the grid and the second quarter where solar had the most significant share of new capacity. Forecasts remain positive with 28 U.S. states expected to 100+ MW solar markets by 2020, and most of those generating more than 1 GW of operating solar.
The gains in solar power capacity reflect an increased urgency to find sustainable energy solutions as global climate change and depletion of non-renewable sources continues. Why solar? Because the sun continuously produces 173,000 terawatts – more than 10,000 times the world’s total energy use.
Innovations in solar panel application point toward a solar-powered future.
1. Net-Zero Schools
Net-zero schools use efficiency technologies and generate power on-site to produce as much energy as is consumed from the electrical grid. Net-zero schools represent 37% of non-residential net-zero building activity and are popping up across the nation, from San Francisco, CA to Arlington, VA. Discovery Elementary in Arlington was built with 1,700 solar panels generating 500 kilowatts. If all buildings in the district followed suit, energy savings would total about $6 million annually.
2. Project Sunroof from Google
Google is helping homeowners in the U.S., U.K. and Germany estimate their house’s solar potential. The online tool evaluates roof area, shape and angle and weather information including sun positioning. This data, needed by installers, is quickly delivered and can reassure potential buyers about their home’s ability to rely on solar. Ikea offers a similar service with Solarcentury and Tesla has a Solar Roof Calculator available.
3. Vanadium Redox Batteries
VRBs are leading the flow battery market as an energy storage solution. The future value of solar power is dependent on the availability of storage. Lasting up to 15,000 cycles and with a reusable electrolyte, vanadium batteries are gaining acceptance globally for scalable, long-duration solar storage.
As the transition to solar power continues, StorEn’s development of vanadium redox batteries for residential and industrial applications is moving forward. Click here to learn more about StorEn’s innovative solution. If you’re interested in being part of the solution, find out how you can invest here.