Is Solar PV The Future of Energy?
According to the UK Government Energy Trends Report in 2021, the UK’s Solar energy currently makes up 6.8% of the UK’s total renewable energy generation. Although this doesn’t seem like much, this figure is only expected to increase in the coming months and years. The UK’s capacity of generating renewable energy is growing, however, this isn’t the only thing that is increasing in the world of solar energy.
What is Solar PV?
First off, what is solar PV?. Solar PV stands for Solar Photovoltaic which is a type of technology that converts solar energy into electrical energy. Solar PV is used to create solar cells which make up solar panels.
Is increased sun exposure shaping demand?
At times, it’s hard to imagine that the UK experiencing more sun than ever before – especially when we’re showered with ‘traditional English weather’; dreary days of clouds, and rain. However, solar is still proving to be a reliable source of clean energy within our UK climate. Read our article on how effective solar panels are even in the darkest of days.
But is the UK climate changing, and what effect might this have on energy demand?
On average, the world has gotten an average of 1°C hotter – and UK has followed this curve. Since the industrial revolution, global warming has kicked in causing not only drought, floods, and the polar icecaps to melt, but more locally causing heatwaves and making warmer periods last longer.
As a result, since 2021 the UK has seen more sun than ever before – while also increasing its infrastructure to deliver a 26% increase in solar power generation. The future looks bright for UK solar.
Solar PV – more affordability
Due to the recent changes in the UK climate and the UK government plans for a greener future through their “Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution”, the government is keen on setting out incentives to encourage the use of renewable energy. Here are a few examples of some of the funding/support offered for solar PV:
- The Green Deal: from 2013-2015, the government financed for energy saving improvements including solar, since then private investors have allowed for the continuation for home-owners to receive loans to support funding for solar PV panels.
- The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG): This scheme enables a post-installation revenue stream from solar panels. It aims to offer export tariffs when you feed the renewable energy made from your solar panels back into the National Grid – allowing you to receive and make money using solar energy.
- The ECO4 Scheme: This scheme offers funding for installing solar PV as part of the extension of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO). The amount you receive is dependent on type of benefits you are already receiving and who your energy company providers are. Check your eligibility today.
Potential continuation of cost reductions?
Aside from these additional incentives, the actual process of installing solar PV are at an all-time low – seeing a 42% decrease in prices since 2015 with a more recent 13% reduction. With this in mind, solar could be the new, cheaper, cleaner and more environmentally friendly energy source. With the current trends of pricing, could solar PV prices could reduce even further?
Solar PV – higher adoption and appeal.
Solar is becoming exponentially more popular. In fact, installation of solar panels could boost the value of your property, which is especially beneficial if you are looking to sell your property. According to the National Home Energy Survey, 69% of home owners were more likely to buy a property that had solar panels.
These statistics just go to show the interrelation between the rising energy prices and the interest of renewable energy in a home in the property market. With the continuation of the rise in energy prices, the future of solar is bright.
Future solar technologies?
AI has become a hot topic in the world. But how far can AI go? The answer is we don’t know the huge extent yet – it is continuously growing and expanding. The power of AI has transformed so many industries, is solar next? Will Solar welcome AI?
Let’s take a look at some prospects of solar and AI.
Solar AI Forecasting
Recently there has been a lot of research going into Solar forecasting using AI. But why is this? The answer is to stabilize the production of solar energy. Doing so will enable conserving and controlling the production of back up energy from the national grid being needed to cover the demand in energy if there is a significant dip in solar energy production.
Embracing AI could be the next big step moving forwards in Solar PV technology. With this in mind, there are prospects for this following the partnership between the non-profit Open Climate Fix product lab and The National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO). Their plans involve developing AI based models to forecast the weather conditions for the solar PV panels in the UK using satellite imagery.
Solar AI Optimisation and Maintenance
New AI algorithms are being developed to optimise how efficiently solar panels can absorb sun rays and produce electricity. Additionally, AI technology could help to manage the maintenance of solar technology at scale; automatically indicating when panels are damaged or malfunctioning – and enabling the deployment of large solar sites that are relatively easy to manage.
However, we do not yet know the limits of AI and solar. More research is being carried out, and innovations are sure to follow in this emerging market.
Interested in installing Solar PV?
Find out more about solar power and solar energy in our other blogs:
Alternatively, if you are interested in installing solar PV to your home, check out our solar power page or enquire here today.