Photovoltaic technology (solar energy) is an increasingly important technology in the world’s fight against climate change. According to the goals of the Paris Agreement, the rise in global average temperatures must be limited to 1.5 °C to reduce risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security, and economic growth caused by the impact of climate change.
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While the pandemic slowed down almost all industries, the clean energy sector was not one of them. From 2020 to 2021, the global renewable energy industry grew at its fastest rate since 1999, and solar power grew by almost 50%. To enable renewables, including solar energy, to reach their full potential so that we can reduce the greenhouse gas emissions related to non-renewable energy as rapidly and sustainably as possible, there are some challenges that must first be addressed.
The Low Power Density of Renewables
Renewable energy is not without its drawbacks, and these limitations are preventing its capabilities and the rate at which it is being adopted.
One such limitation is that the power densities obtained from renewable energy sources are lower than non-renewable sources. On average, non-renewable power densities are around three orders of magnitude larger than those of renewables.
Renewable energy sources require a greater physical footprint than non-renewables to produce the same amount of power. As the global population continues to grow and urbanization accelerates, the land is becoming an ever-increasingly sought-after resource. The rising need for land to build on and grow crops on is competing with all other claims for land. Therefore, in shifting the world from non-renewable energy to renewable, significantly more land is needed for energy production.
Photovoltaic technology has the highest power density of all renewable energy sources. It is also the only renewable source that has experienced a positive relationship in power density over time. Therefore, photovoltaic technology offers the best opportunity to enhance the power density of renewables by adapting its processes.
High Energy Density Solar Technology
UK-based sustainable energy company Naked Energy is revolutionizing the future of solar power with its high energy density solar technology, Virtu. After succeeding in raising £1.1 million ($1.3 million), Naked Energy expedited Virtu’s launch, the world's highest energy density solar technology.
The new high-energy-density solar technology helps make zero-carbon buildings possible on a global scale. With Virtu’s launch, an entirely new category of solar technology has emerged that allows businesses to lower their operating costs while reducing their emissions and generating energy on-site from as little space as possible.
Naked Energy - Introducing VirtuPVT
Video Credit: Naked Energy/YouTube.com
Virtu technology produces more energy per square foot than any other photovoltaic technology. This advancement is key to furthering the adoption of solar energy by making it more realistic as an energy source for homes and businesses that previously may not have had sufficient space for solar panels.
The innovation, known as VirtuPVT combines solar PV and solar thermal, generating both heat and power from the available space. The system provides heat up to temperatures of 80 °C as well as electrical power generation, ready for use on-site. This innovative strategy of combining heat and power generation results in reduced costs of materials and installation, which will help support the widespread shift from non-renewables to renewables, a vital and necessary step towards achieving global carbon neutrality goals.
Tests have demonstrated that significantly more energy is captured using VirtuPVT than conventional photovoltaic technology. The key is that Virtu uses high energy density solar technology to reduce the space needed to generate the same amount of power. For example, to produce the same amount of power, conventional PV panels require 50% more space than Virtu panels.
Naked Energy - Introduction
Video Credit: Naked Energy/YouTube.com
Helping the World Meet Climate Change Goals
This new technology represents a significant advancement in the clean energy sector. Not only will it help generate more renewable energy and make solar power more easily adopted but it will also encourage future projects to solve the various other challenges that are preventing the use of renewable energy from reaching its full potential.
To meet global climate change goals, we not only need to shift towards renewable energy sources, but we also need to continue to develop renewable technology so that it offers a sustainable and accessible form of power generation for both homes and businesses.
Technology must be affordable, convenient, and offer long-term solutions, otherwise, it will not be able to fully take over the market that non-renewables have dominated for decades. Naked Energy’s innovation meets all these requirements and will likely play an important role in securing a future of sustainable energy.
References and Further Reading
Jillian Ambrose. (2020). Global renewable energy industry grew at fastest rate since 1999 last year. [Online]. The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/may/11/global-renewable-energy-industry-grew-at-fastest-rate-since-1999-last-year
Jonathan Ford. (2020). Green power needs to be dense power. [Online]. Financial Times. Available at: https://www.ft.com/content/763b96c3-438f-4f5b-b6cb-f94f4dbfbaf2
Naked Energy. [Online]. Naked Energy. Available at: https://www.nakedenergy.co.uk