Research institutes and manufacturers are working on making solar cells and modules even more efficient while at the same time reducing costs. The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in Freiburg recently set the world record for multicrystalline silicon at 22.3%, besting its own previous performance.
Photovoltaics are experiencing a second wind in Europe: In 2018, experts expect deployment to exceed 10 GW for the first time in years. Last year the European solar market already recorded annual growth of 28 percent, based on deployment of 8.61 GW.
2017 marked a milestone for the photovoltaics industry. For the first time, the solar capacity installed around the world exceeded 100 GW. And industry experts anticipate deployment to reach as much as 110 GW this year.
The vitality of the market, the decreasing costs and the professionalization of photovoltaics are breathtaking. The main drivers are large-scale solar power stations, and in many countries they are now generating cheaper electrical energy than conventional power plants.
Since the upturn in renewable energies, electricity supply has been undergoing a global transformation. Electricity which is generated locally and renewably should be distributed intelligently, stored efficiently and consumed sensibly – whether in private homes, the public grid or transportation.
Rapid advancements in modern communication technology make it possible to collect, exchange and store data, thereby accelerating the development of an energy supply based on renewable sources. At the same time, this technology is opening up new business areas, such as the development of intelligent energy management systems or the consolidation of decentralized generation systems into virtual power plants or decentralized single home storage systems into virtual large-scale storage systems.
Digitalization and renewable energies are revolutionizing the business of trading and selling electricity. In November 2017, the utility Wuppertaler Stadtwerke became the world’s first municipal enterprise to launch a green power trading center, where the transactions are carried out using blockchain technology.