No other renewable source of energy looks better positioned for long-term success than solar power. In 2020, solar provided 3.3% of the US’s total electricity, which is up from 2.3% in 2018 and 0.1% in 2008. This signals that solar energy is growing at a rate comparable to that of EVs and gearing up to go mainstream.
Look up to the rooftops of Californian homes or drive out into the sprawling Mojave Desert, and it becomes clear how ubiquitous solar power is among large utilities, businesses and small suburban families. Several states are doubling down on this trend and spurring on through policy and regulations, establishing bold targets, and providing companies and consumers compelling incentives to go solar.
It would be fair to say that the increasing popularity of solar and its role in making energy greener, affordable, and accessible has resulted in the rise of newer and cooler technologies like EVs and batteries; but it is important to note that the future of these technologies is closely knit to the success of solar power.
Solar Needs a Digital Energy Orchestrator
There are two primary variables in the equation of solar technology. The first is the infrastructure around solar energy generation, like solar panels and cells, inverters, and integrated storage solutions. The second is the orchestration software and hardware that enables solar to power a sustainable and readily scalable ecosystem.
Solar power isn’t without its challenges. For instance, energy generation drops even if it is slightly overcast. Thankfully, efficiency of photovoltaics has gone up from ~4% during the early 2000s to ~25% today (inside labs). The focus now is on storage solutions like lithium-ion, vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB), and solid-state batteries that can store and transmit power when required. However, cost-effective options for providers and individuals are yet to work out.
To bridge the gap between continuous access to power and affordable storage solutions, we must turn to smart energy and asset management technologies to make generation more efficient and enable smarter operation, management, and maintenance of solar power plants. In other words, a Digital Energy Orchestrator. This is a compelling requirement in a post-Covid world, as industry players prepare to invest big in remote operations and management capabilities for solar farms. Indeed, it is important that while the industry works on physical energy systems — their enablers, and infrastructure — it is crucial to create a smart digital ecosystem to run this system of systems efficiently.
A Digital Backbone Will Keep the Industry Upright
Picture 300 acres of solar panels coated in dust. The panels function at reduced capacity, and a team is needed to step out into the field to address the situation. Until that happens, the generation company loses money alongside energy. In this …….