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Solar energy development in a global context: Technological and economical leadership

Date: 2022 - 01 - 08

Author: Roujin Chyau

In the 21st century, the continued rapid growth of the global population is unavoidable, which means the significant electricity demand is going to raise subsequently. However, there are problems behind electricity usage, such as the availability of resources and the consequence of energy brings to the environment after use.

Within several major energies being used nowadays, renewable energy is known as a clean, sustainable, and reliable resource which become increasingly popular for businesses. While solar power is one of them, which have three major utilization ways – photovoltaics, solar heating & cooling, and concentrating solar power [1]. Because solar only rely on sunlight to produce electrical energy with no air pollution and greenhouses gases created to harm the earth, it certainly becomes a superior resource as compared to the other unconventional and limited energies such as petroleum, coal, and natural gas. These advantages turn solar power into an important role in global businesses, with China and the United States being the two major countries that generate the highest solar PV between 2020 and 2021 [2], while their solar market expansion is in progress.

In terms of the emerging of renewable energy, the reduction of overall imports on fossil fuels is forecasted to be USD 104 billion in 2030, this eliminates the spending of up to 7% of GDP on energy imports in large economies like EU, Japan, China, and India [3]. The result of decreased fuel exports and savings on energy imports enable the countries to invest for other industrial growth, also create opportunities for the development of energy equipment, thus benefiting the country’s economy.

But what makes solar technologies so appealing? There are two main types of solar technologies, Photovoltaics (PV) and Concentrating Solar-Thermal Power (CSP). The difference between them is the converting process and its end use, PV directly convert the sunlight into electricity by panels for use, while CSP accumulates the sun heat which transforms into mechanical energy or electricity for later use and storing purposes.

This creates functional benefits that allow to power electrical devices for both households and industries, to heat homes and foster operation. From the perspective of households, using stoves or water heaters in the winter through the electricity from solar power instead of natural gases can avoid carbon emissions, it not only reduces the costs of frequent maintenance but having sustainable power. From the perspective of industries, there is no fuel required for an operation which in turn save the production costs, while supporting the business continuedly in a cleaned way. Therefore, this shows solar power provide stable energy and make our lives easier.

The research suggests the technology used on water heating and electricity generation by CSP will be highly demanded in the MENA region because of its low cost and technical convenience [4]. Adding that the MENA region is going through population growth and rising consumption among households, the effect of solar energy will certainly improve the countries and aid economic growth. On the other hand, the development of PV technologies is rapid, including the cheap thin-film technology and the concentrating PV technology with high efficiency [4]. Although the development of PV technologies is followed by high variation costs, it is predicted to achieve high operating efficiency for the industries. Indeed, solar technology raises the livelihood economy and foster industry production and also occupy the market-dominant position in solar power leading countries such as the US, Japan, and India.

Because global warming become more and more serious, plus there are limited resources on the earth, it brings up the solar energy received technological and economical leadership globally In the future years, there is no doubt that solar power will gradually take place of the non-sustainable energy due to it is eco-friendly and limitless potential.

References:

[1] SEIA. (2000): About Solar Energy | SEIA. SEIA.https://www.seia.org/initiatives/about-solar-energy

[2] Global Energy Review 2021 (n.d.). Analysis - IEA. https://www.iea.org/reports/global-energy-review-2021/renewables

[3] IRENA. (2016). RENEWABLE ENERGY BENEFITS: MEASURING THE ECONOMICS. International Renewable Energy Agency. https://www.irena.org/-/media/Files/IRENA/Agency/Publication/2016/IRENA_Measuring-the-Economics_2016.pdf

[4] Mohammed, A., & Hisham, E. K. (2018). Solar Energy Technology Choice Development. E3S Web of Conferences, 64, 02003. https://doi.org/10.1051/e3sconf/20186402003