Solar energy has significant benefits on our climate, health, and economy. In reality, the entire world is stressing to boost the production of solar energy that would solve the energy deficit in the future. Currently, solar power is on the third spot in terms of renewable sources after Hydropower and wind power, respectively.
With the ever-growing burden on the non-renewable energy resources, the need to find sustainable fuel is gaining importance. With the efficient use of technology, solar power is one of the upcoming types of renewable energy, which is one of the best options to meet the demands of the ever-growing population.
Solar power is the conversion of sunlight into electricity. These are of two types- Photovoltaics (PV) and Concentrated Solar Power.
The early development of solar energy started in the 1860s, with a small-scale shift from coal and petroleum. But it was only in the 1930s, after the oil embargo, those energy policies had renewed, with its importance became realized. With the growing environmental concerns, the world saw the installation of residential and commercial rooftop PV power storehouses in the 1990s.
A photovoltaic cell or a solar cell is a device that converts photons of the sunlight into voltage like electricity using the photovoltaic effect. The most commonly installed rooftop PV is connected with the power grid in proximity, where the use of energy storage is optional. This energy can also be saved as back-ups, leading to the availability of power even at night time.
The Concentrated Solar Power uses lenses or mirrors and a tracking system to concentrate sunlight, and then use this heat to generate electricity. Thermal storage has the potential of 24-hour electricity generation.
With the sunshine occurring naturally, solar power can utilize infinitely, which makes it an energy prospect for most countries around the world. Additionally, helping countries to reduce their carbon prints. Solar power is a green fuel and harmless to the environment. It can be easily installed on both residential rooftops as well as a commercial building, making it easily accessible to all.
The affordability that tags along with it also helps in cutting down the utility bills. There is no need to spend a large amount of money in generating solar energy. It can increase according to the ever-changing needs of the population. It is free of noise, air, and land pollution.
Solar energy has a wide array of uses. The most recent development is the use of solar power to run an aircraft, called Solar Impulse, in 2015. It started its Round-The-World flight from Abu Dhabi. Although this depicts the remarkable potential of the energy, there are certain drawbacks attached to it.
It depends totally on the light from the sun. It is impossible to produce solar energy at night and on cloudy days. That makes it clear that you can’t depend 100% on it. The installation of back-ups can help in such situations, but it adds up to the already surged initial cost of installation of the solar panels.
The productivity of solar power depends on the geographical location of the country and the regions. These vary throughout the day, depending on the climates of the concerned areas. In this backdrop, 121 countries had drafted the International Solar Alliance, lying between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.
For several years, the European nations had a monopoly over the growth of solar PV. Gradually Asian countries have made progress in this segment. Currently, China and Japan are the top producers of solar PV. India and South Korea are the other two leading countries in the generation of solar energy.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing his Independence Day speech in 2020, mentioned the mega plan of the “One Sun One World One Grid” project, or a trans-national electricity grid supplying solar power across the world. It was the brainchild of PM Modi in 2018 during the first assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA).
China has the highest solar PV capacity of 204,700 MW as of 2019. The USA is amongst the top three solar-power producing nations, attributing to its possession of the apt technologies to exploit solar energy. It has 75,900 MW of solar PV capacity. Next comes Japan, with 63,000 MW solar PV capacity. Germany is the fourth-largest producer of solar power, producing 49,200 MW. Solar power is one of the best ways of reducing carbon footprint worldwide.
Here are the top 10 countries for Total Solar PV capacity in 2019:
|S. No.||Country||Solar PV Capacity (MW), as of 2019|
|2||The United States||75,900|