2020 was a crucial year for solar energy. One of the most important steps was that California finally hit the million mark for the number of solar roofs installed as well as the number of solar projects in the United States. The USA They have almost doubled, with currently 21.3 gigawatts of projects. In fact, nearly 3 gigawatts of solar energy was installed in the third quarter of 2020 alone.
In this article, we look at some of the exceptional stories and trends in photovoltaic solar technology over the past year that will shape the solar scene in 2020.
New trends in the solar module industry
From floating solar module systems to two-sided solar modules, we take a look at the new technologies that have grown in popularity over the past year.
We are all going to float: floating solar panel systems are becoming more and more popular
Floating solar systems increased dramatically in 2020, and some of them even broke new records.
What are the floating solar systems?
Also called “floatovoltaïques”, they are floating structures formed by solar panels and installed in water. The system essentially serves as a floating power plant that supplies solar energy.
The first floating solar system was installed in 2007. Since then, technology has developed so much that floating systems have become a practical option for large systems. However, floating solar panels are not the best option for solar energy in residential areas.
The largest floating solar system in the United States was installed in October. The United States In Sayreville, New Jersey. In 2015, the city of Sayreville wanted to use solar energy to offset the energy consumption of a treatment plant. The response to the proposal was a 4.4 MW floating solar system.
The floating solar modules were installed by Ciel & Terre, a company specializing in floating solar projects. The same company announced in May that it would install the largest floating solar system in California to power a city of wastewater and a public building for the city of Windsor.
In 2020, Ciel & Terre also installed systems in Germany, Brazil, Chile, and Japan. From tanks in industrial facilities to tailings at mining sites, floating solar systems provide clean solar power to industry and governments around the world.
Cultivating the sun: agrivoltaics build a solar energy
A study published in 2019 found that solar panels have the potential to produce more energy when installed on agricultural land. The idea of combining solar systems with agriculture is known as “Agrivoltaik”.
The study found that the climate in agricultural areas of West America, Southern Africa, and the Middle East provides an excellent environment for the efficient production of electricity from solar panels.
The extended Chinese New Year vacation delayed production by three days. Production has been stopped due to mandatory work interruptions.
Plants such as aloe vera, tomatoes, lettuce, and corn, which are used for biogas, grow best when they have access to the intermittent shade provided by the solar panels. In addition, shade can be used to keep cattle cool.
This means that solar farms have the potential to produce more plants than traditional farms.
The benefits of including solar energy in agriculture are not limited to increasing agricultural production. Agriculture is an extremely energy-intensive sector and solar panels help offset electricity costs. Farmers who use solar energy spend l ess on their electricity bills and can in turn lower the prices of their products.
Besides reducing electricity bills and generating higher agricultural production, farmers around the world are installing solar panels for another reason.
In the low season, farmers do not earn much money. By installing solar panels, they can sell their excess electricity to the utility company, generating additional income.
Farmers have also turned to solar power because of the new Trump administration regulations. Trade regulations have pushed soybean prices down, making previously profitable soybean farms unable to meet their needs.