The bottom is over: After setbacks and difficult advances, solar energy is now on the rise, according to the headline topic “Solar Trials” in the April issue of Bild der Wissenschaft. Accordingly, lower costs, new technologies, materials, and potential applications stimulate the use of sunlight as an energy source.
As is well known, greenhouse gases from fossil fuels, air pollutants, and nuclear disasters have caused major problems – the world needs sustainable energy supply systems! Mankind largely agrees with this. Using solar energy is an important option. But for a long time it was not very profitable compared to conventional power generation. Government subsidies only helped him trigger a short-lived boom in Germany, which has diminished dramatically in the past decade. But now there are signs of growth again: In 2020, solar energy has already contributed about 10% to the energy supply – a significant increase compared to previous years.
As explained by Ralph Butcher, a technology expert at the FBI, in the main article “The Sunny Times” for the four-part headline, it is clearly a positive shift. So one of the reasons is that the cost of photovoltaics has become a smaller obstacle to development. This benefits the desire of many homeowners, farmers and traders to be as independent as possible from the major electricity providers and to ensure clean electricity generation. This applies not only in Germany, but also in other parts of the world. As reported by Butcher, new materials and technical tricks are now leading to higher levels of efficiency and wider application possibilities. However, experts warn: In order to achieve climate goals, the expansion of solar energy must continue to be promoted in a targeted manner.
In the second article, bdw author Frank Frick focuses on advances in photovoltaic technology using perovskite materials. Since their development about ten years ago, researchers have increased the efficiency of these systems by more than 20 percentage points. It is clear that perovskite solar cells are particularly suitable as partners in tandem with cells made of silicon. The author says that photovoltaics containing perovskites are on their way more and more from the laboratory into everyday life: they can be used, for example, on rooftops, motion detectors, irrigation systems, and smart home applications.
Frick then takes a look at developments in solar vehicle driving. According to him, the global boom in electric cars has given the development of these technologies new impetus. What is really possible can be seen, among other things, in the international “World Solar Challenge” competition, where vehicles travel through Australia with energy only.
The title topic is approximated by a look at the potential and applicability of solar modules to architecture. In an article titled “Haus unter Strom,” author Bdw Hartmut Netz mentioned how solar cells on the fronts of homes could someday generate all the electricity needed on a daily basis. In addition, new technologies also allow for an attractive architectural design. For example, solar cells could even be attached to curved facade surfaces in the future.
The cover topic “Solar Trials” can be found in the April issue of bild der Wissenschaft, which will be available in stores from March 16th.