The solar energy sector is one of the fastest growing business opportunities worldwide. In addition to being an attractive business opportunity, this sector also has the added benefit of providing enormous benefits to environment and society. To a large extent, we have maintained a focus on solar PV (photovoltaic), as this is the real segment presenting tremendous opportunities currently.
The discussions in each segment involve both the new technologies and the adaptation of existing technologies.
Solar PV Cells and Modules
- Among the most promising technologies are the use of super-efficient semiconductor materials like perovskite and gallium-arsenide. The advantages of pervoskite include higher efficiency, one-third of the fabricating cost of silicon-based cells and cheap material.
- Concentrated solar PV is a highly efficient but highly complex form of solar but with the use of cost-efficient concentrating optics that dramatically reduce the cell area, allowing for the use of more expensive, high efficiency cells and potentially a levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) competitive with standard flat-plate PV technology
- Organic thin film PV cells are one of the emerging technologies in the cell manufacturing business opportunities
- Robotic cleaning systems
- Hybrid solar-wind systems
- Low Cost Solar Lanterns: Solar lanterns are increasingly finding applications in the rural areas for lighting purpose with key features such as LEDs, mobile charging, battery back-up etc.
- Clustered Solar Street Lighting Systems are solar powered photovoltaic modules that have a centralized power generation unit and the generated power is distributed to the street-lightings.
- Micro/Mini Grid for Village electrification: Micro-grids are modern, small-scale versions of the centralized electricity system. They are very effective for achievement of community-level electrification in remote areas, using renewable energy sources and have a low carbon footprint.
- Solar ATMs have innovative Cash Dispensing Mechanism, that does not use any conveyor belt and the cassette is mounted vertically in the top half of the ATM. It also uses lower-power consuming processors and LCD displays that consume much less power and Linux as OS.
- Other major emerging opportunities are solar powered food cart, mobile solar powered homes, solar trees, bio-toilets
- Build Own Operate (Transfer) or BOO(T): Under this model, the rooftop plant is owned and developed by an IPP, with the power generated by the plant sold to the consumer on whose rooftop the plant is constructed.
- Non-penetrating mounting structures: The typical solar installation on a concrete roof requires mounting structures that penetrate the roof, raising concerns with waterproofing and other structural issues in some buildings. The use of non-penetrating mountings has allowed solar plants to be mounted on such buildings.
- Building Integrated Photovoltaic can be integrated such that it blends with the surrounding materials and is aesthetically pleasing. BIPVs can be in the form of Solar Shingles or coloured panels or directly integrated Solar panels (they function as the roof itself without other mounting structures).
- Smartphone and smart watch apps for SPV rooftop power plants
Batteries and Inverters
- The vanadium-redox-flow-system has received considerable attention during the last few years as a promising candidate for the storage of photovoltaic energy due to its various advantages—potential cost savings compared to lithium ion batteries, an expected life of more than 5,000 cycles, which translates into a 15-year lifetime if used for 200-300 days annually.
- Design of innovative power electronics systems such as hybrid inverter for solar/wind integrated power plants
- Software to monitor the battery’s charge and suggest savings opportunities that utilize the battery.