In its “2020 World Energy Outlook“, International Energy Agency (IEA, English abbreviation, International Energy Agency) said that its global analysis confirmed Solar energy is already the cheapest power source in history.
Compared with all other energy sources used for power generation today, it is not only the cheapest energy source, but also the cheapest energy source for all energy sources in the entire human history.
This process of evolving into the cheapest energy source has gone through a long process for many years, which is promoted by the continuous emergence of technological progress over time (especially in recent years).
Since permanent and accelerated technological progress will continue in the next few years, this cost reduction process will continue in the future.
1. The origin of modern solar energy development
Titled “Who discovered solar energy?“The origins were carefully reviewed as follows:
1. Where does modern solar start?
The history of modern solar energy can be traced back to 1839.
It was at this time that a 19-year-old French physicist AE Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect, and until then his method has been related to phosphorescence and light emission.
He found that immersing a gold or platinum plate in a solution and then exposing it to uneven solar radiation would generate an electric current. This discovery is used by scientists all over the world.
In the early 1860s, French mathematician August Mouchet began to apply for patents for solar motors.
In 1878, Mouchet and his assistant Abel Pifre (who will develop the first solar-powered printing press) demonstrated their solar engine at the World’s Fair in Paris and won a gold medal for their efforts. Unfortunately, Mouchet’s work is ahead of the times. The French government determined that solar energy was not economically feasible and terminated its funding. Fortunately, solar technology continues to evolve.
2. What is the beginning of solar commercialization?
In 1883, American inventor Charles Fritz created the first working selenium solar cell.
In 1888, a scientist named Aleksander Stoletov from Russia manufactured the first real solar cell and applied for a patent.
In 1891, Baltimore inventor Clarence Kemp (Clarence Kemp) applied for a patent for the first commercial solar water heater.
In 1905, the famous physicist Albert Einstein published an article on the photoelectric effect and how light carries energy, and solar energy has become the focus of world attention.
After Einstein’s extensive discovery of the potential mechanism of the photoelectric effect, there will be more innovations. This new knowledge enabled Bell Labs to produce the first modern solar cell in 1954. Although this project pioneered the solar technology as we know it today, its efficiency is very low. The cost of generating 1 watt of electricity was US$250, while the cost of coal-fired power plants at the time was US$2 to US$3/watt.
At that time, solar cells were still suitable for use in space. In 1958, the Pioneer 1 spacecraft used solar energy as a backup power source. A year later, a solar cell with an efficiency of 10% was developed, but it is still rarely used outside of space flight.
3. Oil shortage drives the growth of solar energy
In the early 1970s, there was a renewed interest in the potential of solar energy as a renewable energy source.
At that time, the global oil crisis and growing environmental problems prompted people to make new efforts to develop alternatives to fossil fuels. The increase in solar energy efficiency has reduced the price per watt from more than US$100 to about US$20.
The years 2000 and 2010 brought greater progress in the field of solar energy technology. The cost has been greatly reduced and the efficiency has been improved.
Today, in the United States, nearly one million homes use solar energy only for electricity or part of it.
two.The future of solar power
Since then, in fact, since 2010, solar energy has become commercially competitive in power generation due to the tremendous technological advances that have taken place since then, which has greatly reduced costs.
In that year, the power generation market was not only small in the world, but its use basically depended on subsidies granted by some developed countries.
The article pointed out in the previous section pointed out the following bright prospects for the use of solar power:
Today, the efficiency of photovoltaic cells is about 15%.
This means that 85% of the light they receive will not be converted into usable electricity. Scientists continue to try new technologies that can increase efficiency, thereby making solar panels more effective.
New technologies such as photosensitive nanoparticles and gallium arsenide may capture sunlight more effectively than existing photovoltaic cells, and important advances in solar storage technology are also being developed.
Recently, researchers at Ohio State University invented a solar cell that is 20% more efficient and 25% cheaper than solar cells on the market today.
As solar technology continues to advance, new types of solar cells made of new materials will continue to become more efficient in converting light into electricity.
Combined with lower costs, solar energy is expected to become one of the most important renewable energy technologies in the coming decades.
Compared with the past, the current situation has undergone a fundamental change. World Economic Forum entitled “The future of solar energy is bright“Describe the following:
This year, more than 115 gigawatts (GW) of solar energy will be installed globally, which is more than all other power generation technologies combined.
Its cost continues to decrease, especially in sunny areas, making it the cheapest new source of power generation.
In the next few years, technological progress will ensure that the price of solar energy is cheaper. It is very likely that by 2030, solar energy will become the most important energy source for electricity production in most parts of the world.
The International Energy Agency pointed out that solar energy has become the new king of power generation.
All international studies also pointed out that as the cost of power generation continues to decrease, the future prospects of solar power generation are becoming more and more optimistic.
3. my country strongly restricts the development of solar energy and its technological progress
Although the World Economic Forum concluded that by 2030, solar energy is likely to become the most important energy source for power generation in most parts of the world, but the development of solar energy here is severely hindered and reduced.
Although the world is rapidly adopting new and cheaper technologies to generate electricity, we are restricted and hindered, and therefore tend to be the most expensive and polluting sources of electricity.