Peter Thiele, president of Sharp Energy Solutions in Europe, looks at the development of solar module technology and renewable energy in the year and decade ahead.
2018 was an exciting year for the solar and renewable energy market. An increase in the number of large scale photovoltaic cell and module factories, as well as an increase in cell and module efficiency, have made photovoltaic electricity a viable and cost effective decentralised energy solution for individuals, enterprises, factories, communities, production plants and other large energy consumers.
As a company, we have a long history and experience of large scale cell and module production; in fact, Sharp is currently celebrating 60 years in the solar business. During this time, the development of the industry and its technology has been phenomenal. However, we believe that in the coming months and years we will see more dynamic change and fast-paced growth than ever before.
Over the course of the next 12 to 24 months, solar and other renewable energies will continue to gather pace in the mainstream. We believe that awareness creation will continue and the understanding of the benefits of self-consumption and the decentralised creation of electricity will grow.
On a commercial level, we will see the controlled spread of larger plants in free fields using pieces of land that are no longer used. Old army bases or old airports can be readily converted to photovoltaic installations. This will be coupled with a greater understanding from a political level of what needs to be done from a legislative view point to support renewable energy.
From a system perspective, the small residential photovoltaic units with batteries will continue to increase in efficiency. For example, new battery technologies with new chemistries will be introduced that offer better overall power efficiencies.