The rise of solar power usage in the quest for renewable energy sees regular innovations as panel makers and system builders attempt to harvest the maximum amount of energy from the sun. The latest of these comes from the home building sector, with rotating houses from Sunhouse 360 proving popular in the States and soon going to Marbella. These round homes rotate around a central column in concert with the sun to maintain the most exposure for the panels.
While they might be more suited to high-sun regions, they could yet come to the UK as part of private builds. More practically for business deployments, we see use of panels mounted on solar trackers - either single axis or double axis systems. These rotate and angle the panel for maximum exposure to the sun, and while initially expensive and with added maintenance costs, their efficiency can boost revenue, and reduce the space needed for a solar farm.
These axis mounts and other innovations could soon filter through to the market to improve overall efficiency of deployment, while the improvements in solar panel technology continue to boost their efficiency. Lithium iron phosphate batteries with improved power density and longer lifetimes will help improve power management. Organic or polymer solar cells and dye-sensitised solar cells are still in development, aiming to reduce the cost of installations, while 3D photovoltaic (PV) cells that capture even more light are also being worked on in labs.
While traditional PV market solar panel makers continue to develop cheaper and more efficient cells, the market is looking up for 2016, with business orders causing a backlog for installers into next spring. This is as consumers and businesses continue to accept responsibility for the environment in the face of regularly changing and conflicting government policies and advice.
Not only can solar power help reduce your energy bill and your home's dependence on unhealthy power sources and greedy corporations, it can boost your income from feeding surplus power back into the electricity grid through the Feed in Tariff (FiT) and help the country reduce its reliance on foreign power imports. This win-win situation is one that's increasingly popular and can see you do your bit to help save the environment.