Sustainability & Energy Efficiency

Solar Technologies that Could Affect Your Energy Strategy

Customers are always looking for ways to increase efficiency and productivity when it comes to energy consumption at their facilities. A great way to achieve this while still maintaining your business’ sustainability goals is by implementing distributed energy resources like solar. Solar development alone has experienced an annual growth rate of 68 percent in the past decade. With the emerging energy technologies and financing structures that exist today, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest innovations and business models.

Your energy strategy should serve as a long-term plan, and while new distributed energy technologies could seem like fads today, they may become standard operating procedure in due time. To keep up with the latest technologies on the market or in development and retain a competitive edge, you’ll need to have the inside track on the information. With a new year ahead of us, here are some of the latest solar innovations that could further diversify the solar solutions available to customers in the future.

Transparent Solar Panels: Engineering researchers at Michigan State University have built transparent solar panels in a 2017 experiment. This see-through material, when placed on a window, can create solar energy without disrupting the view. With the potential for widespread adoption and economic feasibility, this has numerous applications for businesses, including office windows and fleet vehicles.  

Solar roof shingles: Tesla acquired the photovoltaic company, SolarCity, in 2016 allowing them to produce a fully integrated solar home. This home includes a solar roof that allows the building to store energy within their walls. This could be big news in the future for commercial businesses hoping to harness solar power without installing a solar panel field.

Two-in-one panel inverters: In early 2017, an AC module hit the market that contains an integrated microinverter. This solar concept will decrease the weight of solar systems, while improving air flow for cooling. This technology could help streamline the transportation and installation of solar technology, which could eventually drive cost of installation down. For businesses, this could make solar technology more affordable and allow more companies to leverage the emerging technology.

Nonconventional photovoltaics: Standard silicon solar cells turn around about 32 percent of light energy to create energy that’s usable for businesses. Using a new thermophotovoltaic device, scientists at MIT have discovered a way to increase solar cell efficiency by nearly 100 percent. The device makes it possible for the cells to absorb a wider part of the light spectrum to convert into energy, which will prove valuable for any business that installs solar technology.

While the technical solutions above are not yet commercially feasible, there are a variety of mainstream distributed energy solutions that exist for your business today.  For more information from our distributed energy experts on resources such as solar, energy efficiency, cogeneration, and batteries, read our “Addressing the Need for Resiliency” blog. To learn about distributed energy and how Constellation can help you implement it for your business, visit constellation.com/distributedenergy.

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