How Tech Advancements are Spurring the Growth of Solar Energy

How Tech Advancements are Spurring the Growth of Solar Energy


Mar 16, 2023

Blog Energy and Resources How Tech Advancements are Spurring the Growth of Solar Energy

The threat of climate change has prompted the urgent search for an alternative, clean source of energy. Governments have been investing in renewable energies like wind, hydroelectric, and tidal, but one source is emerging as the most cost-effective and efficient form: Namely, solar energy.

Solar energy has had a remarkable evolution. In recent years, the industry has hit some key milestones, with widespread installations, falling prices, and technological advancements abound. These factors have pushed the market into increasing prominence. Within the next five years, solar will overtake hydroelectric as the leading form of renewable energy, earning its place as the future of sustainability. BCC Research has predicted the global market for solar power technologies to reach $371.7 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 15.3% from 2022-2027.

Factors making solar energy the fuel of the future

Solar energy has emerged as the best source of energy for the future. Some of the key reasons for its success include:

  • Availability: Unlike conventional sources of energy, solar energy is a renewable source of energy that is abundant and freely available in nature. The sun provides a continuous flow of energy that is converted by solar panels to produce electricity.
  • Low operating cost: Converting sunlight into electricity does not require any fuel and has no leased or variable cost, which makes the whole process of generating electricity incredibly cost-effective.
  • Clean source of energy: Unlike the burning of fossil fuels, solar energy is a clean source of energy. Generating solar electricity doesn’t release greenhouse gases into the environment, mitigating any harmful impact on the environment.
  • Reduces electricity bills: Installing solar panels reduces the dependency on electricity from the grid, meaning electricity bills end up being far lower than usual.
  • Versatile installation: It’s easy and simple to install solar panels. They can be installed in both horizontal and vertical spaces as well as remote locations, meaning they can provide electricity where it would have otherwise been difficult.

Recent technology advancements in solar panels

Without some significant technological leaps, the market for solar PV panels wouldn’t be where it is today. But as the population continues to grow, more innovation is required to match increasing demands.

One recent advancement was made by Chinese PV module maker LONGi. In 2022, the company achieved a power conversion efficiency of 26.5% for a gallium-doped, p-type heterojunction (HJT) solar cell based on an M6 wafer. The cell also achieved a fill factor of 86.08%.

Solar Energy Markets

As the demand for solar energy climbs, the market will continue to evolve. BCC Research’s recent report on the solar energy market offers a comprehensive guide for those navigating this fast-changing space. Download your complimentary overview or purchase the report in full.

 The result was confirmed by Germany’s Institute for Solar Energy Research Hamelin (ISFH). As the world’s leading solar technology company, Longi has achieved continual breakthroughs in PV conversion efficiencies.

Another key invention comes from an international research group that studied how down-conversion (DC) materials can improve the performance of PV cells based on perovskite. The team found that such materials could result in an electric yield enlargement by converting ultraviolet (UV) light to visible while also providing UV shielding.

Floating solar

Floating solar, also known as floatovoltaics or floating solar panels, are a lesser-known solar technology. These are, quite literally, solar panels that float on bodies of water. Reservoirs, lakes, and irrigation canals are common choices. They can generate large-scale power and while they aren’t currently in widespread use, they’re seeing increased commercial applications.

Some of the key benefits of floatovoltaics include:

  • No land occupancy: The main advantage of floating solar is that, unlike land-mounted solar PV, these panels don’t take up valuable real estate. Their price is comparable with land-based plants, but floatovoltaics provide a good way to avoid land consumption.
  • Installation and decommissioning: Floating PV plants are more compact than land-based plants, their management is simpler and their construction and decommissioning straightforward. The installation of floatovoltaics requires no fixed structures like for land-based panels. This means their installation can be totally reversible.
  • Water conservation and water quality: Partial coverage of water basins can reduce water evaporation, though this does depend on climate conditions and the percentage of covered surface. In arid climates like parts of India, this is an important advantage with about 30% of the evaporation being avoided. In Australia, this figure could be even greater and is a very useful feature if the basin is used for irrigation purposes.
  • Cooling: Another distinct advantage of floating solar is that they can achieve higher efficiencies than land alternatives because water cools the panels. Efficiency rises thanks to the absence of thermal drift, with a gain in energy harvesting reaching 8%-10%.
  • Tracking: Large floating platforms can easily be rotated horizontally and vertically to enable sun-tracking. Moving solar arrays uses little energy and doesn’t need a complex mechanical apparatus like land-based PV plants. Equipping a floating PV plant with a tracking system costs little extra while the energy gain can range from 15% to 25%.
  • Environment control: Algal blooms, a serious problem in industrialized countries, may be reduced by floating solar. The partial coverage of the basins and the reduction of light on biological fouling just below the surface help solve this problem.


Agrivoltaics is another innovative land-saving solar energy concept. It involves using land for both solar panels and agriculture, with both sharing the same light. While it has great potential in promoting a circular economy and increasing production efficiency for agriculture, there are concerns that optimal crop yields would be more difficult to attain.

Agricultural land is generally incredibly well suited to solar. As opposed to barren land, more power can be generated on agricultural plots. This is primarily because photovoltaic systems tend to decrease in efficiency at higher temperatures, and farmland is usually found in moister areas.

With more and more land being used for solar, in the near future, it’s likely that competition for farmland will increase – agrivoltaics can help avoid this. Assuming a median power potential of 28 W/m2 as claimed by SolarCity, a Californian company now acquired by Tesla, one report estimates that covering less than 1% of the world’s cropland with conventional solar arrays could generate all the world’s current electricity demands. In the future, its likely that agrivoltaics will be increasingly adopted.

Solar energy markets

Solar energy is a broad industry with a high level of diversity, creativity and flexibility. The industry has a strong degree of tolerance for experimentation and risk-taking, which is resulting in the continued growth and acceptance of the industry’s legitimacy.

BCC Research is committed to researching the evolution of sustainable industries. We publish a high   volume of reports on the energy sector – and membership with our library provides access to this entire catalog. To enquire into membership, simply get in touch with a helpful member of our team below.

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    Olivia Lowden

    Written By Olivia Lowden

    Olivia Lowden is a Junior Copywriter at BCC Research, writing content on everything from sustainability to fintech. Before beginning at BCC Research, she received a First-Class Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia.

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