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Alycia Gordan

10.08.2018, Alycia Gordan

How climate change is affecting solar energy and solar providers

Solar and other forms of renewable energy resources are widely known as the best possible solutions to combat the looming horrors of global warming. Among the various renewable energy resources, such as biomass, wind, hydropower, marine, and geothermal, the solar energy accounts for the least carbon-emitting energy source.

This is the reason why the rate of solar installations has significantly soared in the last decade. By the end of 2017, China’s total solar capacity increased the most and reached up to 131.1 gigawatts. On the other hand, the United States stood second with its solar capacity reaching up to 51 gigawatts.

The increasing trend of people adopting the solar energy has played a significant role in increasing the solar operations and maintenance. Numerous innovations in the solar energy field have taken the world by storm, including the innovation of PV panels in the roof tiles or windows. Due to such inventions and changes, it has become easier for people and industries to switch to solar energy and go off the grid.

However, with all the discussion about how solar energy has come to the rescue of the world’s climate change, it is also crucial to peek into how the climate change is impacting the production, as well as, the use of photovoltaic panels (PV panels).

Changing climate and solar energy

With increased sources of carbon emission and unlimited usage of energy sources, global warming is looming on our heads without any doubt. The large-scale change in the climate of the world translates to increased energy use. If the temperatures rise, more and more energy will be needed for running cooling devices.

In a few years, the energy demand for cooling devices will increase by 20%, while the energy consumption for heating will decrease by 15%. It is the impact of rising temperatures owing to which the world is going to witness a surge in the energy demand.

Thus, climate change such as global warming will boost the need for solar energy, as people are becoming more and more conscious of reducing their carbon footprint. The solar power is an excellent renewable energy resource that has 0.1% carbon emission. And as photovoltaic panels work best under direct sunlight, the global warming can actually be beneficial for the solar energy.

However, not all the countries or regions will be able to benefit from this type of climate change regarding solar energy production.

Global warming and solar energy production

Numerous studies and investigations have attempted to uncover the impacts global warming will have on the solar energy production. Contrary to the myths related to solar energy production, high temperatures do not necessarily guarantee increased solar energy production. The solar panels soak up solar energy from the sun and not the overall temperatures. Thus, the way global warming will impact the production of solar energy is not uniform across all the countries and regions.

The impacts will be different depending on the location of the country or the type of solar technology used.

  • Germany, being the leader of solar energy consumption in Europe, will gain benefit from the climate change and global warming. The PV panels in Germany are predicted to achieve approximately 3% more efficiency as a result of climate change.
  • The UK stands second in line for receiving positive impacts of climate change on the PC panels’ production.
  • On the other hand, regions like the south-west US will witness a drop in the production of solar energy by 4-6%.
  • The photovoltaic panels (PV) perform at their utmost in cool temperatures. On the other hand, the concentrated solar power plants (CSP) using a method of replacing semiconductors with mirrors, harness heat. Thus, CSP will be more usable in warmer temperatures as well.  

 

Climate change and solar providers

There is no denying the fact that a change in climate is approaching which is going to expose us to the highest possible temperatures. We can only prepare for what is coming, rather than sulk and wait for the climate to take over our lives.

Solar energy has been around for a couple of years, and now most of the developing countries are using it to go entirely off the grid. They are using solar energy as the sole means of generating power; thus, reducing their reliance on the electricity.

However, with the climate change, increased temperatures, and global warming, the need for energy consumption is bound to increase many folds. To this end, solar providers have to keep up with the production and come up with innovations in solar installation and technology.

People will be needing more and more of cooling devices and the energy to run them. Countries, businesses, and people who have gone off the grid and are relying entirely on the solar power will be requiring updated solar technology to meet their needs.

Thus, climate change will have both positive and negative effects on the solar energy and its production. It might pose to be excellent for the solar power, but for the solar providers, it requires constant innovation and higher production.   

 

Alycia Gordan is a freelance writer who loves to read and write articles on healthcare technology, fitness and lifestyle. She is a tech junkie and divides her time between travel and writing. You can find her on Twitter: @meetalycia