While Challenges Remain, Answers to Important Solar Power Questions Start to Become Clearer

Solar power generation has come a very long way over the years, and that is excellent news in general. From vast, desert-based solar power generation plants to the residential rooftop panels that have become so common, turning sunlight into electricity is something the value of which everyone can appreciate. At the same time, some significant […]

Solar power generation has come a very long way over the years, and that is excellent news in general. From vast, desert-based solar power generation plants to the residential rooftop panels that have become so common, turning sunlight into electricity is something the value of which everyone can appreciate. At the same time, some significant hurdles remain in the way of solar becoming a true cornerstone of energy production in most places. A quick look at this article on the matter, though, will make it clear that there are some promising solutions that seem likely to materialize before too long.

As the author points out, two issues seem to receive the lion’s share of the attention when it comes to discussions about the future of solar power. One of these is the need to find better ways to store power generated while the sun is high in the sky, in order to be able to access it later on. While various battery technologies have advanced a great deal on their own, none of these currently seem to be ready to scale to the levels that could enable the next great leap for solar power. Although options like the use of molten salts and pumped water might be efficient for the largest and most appropriately situated of solar power plants, these will not suffice in general.

Another issue that needs to be addressed is likely even more fundamental. Photovoltaic solar panels have made great strides with regard to the efficiency with which they convert sunlight into electric current. In order to be fed into existing electrical grids and transported, however, that power needs to be turned from direct current into an alternating kind. The inversion process that enables this transformation currently stands as the single greatest source of waste in the average solar power system, with as much as half of all energy produced being lost as it is carried out.

Fortunately, there are some promising-seeming answers to these questions and others. While satisfying solutions for every solar-related challenge might not arise overnight, steady enough progress is being made that the technology is starting to look even more promising. Given how far solar power has already come, that is great news, indeed.