RenEnergy’s clean energy predictions for 2020
To mark the start of the new year, we’re sharing our clean energy predictions for 2020. Here’s what we think will be big in the world of solar and storage this year…
Popularity of renewables will rise
In 2019, most of South Africa’s energy was generated by coal: as much as 90%. Since coal is a very readily-available resource in South Africa, it is certain this reliance will continue into 2020.
Unfortunately, we are also likely to see load shedding and associated power cuts continue into 2020. Long-term, we hope the grid can become more resilient in South Africa.
Whenever we experience a period of load-shedding, we always see an increased interest in the benefits of solar and storage. We expect this interest to continue to rise in response to the vulnerable power grid.
Bigger and better batteries
We predict that improvements in battery technology will make solar and storage options even more popular. Not only are batteries becoming more effective, they are also becoming more affordable. A battery allows solar energy to be saved, and used outside of daylight hours: including during load shedding.
However, it is worth mentioning that battery technology comes with some challenges. Mining for lithium (an essential ingredient in many batteries) can cause pollution and damage to local ecosystems. As public interest in environmentalism becomes increasingly passionate, we expect to hear more about this in 2020, too.
Innovation in solar panel design
As well as updates to battery tech, we think there will be further developments to the composition of solar panels, improving their efficiency. For example, bifacial solar panels that absorb sunlight from both sides of the panel. Additionally, researchers are exploring alternatives to silicon, such as perovskite. While investigation into these options is ongoing, we don’t expect to see the products become available until the end of this year.