How To Generate Electricity From Solar Energy

Solar energy plays a decisive role in the energy transition. In 2050, solar power can cover at least a quarter of our energy needs. This requires major efforts in a large number of areas.ECN part of TNO has designated four domains where in the coming period a lot can be gained with the installation of PV systems: buildings, the physical infrastructure, on water and on land.

NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN THE FIELD OF SOLAR PANELS

Solar energy plays a decisive role in the energy transition. In 2050, solar power can cover at least a quarter of our energy needs. This requires major efforts in a large number of areas. ECN part of TNO has designated four domains where in the coming period a lot can be gained with the installation of PV systems: buildings, the physical infrastructure, on water and on land. 

Dutch companies are at the forefront worldwide with smart, innovative applications for integrating solar energy into buildings and infrastructure. This way we create an abundance of solar power. ECN part of TNO invests together with companies and governments in innovative technologies and applications, including through the Solar Energy Application Center (SEAC). It is about realizing solar energy on a large scale, in a way that is economically feasible and has social support.

INTEGRATED SOLAR CELLS IN BUILDINGS

The image of dark, rectangular solar panels on roofs will disappear. Visible panels will soon be outdated and will soon be replaced by invisible elements. They are no longer placed on but processed in roofs, facades, and windows. The new panels can be produced in any desired color and shape, flexible, invisible and the energy yield increases every year. Covering buildings on a large scale with these PV panels brings the energy-neutral built environment closer. One of the profit points is that electricity is used where it is generated, so no expensive transport is needed.

FLOATING SOLAR PANELS

Floating solar panels are a close second in the future generation of solar energy after buildings.Solar panels on water are easier to realize than on land, where space, regulations and social acceptance often stand in the way of construction. Our country is rich with ponds and basins where solar parks can be built without much objection. The possibilities at sea are many times greater. There is all the space between wind turbines that are placed at a considerable distance from each other and where shipping is prohibited. The economic advantage here is that generated solar energy can use the existing infrastructure of the wind farms. This makes the investment in the ‘power socket at sea’ extra profitable.

SOLAR PARKS INTEGRATED IN THE ENVIRONMENT

For a successful energy transition, we must also make use of the possibilities on land. The solar parks in the Netherlands will get better visual integration through the integration of color and print and through the use of double-sided solar panels. We will see the combination of solar parks with nature, recreation, and agriculture much more often in the near future. 

SOLAROAD AND SOLAR HIGHWAYS

The physical infrastructure such as dikes, roadsides, road surfaces, and noise barriers will also lend itself to the generation of solar energy in the future. TNO previously realized unique solutions together with partners: SolarRoad and Solar Highways. In the near future, we want to integrate solar panels in cars, buses, trains and even planes.