Solar energy is by far the most abundant source of energy not only in the world, but also in the solar system, however, harnessing it efficiently to compete with fossil fuels remains a challenge, but a challenge to which sooner rather than later humanity will have to overcome. We say later than earlier since, according to the International Energy Agency, photovoltaic solar energy is already the cheapest source of electricity in history, and not only that, but you can also see a considerable increase in installation of solar panels in homes in developed countries.
Five timesThis is how solar energy has become cheaper in the last nine years, according to research conducted by the organization Our World In Data. Research reveals that the average cost per unit of photovoltaic energy decreased from 38 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2010 to seven cents per kilowatt-hour in 2019.
What else do the numbers tell us?
Well, to put it in perspective, this past October 12 Australia was able to meet 100% of the energy demand of its southern states entirely solar powered. The milestone was achieved at 12pm (Australian Eastern Standard Time), with rooftop solar providing 992MW, or 76.3% of state demand, and utility-scale solar power providing an additional 315MW.
Australia is one of the pioneer countries in adopting energy and solar self-consumption, so it is one of the most optimistic case studies on this topic, so it is necessary to see how our European neighbors are doing.
In this sense, the British government admitted that wind and solar power generating facilities have been 30 to 50% cheaper than initially anticipated. Likewise, during the first quarter of 2020, renewable energies were able to supply neither more nor less than 47% of the country’s electricity demand.
Meanwhile, Germany claims to have obtained similar results between January and June 2020, with 42% of the energy consumed being produced by the sun and wind. However, it goes without saying that Germany is the European country with the most solar energy installations, so it has a considerable advantage over other nations, so perhaps we should examine a closer example to get a better perspective, and that example it is none other than Spain.
Solar energy in Spain
Spain is rapidly becoming a European leader in renewable energies, which is actively developing solutions for the implementation of photovoltaic plants and exports this technology to other countries.
It also has the climate and geographical position in favor when compared to other countries on the continent, since 1,500 kilowatt hours of energy per year affect each square meter of land.
However, the nation still has a long way to go to make this type of energy one of the main ones, but at least we can say that it is already heading in the right direction after a lot of setbacks, since only for 2019 it was achieved increase production capacity by 1,100MW.
As shown by the data provided by the REE (Red Eléctrica de España), photovoltaic energy increased its total installed power from 4,714MW to 5,817 between 2018 and 2019. To make matters worse, future predictions look quite optimistic.
An analysis carried out by the sustainability observatory showed that the national territory has the capacity to deploy up to one million solar panels on rooftops by 2025. The latter translates into 17,603 hectares of rooftops, which in turn translates into the possibility to supply a population of 7.5 million inhabitants daily.
We cannot talk about self-consumption in Spain without bringing up Andalusia, given that it is the autonomous community with the highest annual irradiation of the entire peninsula, with the 20.4% of the country’s photovoltaic solar energy.
If innovation runs its course in the field of solar photovoltaic energy storage and capture, then we have no doubt that not only the future, but also the present, look bright for renewable energy sources.