Power to the people
Developing nations will account for almost 80% of new power capacity added worldwide, with solar making the biggest gains. The combination of cheap solar panels and battery storage will in many cases bring electricity for the first time to remote, poor villages. Delivering “solar power to the people” through small systems will help weaken the historic connection between economic development and rising pollution levels, New Energy Outlook states.
In developed countries more than 75% of solar projects will involve small power systems like the photovoltaic (PV) cells on the Oslo Solar rooftop, according to New Energy Outlook. At the present cost of solar PV, local rooftop PV as an economically and environmentally sustainable solution for society remains the exception, not the rule, stresses Anders Dyrelund, Senior Market Manager in Ramboll Energy.
“The architectural design of Oslo Solar, however, allows us to consider solar PV for the entire facade. Thus, we have the opportunity to compare the cost of the solar PV facade elements with the costs of similar elements without solar. In such cases the additional cost of using solar can be so low that even today it is, overall, sustainable for society,” Anders Dyrelund says.
However, the most sustainable use of solar PV and batteries is not on buildings connected to the grid, but for the 20% of the world’s population that are off the grid. They can benefit from the low voltage direct current (LVDC) produced by solar energy and batteries to power LED lighting, computers, televisions and other modern, low-energy devices, Anders Dyrelund points out.