Feeding Solar Ideas

It was encouraging to take part in discussions this week on how solar energy technology can evolve to remain a relevant energy solution for the future.  The International Trade Fair for Solar Energy in the Benelux held in Ghent, Belgium, provided a welcome opportunity for professionals active in solar technology to come together to make contacts to help propel their businesses. A number of smaller solar technology companies have disappeared in the recent years of financial crisis, but the larger ones that remain are looking to collectively fuel their search for the most effective ways to develop and deliver this energy to consumers.

This is needed because there remains a large gap in the present capabilities of solar technology and its ability to deliver widely-used practical applications that can meet larger portions of the world’s energy needs. And in order to keep moving solar power forward as a practical energy source, we need creative solutions to overcome barriers that keep this resource out of the hands of larger percentages of energy users.

Take for instance, a very basic approach that is not so much evolving solar technology itself, but adapting how we use energy that is now available.  Changes in appliance technology (such as lighting, heating and cooling) to work on a non-constant energy supply can bring us a step closer. Reliance on traditional battery technology will become outdated as it is wasteful in comparison to other options, and energy is lost.
One of several bright spots at the trade fair discussions was how technology for “energy islands” is becoming more of a reality. Energy islands are completely self-supporting facilities that are not connected to existing energy networks.  They are able to produce electricity on demand to meet needs of public and private installations such as hospitals, farms and family homes. Developments like this can give everyone more food for thought.

Your “bright” ideas?  Readers are invited in the comment section to leave any related information, opinions, links or just plain wild ideas that could inspire others to think and work creatively on solar technology.  After all, solar power is at the heart of SunGlacier, and a major aim of our project is to inspire thoughts, discussions and collaborations that can lead to tangible solutions in adapting to our changing environment.

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