21 Mar 2019 / New energy

The irresistible rise of renewable energy

Enthusiasm for renewable energy is growing globally, with industry particularly keen on the advantages of a low-carbon future. Indeed, many companies are even surprising former critics with their ardour for energy-efficiency measures and green energy. They are also putting their money where their mouth is, as shown by the number of new wind and solar projects being built by industry around the world.

By 2017, business had promoted the development of some 20 gigawatts (GW) of wind and solar farms globally, while the solar-power industry invested $160bn.

In the last decade, worldwide solar photovoltaic (PV) power demand has surged exponentially, going from 2.5 GW in 2007 to more than 85 GW in 2017. During this period, PV evolved from a niche market of small-scale applications to become the main renewable energy source.

Riding the solar wave

Already surpassing Germany as the world’s largest solar-panel market a few years earlier, by 2017, China had installed 53 gigawatts (GW) – almost five times as much as in the US, which is now the second biggest market. Six of the top 10 PV producers are Chinese.

The enthusiasm for solar power is also growing in Africa, where a record 4.4 GW of renewable-power capacity was added in 2017, roughly enough to meet Nigeria’s current consumption, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The solar wave is partly driven by falling costs, with the price of PV panels dropping by more than 80% since 2010. Bloomberg New Energy Finance says that by 2019, the fall in panel costs will spur demand in even more markets.

The solar push is also being driven by governments. The European Union has set a binding renewable energy target of 32% by 2030, compared to around 17% of EU energy consumption coming from renewables in 2016. Legislation in California goes even further, calling for a commitment for the state to generate 60% of its electricity from renewables by 2030, and 100% by 2045.

Technyl® solutions

The Technyl® portfolio of polyamide (PA) materials are ideally suited for a wide range of renewable energy applications and photovoltaic technologies, in particular. Advanced engineered Technyl® materials include custom-developed grades of Technyl® One and Technyl Star® halogen free flame retardant (HFFR) ‘50’ series of PA66 grades, as well as advanced ‘60’ series grades for low extractable and low migration characteristics. These products are widely used for metal replacement in an array of components for photovoltaic applications, including junction boxes, diode holders and module mounts.

Technyl® materials satisfy the strictest regulations driving the electrical equipment market, notably UL and IEC certification, Fire and Fume certification, and such requirements as UL 5VA and f1 rating for photovoltaic applications.

Solvay also offers in-house UL testing and certification services in both Europe (France) and Asia (China).

Find out more about Technyl® solutions for new energy here.