A New Era for Solar and Storage: Partnering for Continued Success

Sarah Kurtz, Nancy Haegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Solar energy has grown faster than experts projected. Energy storage technologies are poised to repeat that success, enabling a partnership to keep the lights on even after the sun sets. As current impacts and growing threats of climate change become more visible and the world accelerates efforts to adopt new clean-energy technology, electricity generation from solar and wind is playing an increasing role in the energy system. However, it can be confusing - we hear that solar has great potential, but we also hear that solar and wind are too small to make a meaningful difference, providing just 3% and 6% of the world's electricity in 2020, respectively (1). What is the reality and what can we expect in the coming years? This article focuses on solar, but wind has an equally impressive and interesting story. This article reviews how prices for solar have dropped dramatically and deployment has increased correspondingly to the point where solar is almost half of the new electricity generating capacity being installed globally today. It shows how solar-generated electricity has grown to the point where we need to pair it with storage or other strategies for balancing electricity supply and demand. The article also explores how lithium-ion batteries are replicating solar technology's big success and discusses new storage technologies that are being developed.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalChemical Engineering Progress
StatePublished - 2022

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-82429

Keywords

  • photovoltaics
  • solar
  • storage

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