2017 ended with a bang for renewable energy. It was a record year for solar energy with 165 gigawatts of power production recorded worldwide. Policy shifts and China’s jump into the sector is all set to boost production into the new year. Here are a few trends that are being predicted by the industry leaders for the year 2018:
Renewable energy costs will continue to reduce
Did you know that solar prices have dropped by 62% since 2009? This trend is set to continue in 2018 and beyond. Governments across the world are witnessing record low prices for solar and wind at power auctions. As a result, more subsidy-free solar and wind farms are being planned in the coming year.
Waste to Energy solutions to pick up pace
Disposing of waste has become a pressing matter for governments around the globe. Countries such as India are facing major landfill issues. The Indian government has taken the initiative to develop a waste of energy plant in New Delhi to tackle the problem.
China has also made waste to energy a priority and is set to secure more projects within the coming year. The same story is true for Latin America, North America, and the United Arab Emirates.
Renewable industry will continue generating more employment
"9.8 million people across the world are employed by the renewable energy sector"- International Renewable Energy Agency
In fact, wind turbine technician and solar PV installer are the fastest growing occupations in the US today. With the increase in demand for renewable energy, the need for skilled labor will only continue to grow in this year.
The battery market will become more competitive
According to Mark Sisouw de Zilwa, technical director of oil and Gas at ING: “You can use pumped-storage hydroelectricity or compressed air energy storage, but you can also use water-based batteries, solid state batteries or hydrogen converted by electricity”. This means that lithium ion batteries are not the only form of batteries that will see increased production in 2018.
Tesla is already set to complete the biggest battery factory in the world, i.e the Nevada gigafactory, this year. Not falling behind in the race, China has announced a plan to produce almost 120-gigawatt hours of battery cells a year by 2021. Large-scale battery production factories are also planned for Sweden, Hungary, Poland, and Germany.
Corporations will push towards going solar
Initiatives such as the RE-100- a group of companies that committed to being 100% dependent on renewable energy resources will gain momentum in the coming year. A prominent example of this is the US-based retailer Target. Target had 147 megawatts of solar installed on 300 of its stores by the end of 2016. Another example is Apple whose new campus in California runs on green energy.
Corporations will be making the shift to green energy due to reduced costs, the chance to rely on secure energy, and the opportunities associated with distributed grids and generation.
All in all, the renewable energy sector is all set to ride some high tailwinds this year. We’ll be keeping our eyes on the recent changes and keep you updated on the latest developments!