Costs of solar electricity have fallen so rapidly that new markets, applications and business models are being unlocked faster than is generally realised. The emergence of new applications which have not been on the market development radar before now is offering exciting opportunities to expand the deployment of solar PV.
This event will first discuss the rapid PV market and cost developments in the global and European PV sector, before moving on to highlight the possibilities new and disruptive applications that PV will offer in the years to come.
Comparing PV applications development with the internet development, there might be parallels in how fast new applications might develop, especially with the digitisation of the electricity sector about to start in earnest. Could we see similar developments to what happened after only 10 years of broad use of the internet? Ten years ago, today’s highflyers such as Google, Facebook, Twitter were just getting started and many others have acquired a dimension that no incumbent player was able to reach. And technological advances are providing rapid positive feedback loops: smartphones unlocked new business models like UBER, while in mobile money in Africa has made pay-as-you-go solar home systems affordable. In the same way, how will cheap PV unlock distributed energy applications and change the face of the energy system? Low cost batteries might be one of the catalysers for these new applications with direct use of solar electricity consumption increasing. And PV roads could pave the way for a diverse future. In a nutshell, PV-powered buildings, cars, farm applications, water-pumping applications, roads and much more could be the future of energy consumption creating a radically different electricity sector landscape, with significant economic, social and environmental benefits.