Turning to the new dawn of renewable energy.
Solar power represents the possibility of a more sustainable future. It’s low-cost. It’s virtually unlimited. It’s significantly cleaner than fossil fuels. And the sun actually drives the process that produces other sources of alternative energy: wind and ocean currents.
Yet it remains a minor energy resource in a world that consumes 97 million barrels of oil a day—and climbing. Even within the renewable energy category, there’s less solar power capacity installed than wind.
Now, thanks to an evolving regulatory environment, global demand for clean energy, and its advantages on both the industrial and consumer levels, solar is quickly catching up.
Bloomberg’s 2015 New Energy Outlook estimates that $12.2 trillion will be invested globally in power generation by 2040. Renewables are expected to make up two-thirds of that investment, with a significant amount going to solar. The report also predicts that the U.S. will install 461 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2040 while Europe will build 80% more capacity over the next 25 years. The Asia-Pacific region will add more energy capacity in the next 25 years than the rest of the world combined—including 989 gigawatts of solar photovoltaics (PV) in China alone.
“Solar is clearly growing quickly,” says Scott Graybeal, senior vice president of Energy at Flex, the global sketch-to-scale™ design, engineering, and manufacturing company. Last September, as part of its portfolio of alternative energy solutions, Flex acquired the Fremont, California–based PV systems company NEXTracker, which specializes in designing and building innovative single-axis solar trackers.