On September 14, 2022, TotalEnergies organized its first #EnergyTalk, which was streamed live on LinkedIn. Laurent Becerra, Managing Director of TotalEnergies Renewables International, answered questions about solar energy. What are the key takeaways from the discussion?
3 key points about solar energy
This first #EnergyTalk highlighted three key points about solar energy:
- A growing role for solar energy in the global energy mix: according to forecasts, especially those of the International Energy Agency (IEA), solar energy is set to undergo exponential growth over the next three decades. The IEA's "Net Zero by 2050" roadmap calls for a 20-fold increase in installed solar capacity to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. TotalEnergies aims to increase the share of renewable electricity in its energy mix to 50% by 2050.
- Challenges ahead: addressing the need for space to install solar power plants, dealing with the intermittent electricity produced by solar energy, obtaining authorizations from the authorities... These are just some of the obstacles facing solar energy's development. Solutions are available, and TotalEnergies is focusing on large-scale projects in countries offering favorable conditions for developing solar energy, such as Qatar. Distributed solar generation is another sector where the Company is ramping up its activities to support its customers in leading their energy transition strategies.
- Decisive technological advances: from improving solar panel efficiency to pioneering innovative energy storage solutions, discussions highlighted the recent technological breakthroughs that are reinforcing solar energy's viability and competitive advantage in the market.
Spotlight on the innovative solar energy solutions
- Energy storage: batteries have a key role to play in expanding renewable energies. They overcome the intermittent nature of solar energy by guaranteeing the power and stability of the power grid. TotalEnergies is active in this sector through its affiliate Saft and is operating several battery-based energy storage sites. The Company is also developping projects combining solar power plants and batteries, such as the Myrtle project, in Texas.
- Improved solar panel performance: solar panel efficiency is constantly rising, especially through such innovative technologies as bifacial panels, which capture the sun's rays on their front face and the rays reflected by the ground on their rear face.
- Integration of solar modules: another innovation is aimed at improving how solar panels are integrated into the environment and urban spaces, such as by launching floating solar power plants or finding more aesthetic ways of incorporating panels into buildings. Optimizing space is also important, and agrovoltaics is set to expand in the years ahead.
- Digitization: digital solutions allow solar project developers to identify the best sites for building solar power plants. Creating digital tools for managing in-service power plants is another pathway for improving their efficiency.