Solar energy is perhaps the most natural and beautiful solution to meet our energy needs. The sun’s rays give the planet a huge energy potential – according to US government estimates, the challenge is to accumulate this energy. For many years, the low efficiency of solar panels, together with their high cost, discouraged consumers from purchasing due to the economic disadvantage. However, the situation is changing. Between 2008 and 2013, the price of solar panels fell by more than 50 percent. . According to research in the UK, the affordability of solar panels will lead to solar energy accounting for 2027% of global energy consumption by 20. This was unimaginable just a few years ago. As technology gradually becomes more accessible, the question arises of its acceptance by the masses. Every new technology opens up business opportunities. Tesla and Panasonic are already planning to open a huge solar panel factory in Buffalo, New York. The PowerWall, developed by Tesla Motors, is one of the most famous home energy storage devices in the world. The big players are not the only ones to benefit from the development of this technology. Landowners and farmers will be able to lease out their land for the construction of new solar farms. Demand for medium voltage cables may also increase as batteries need to be connected to the grid. Swim panels In some countries, there are no places for plantations of solar panels. A good solution is a battery that is on the water. Ciel & Terre International, a French energy company, has been working on a major floating solar project since 2011. A trial version has already been installed off the coast of the UK. At the moment, the implementation of this project is being considered in Japan, France and India. Wireless powered from space The Japanese Space Agency believes that “the closer to the Sun, the greater the ability to accumulate and effectively manage energy.” The Space Solar Power Systems Project plans to launch batteries into Earth orbit. The collected energy will be transmitted back to Earth wirelessly using microwaves. The technology will be a real breakthrough in science if the project turns out to be successful. Energy Storage Trees A Finnish research team is working on creating trees that store solar energy in their leaves. It is planned that the leaves will go into the food of small household appliances and mobile phones. Most likely, the trees will be 3D printed using biomaterials that mimic an organic plant. Each leaf generates energy from sunlight, but also uses the kinetic energy of the wind. Trees are designed to function both indoors and outdoors. The project is currently in prototype development at the Technical Research Center in Finland. Efficiency Currently, efficiency is the biggest barrier to solar energy development. At the moment, more than 80% of all solar panels have an energy efficiency of less than 15%. Most of these panels are stationary, and therefore they let in a large amount of sunlight. Improved design, composition and application of solar-absorbing nanoparticles will increase efficiency. Solar energy is our future. At present, man is only taking the first steps in unlocking the true potential of the Sun. This star gives us much more energy than humanity consumes annually. Researchers around the world are working to find the most efficient way to store and convert sunlight into energy.