Solar energy refers to generation of electrical energy using sun light, through the use of photovoltaic cells, or by indirect use of concentrated solar power systems. Photovoltaic cells works on photovoltaic effect mechanism to generate electricity, while concentrated solar power systems works with the help of lenses or mirror and tracking systems to focus sunlight into a beam. Technologies used in solar energy can be segmented on the basis of harnessing and capturing methods. The technologies used to harness solar energy are solar heating, solar thermal energy, solar photovoltaic and artificial photosynthesis; however, passive and active technologies are used to capture radiations from the sun.
Solar energy is used across commercial, industrial and residential segments. In the commercial segment solar energy is used in hotels, hospitals, and offices whereas residential applications include pool and water heaters, batteries and chargers and attic fans.
Global solar energy market is growing rapidly and is estimated to double by 2023. The market is primarily driven by rising population as well as increasing non-conventional energy prices, backed by growing environmental concerns. North America is the largest geographical market followed by Asia Pacific, owing to increasing industrialization and government subsidiaries in countries like China and India.
Solar energy has a very low maintenance and operating cost with some hurdles like high initial installation cost and lack of market for solar energy storage systems.
Solar energy market is highly fragmented due to the number of players present in the industry. Some of the major players operating in the industry are Abengoa, Canadian Solar, Tata Power, Renesola, BHEL, Sunways AG, Motech Industries, Solar World AG, among others.
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