- Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has invested AUD 9.6 million in Shanghai-based solar energy company Sunman.
- The company has developed a new type of solar panel called eArc, which is being considered as the next big thing in the solar industry's evolution.
- Solar skin or eArc panel is a plastic-like polymer composite and is 70 per cent lighter than traditional glass panels.
- The renewable electricity generation is strongly backed by government policies and is expected to be the main power generator by the year 2025.
Undoubtedly, the future belongs to renewable energy, as the world looks toward more sustainable ways of living without harming the environment. That said, to boost access to renewable power, the Australian government-owned Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has invested AUD 9.6 million in Sunman, a Shanghai-based solar energy company.
If this investment goes as per the plan, consumers could make savings on their power bills in the coming years.
Sunman was founded in 2015 by Dr Zhengrong Shi, a leading solar scientist. He is considered a pioneer in the solar panel industry's development. Dr Zhengrong Shi was also referred to as the Sun King.
He has raised USD 12 million in the latest funding round, mainly from the CEFC. The funding round was also supported by Southern Cross Ventures and Dr Shi’s own money.
Dr Shi has developed a new type of solar panel called eArc or the solar skin technology, which is touted as the next big thing in the industry's evolution.
Solar Skin Technology
The technology is 70 per cent lighter than traditional glass panels and can be glued onto any surface. These panels are made from a plastic-like "polymer composite".
The traditional solar panels weigh much higher as they are made of heavy glass that can be placed on flat rooftops only, which during installation often need holes to be drilled into rooftops. In contrast, the solar skin technology is suitable for unconventional rooftops and warehouse roofs that cannot support conventional heavier modules.
The skin solar panels can be integrated into construction materials to allow solar PV to encase a building. Moreover, they could also be used for mobile power generation.
Dr Shi has acknowledged that the major concerns pertain to reliability and durability, and now is the time for the market to understand the significance of this revolutionary technology. Sunman is primarily eyeing the industrial and commercial sectors.
The skin technology has been used at the National Maritime Museum in Sydney and on Byron Bay's solar train.
Future of Renewable Energy
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has stated that renewable energy sources will be the main generators of electricity by the year 2025.
The renewable sources for power generation seem unaffected by the pandemic. In 2020, consumption of power generated by hydroelectric, wind and solar energy is expected to increase by around 7 per cent, according to the IEA report in May 2020. The renewable electricity generation is strongly backed by government policies, adding to its robust growth.