Global warming, environmental conservation, and carbon footprint are dominating discussions around energy policies of both developed and developing nations alike. There is no denying that there is an urgent need to reduce our dependence on non-renewable sources of energy, and build effective mechanisms for harnessing renewable sources. Low energy efficiency continues to be a longstanding challenge for stakeholders.
The solar energy landscape is approaching the next level of energy efficiency with R&D of solar panels, batteries, and charge controllers. Besides high-efficiency product development, competitive pricing and technology integration mark the most influential trends in solar energy space. Global sales of solar charge controllers are set to surpass $2 billion by 2022, signalling heightened activity in this marketplace. Although developed countries, including the US, Japan, Germany, and the UK currently account for higher sales of solar charge controllers, gains have been impressive in developing countries in recent years.
South Asia & East Asia likely to emerge as high-growth markets
While North America represents over 20 per cent of the global installed base of solar charge controller, South and East Asia collectively account for more than one-third of the global solar charge controller market value. In lucrative developing regions such as South Asia, East Asia, and Latin America, increasing preference for implementation of the smart solar system has been trending in recent years. In addition, high-efficiency solar charge controllers enabled with smart sensor technology and auto-night detection capabilities is currently a thriving trend in the solar charge controller landscape.
Demand for off-grid installations is surging in developing regional markets, creating room for adoption of solar charge controllers in the near future. Off-grid solar installations have been crucial in pushing the potential of small-scale solar applications, particularly in developing economies from across the globe. Strongly backed by favourable government initiatives such as subsidies and incentives, the traditional energy transmission and distribution method has now completely shifted to a complex model that involves multi-point electricity grids that significantly supports growth of the solar charge controllers market. Moreover, the International Solar Alliance (ISA) has announced to initiate joint efforts in curtailing technology costs to broaden the solar energy application platform for solar-rich regions.
However, the lack of strong regional players in the manufacturing space still persists, which is creating massive investment opportunities for global leaders who look forward to establish bases in developing countries. Manufacturers based in China and India are however driving Asian markets currently, with a considerable number of contacts in the pipeline.
Quest for high efficiency driving preference for MPPT solar charge controllers
Although sold at an expensive price point, MPPT (maximum power point tracking) solar charge controllers are capable of pairing non-matching voltages from batteries and panels, thereby reducing the power flow as soon as it nears the capacity. MPPT type solar charge controllers have been witnessing impressive demand, as they can adjust their input to deliver the maximum possible power possible from the solar array. Moreover, these controllers are capable of delivering varying power output, based on the attached battery.
Currently, PWM type accounts for almost 60 per cent of overall sales of solar charge controllers. However, perceived as more efficient than PWM (pulse width modulation) variants of the solar charge controllers, it is highly likely that MPPT controller variants will continue to receive growing attention in forthcoming years. Developed regional markets are already demonstrating a rapid shift from PWM to MPPT, driven by the high expenditure of superior energy efficiency and growing support from governments for solar panel installations.
Integration of smart communication technologies is adding value to solar charge controllers
Smart technology, invading myriad industrial realms, also marks an important trend in the solar landscape. Integration of solar charge controllers with Bluetooth 4.0 and BLE (Bluetooth Smart) technologies is significantly influencing the functional capacities of solar charge controllers and thereby, the output.
MPPT solar charge controllers that are enabled with Bluetooth technology are already in use for wireless monitoring, setting the parameters, and real-time data checking. The real-time data communication includes the solar history, voltage of the battery, and overall load output.
While such avant-garde innovations are likely to complement efforts of end-use verticals with swift, hassle-free communication, the industry behemoths are also investing heavily in discovering the long-term benefits of flexible battery charge algorithms, light dimming options, and day/night timing adjustability for partial shading conditions.
With an elevating number of remote operations in industries such as marine and oil and gas, it is highly likely that the demand for solar installations will speed up, for a wide range of production, drilling, and exploration activities. As remote locations often have to face operational challenges as a result of limited electricity access, leading site operators in these industries tend to selectively sign contracts with package providers of solar panels, batteries, and solar charge controllers.