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What Solar Energy Types Will Be Popular in 2024?

By 2024, the popular types of solar energy will be photovoltaic (PV) solar panel systems, concentrated solar power (CSP) systems, and photothermal energy.

With emerging technologies such as perovskite solar cells and building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) also gaining attention.

We’ll introduce them one by one. Please read along with PVMars.

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Photovoltaic (PV) solar panel systems

Solar panel systems are at the forefront of harnessing sun power.

These systems use semiconductor materials such as silicon to convert sunlight directly into electricity.

Photovoltaic systems are suitable for a wide range of applications, from small residential facilities to large commercial and utility-scale installations.

Technological advancements in solar panel systems focus on improving efficiency and reducing manufacturing costs.

PVMars manufacturers are experimenting with various materials such as perovskites and multi-junction solar cells to achieve higher efficiencies. For example, the latest photovoltaic cells have improved efficiencies, reaching over 23-26% under standard test conditions.

Enhancements in manufacturing technology have also allowed solar panels to become thinner and more flexible, broadening their potential applications.

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Residential and commercial applications for solar panel systems

Solar panel systems offer significant benefits to residential and commercial users.

Residential solar panels typically have a power output of 5 to 10 kW. This reduces electricity bills and grid dependence.

For commercial buildings, solar panel installations can be larger, typically between 250 kW and 500 kW, to meet higher energy demands.

Not only do they reduce energy costs, they also help achieve corporate sustainability goals.

In both cases, factors such as roof size, orientation, and local climate play a crucial role in determining the overall efficiency and output of the system. We can check out this article “How many solar panels do I need for my house?” to find out.

Solar energy integration with smart grid technology and battery storage systems is also booming, improving solar energy reliability and effectiveness in different environments.

PVMars has a professional team to design a MW power photovoltaic energy storage solution for you. Click on the orange font to get the solution details and price.

What Solar Energy Types Will Be Popular in 2024?

Efficiency and cost trends by solar type

Solar panel systems have dropped significantly over the past decade, making solar energy a more accessible and affordable energy source.

Residential solar installations cost $2.50 to $3.50 per watt. This depends on the size of the system, the quality of materials, and installation complexity.

At the same time, commercial facilities may benefit from economies of scale, potentially lowering costs per watt.

When it comes to efficiency, PVMars continues to innovate to extract more power from sunlight. The average lifespan of solar panels is around 25-30 years, but some panels may last longer depending on quality and environmental conditions.

While the initial investment in a solar panel system may seem high, long-term savings on electricity bills and lower maintenance costs can often offset the initial expense, making it a financially sound choice.

Concentrated solar power (CSP) systems

By what technology do solar thermal systems generate electricity?

Concentrated solar power (CSP) systems use mirrors or lenses to focus a large area of sunlight or solar heat on a small area.

Basically, electrical energy is made by converting concentrated light into thermal energy, which powers a steam turbine. Most people call it a “photothermal power system”.

Latest progress in photothermal power generation technology

Recent advances in CSP technology focus on improving efficiency and storage capabilities.

For example, the latest designs of tower systems and parabolic troughs can operate at higher temperatures, increasing overall efficiency.

Thermal energy storage systems using molten salt have also been developed. When the sun doesn’t shine, CSP power plants can store excess heat and generate electricity.

This feature solves solar energy intermittency issues.

Developments in CSP materials, such as advanced phase change materials for heat storage and innovative mirror designs that resist corrosion and enhance reflectivity, extend service life, and reduce maintenance costs.

CSP power plants can now achieve 20-25% efficiency, with further improvements as technology advances.

Types of Solar Energy: CSP vs. Solar Panel Systems

The main difference between a CSP system and a solar panel system is the way it converts sunlight into electricity. Solar panel systems use the photovoltaic effect to convert light directly into electricity.

The photothermal power generation process converts solar energy into thermal energy and generates electrical energy.

It’s more suitable for utility-scale power generation and typically requires a bigger plot of land than solar panels.They have a higher initial cost but offer advantages in large-scale storage and efficiency.

Unlike photovoltaic systems, which can still operate in diffuse light, CSP power plants are more suitable for areas with higher direct solar irradiance. They are less efficient under cloudy or highly diffuse light conditions.

Solar thermal energy

By what technology do solar thermal systems generate electricity?

Solar thermal energy involves capturing the sun’s heat and using it for heating or even cooling purposes. Unlike solar panel systems that convert sunlight directly into electricity.

Solar thermal devices concentrate solar radiation to heat a fluid (usually water or air) and then transfer the heat to a variety of applications.

Innovations in cooling and heating using solar energy

Recent innovations in solar thermal technology have resulted in significant advances, particularly in efficiency and adaptability.

Enhanced solar collector designs, such as evacuated tube collectors and flat plate collectors, provide higher heat absorption and retention efficiencies.

These collectors can now operate effectively even in low-light conditions, making them even more versatile.

Solar cooling is an emerging field that uses the sun’s heat to power absorption or adsorption refrigeration systems.

This innovation not only provides a sustainable way to reduce air conditioning costs but also reduces peak electricity loads during the hot summer months.

Home and Industrial Applications of Solar Thermal Systems

solar water heaters

Solar thermal systems are often used for domestic water heating.

A typical residential solar water heater reduces conventional hot water use by approximately 50-70%.

The simplicity and low maintenance of these systems increase their appeal.

Solar thermal technology is used in industry for heating and cooling, but also in processes such as desalination, drying, and pasteurization.

For example, solar thermal systems can heat water or generate steam required for various industrial processes. This reduces reliance on fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions.

Renewable energy integration with solar thermal

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Combining solar thermal systems with other renewable energy sources such as wind, biomass or solar panel systems can lead to more efficient, reliable, and cost-effective energy solutions.

For example, combining solar thermal installations with biomass boilers can ensure a stable supply of heating and hot water. This is especially true in areas where the sunlight is less stable.

Incorporating solar thermal energy into district heating networks or geothermal heat pumps can also maximize renewable resources. This will increase the system’s energy efficiency.

This integration has proven particularly effective in large buildings or residential areas where heating and cooling needs are high.

Emerging solar technologies

Emerging solar technologies revolutionize solar energy use and thinking.

These technologies, from perovskite solar cells to building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), set industry benchmarks in efficiency, aesthetics, and flexibility, addressing many of the limitations of traditional solar panels.

Perovskite solar cells

Perovskite solar cells have attracted widespread attention due to their high efficiency and low production costs.

The cells use perovskite structural compounds, which are efficient light absorbers and easy to fabricate.

Perovskite solar cells achieve efficiencies of over 25%, which rivals and potentially surpasses traditional silicon-based cells.

Additionally, perovskite cells can be produced using a simple printing process, significantly reducing manufacturing complexity and cost.

They also offer application flexibility—unlike rigid traditional panels, perovskites can be used in a variety of environments, including curved surfaces, lightweight portable devices, and even transparent cells for windows.

PVMars company how to produce TOPCon solar cells?

Organic photovoltaic cells (OPV)

Organic photovoltaic cells (OPV) represent another promising solar technology.

Made from carbon-based materials, OPVs are lightweight, flexible, and potentially cheaper to produce than traditional solar cells.

One of the main advantages of OPV is its versatility in design and color. This makes it aesthetically pleasing and suitable for integration into buildings and consumer electronics.

Despite these advantages, OPV efficiency levels are generally low, peaking at approximately 15%.

They also have a shorter lifespan than silicon-based panels.

However, ongoing research is focused on improving OPV stability and efficiency to make them more commercially viable.

Solar skins and building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV)

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Building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) and solar skins are innovative applications of solar technology that focus on aesthetics and dual functionality.

Solar skins involve integrating thin photovoltaic layers onto surfaces such as building facades, car roofs, and even electronic devices. This provides an unobtrusive and attractive way to generate solar energy.

BIPV takes a step further by integrating photovoltaics into building materials themselves, such as glass, roofs, or walls.

This integration generates electricity and replaces traditional building materials, potentially reducing overall costs and environmental impact.

BIPV systems can vary depending on the technology used but are generally within conventional photovoltaic systems.

However, for many users, the added aesthetic value and architectural integration may exceed their budget.


These emerging solar energy types expand solar energy applications but also push efficiency, design, and sustainability.

Their development and eventual widespread adoption are key to a more versatile and beautiful solar future.

Zoey Zhao is a content developer at PVMARS Solar. She has a BA in English and a MA in Journalism. Prior to joining PVMARS, Zoey worked as a writer for various brands in the automotive and construction industries. She is passionate about sustainability and is currently exploring all things renewable!

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PVMARS Solar will set up 120 energy user service centers around the world. It will provide on-site investigation, design drawings, solar energy storage system solutions, transportation of goods, assist you to import solar energy storage system, installation services, and continue to cooperate with local engineers, exclusive agents and foreign merchants.

We sincerely hope to work with like-minded partners. Win-win cooperation to achieve harmonious coexistence between mankind and nature.

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