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The ever greater global need for and use of fossil fuels – coal, petroleum and natural gas – are major contributing factors in the climate crisis that we currently face. One of the primary aims of Charge Around Australia is to raise awareness that power for the future of the human race must increasingly be generated from renewable resources.

We need to reduce the carbon emissions that are produced by burning fossil fuels, in order to limit climate change and the consequential threat that global warming poses to the planet. There is an urgent requirement to make changes in the ways that we generate electricity.

Renewable energy generation

The coronavirus pandemic has emphasised the importance of electricity’s position at the heart of 21st-century economies. A strong, consistent supply of electricity is a necessity to ensure health and social care systems function successfully and that online economic enterprise can continue uninterrupted.

International lockdown measures significantly reduced the global demand for electricity because of the resulting decrease in commercial and industrial operations. The pandemic has also seen renewable electricity generation increase by almost 3%. This is mainly because of the completion of new wind and solar projects over the 12 months prior to the start of the pandemic.

The increase in renewable electricity generation came primarily at the expense of coal and natural gas. However, those two sources continue to provide almost 60% of electricity supply around the planet. 

Solar power technology

In order to set us on track to meeting the targets laid out in the Paris Agreement, a global energy transformation is needed. Solar power has emerged as the fastest growing source of renewable energy, giving solar photovoltaic power generation a crucial role to play in driving this transformation. 

Over the last few decades, solar panels have improved significantly, both in terms of their efficiency and power output. Of all the low-carbon technology options available, increased utilisation of solar photovoltaics can lead to the most substantial reduction in emissions. 

The organic photovoltaic (OPV) solar power technology that we will use for Charge Around Australia is close to the start of its development. The OPV solar sheets are flexible, lightweight and tensile, and because they are printed, production costs are extremely low. In addition, they are produced using plastic materials that can be easily recycled.

Technology for our sustainable energy

Anticipated technological improvements will enable the solar sheets we are developing to achieve higher harvesting percentage efficiency levels. We hope this will be accomplished through enhanced accuracy and consistency in the printing process.

Deploying the massive potential of solar OPV is going to be vital in reaching our climate targets. OPV can be an important part of an economically and technically achievable solution using low-carbon technology to strive for a clean and sustainable energy future.