2022: The energy turning point – Turbulent times, politics and trends
The year 2022 was marked by many political uncertainties causing tremendous challenges for energy supply. It is more important than ever for governments to gear their energy security policy towards a robust and diverse energy mix. Solar energy is no longer only important in combating climate change, but also for countries’ energy independence and peace of mind.
The war in Ukraine has focused minds on how best to bring power generation within national borders and reduce reliance on other countries. At the same time, government and organisational net-zero targets are re-shaping the energy sector. While further fuelling the pressure in this area we have the tech-savvy Generation Z, who is always online, demanding, health and environmentally conscious and whose lifestyle demands high-end, high-tech, fancy, fast products and services, but not at the cost of sustainability.
Renewables have emerged as one of the primary solutions to these challenges and as a consequence there has been a push towards photovoltaics. Solar is already competitive but combining it with the 2022 trend of storage it will continue to increase its competitive advantage. With further technical improvements – efficiency and module cost are constantly being optimised by using larger M10 wafers – and the exploration of further new applications, such as floating solar and agri PV, makes solar the leading light among renewables.
All these trends were in evidence during a fantastic Intersolar Europe 2022, the flagship event of the year, which was boosted by a real sense of post-Covid relief and a new spirit of optimism.
Supply chain and resourcing challenges
But where there is light, there is also darkness. There was and remains a real challenge in the global supply chain. Geopolitical and economic conditions have caused significant disruptions to the development of renewables in 2022.
The market has seen increases in costs since the beginning of the year and financing costs experienced a rise because of the higher interest rates imposed as to counter-inflation measures by the European Central Bank. Moreover, the shortfall in experienced professionals played a significant role in 2022, leading to a continued delay in the installation of PV systems.
A year of success for Sharp Energy Solutions
As a company with a history of more than 60 years in the solar industry, Sharp has often demonstrated its adaptability to changing times with agility and flexibility.
According to analysts, new European solar capacity of 33 GW may have been installed in 2022, up from 27 GW in 2021.
The high demand for PV modules and Sharp’s ideal product portfolio has led to a further expansion of Sharp’s turnover and profit in 2022 and lots of new customers in the EMEA region.
Sharp kicked off the year by introducing two new half-cut cell panels, the NU-JC410 and its all-black version the NU-JC400B. These are both monocrystalline PERC silicon photovoltaic panels, suitable for short frame side clamping. They were followed by a black-framed 410 W monocrystalline PERC silicon photovoltaic panel version in mid-year– the NU-JC410B, built with a white backsheet and a black frame.
Sharp also launched its 540 W bifacial half-cut cell monocrystalline silicon photovoltaic (PV) panel – the NB-JD540 – in 2022 and ended the year successfully with a wattage upgrade on three of its half-cell panels, the NU-JC415, NB-JD545 and NU-JD545.
Alongside the adoption of its tailored customer product line-up, digitalisation measures continued and Sharp implemented further improvements in the use of digital technologies to enhance the customer journey.
Its strong financial and historical backbone enabled Sharp to continue investing further into its business to the benefit of the customers. This follows the major milestone of 110 years of global innovation which was celebrated by Sharp in 2022.
What’s in store for 2023?
As 2023 approaches, the long shadow of Covid still persists and geopolitical tensions will continue to cause economic challenges. Energy markets face uncertainties into next year, too. There is, however, a notable renewed focus by governments on ensuring energy security, and policies are being enacted around the world which aim at tackling the cost-of-living crisis and making energy more affordable. This could act as a catalyst for renewable technologies, with accelerated deployments likely, especially for the residential segment in PV.
Sharp’s approach for 2023
In the new year, Sharp will focus even more on its customers and their requirements. In this context, the product portfolio, corporate social responsibility and digitalisation will all play a major role.
When building its PV panel portfolio, Sharp always focuses on how the customer will use the panels. Sharp aims to offer the most suitable products for residential, commercial & industrial and free-field installations, but also for special applications such as floating PV or agri PV.
In project terms, Sharp is working alongside partners on the development of solar power plants and acquiring agricultural and other kinds of land for PV plants. Sharp offers unique opportunities for landowners and developers for joint PV project development of various kinds and is flexible in terms of the type and scope of cooperation at every stage.
Customers from all areas will benefit from further improvements in power output and panel efficiency in 2023, starting with another 5-watt upgrade on project panels in January and adding Top-Con panels during the following months. In addition, design-conscious customers will find the perfect solution in the new full-black “Made in Germany” panel.
The digitised customer journey
The digitalisation journey is still ongoing in 2023. In order to understand customer needs even better and to make optimum use of all customer contact points, digitalisation will continue to play a major role next year. Sharp always aims to make all the right information available to the customer at the right time, answer inquiries as quickly as possible and keep the intervention required customer as low as possible. In order to achieve this, Sharp is working continuously to improve the digitalisation processes.
Award-winning climate action that goes above and beyond
As well as our product line-up, CSR issues are becoming increasingly critical. Sharp applies strict environmental visions, policies and measures. It has updated its environmental policy and formulated the Sharp Eco Vision 2050, a long-term vision culminating in the year 2050. Based on this vision, Sharp is taking on the challenge of creating a sustainable global environment by providing the world with clean energy, at the same time as minimising the environmental impact caused by greenhouse gases, waste, and other by-products of its business. Sharp has also installed PV systems at its domestic and overseas manufacturing sites and is promoting the use of renewables to do its bit for the creation of a decarbonised society. Sharp’s CSR activities have been honoured with a Gold award from Ecovadis, the world’s most trusted provider of business sustainability ratings, and Sharp is confident of a successful follow-up in 2023.
Looking forward with optimism and enthusiasm
Sharp Energy Solutions Europe continues its commitment to participate in the growing energy solutions market with a great team. Sharp has a strong high-quality product line-up for 2023, including “Made in Germany” modules, as well as the implementation of new project development business models. Sharp will continue to strive for 100% renewables and invites its customers to join it on this journey!