Energy experts say solar is on the rise all around the world - and this is the reason why.
One of the only truly renewable energy sources we know of to date is the sun. With almost limitless energy falling upon the Earth each day, savvy entrepreneurs have been trying to harness this resource and make it a competitive source of consumer energy for decades.
According to a report from the Washington Post, their efforts are finally starting to pay off. Industry experts say solar energy is quickly making its way into the mainstream, shedding its stigma as an environmentalist’s dream of a clean energy utopia.
While the sun’s energy may be virtually limitless, there have been significant barriers to solar energy becoming a mainstay of our power mix. The biggest problem faced in the solar industry by far has been cost – producing electricity from solar panels has long been more expensive and time-consuming than more traditional methods of supplying energy, like burning fossil fuels.
This has been rapidly changing, however. Thanks to advances in technology and economies of scale, the price of solar panels and the power they produce is lower than it has ever been. According to Dan Whitten, the vice president of communications at the Solar Energy Industries Association, “By the end of 2020, the amount of installed solar capacity will be 300 percent higher than today. Nationwide, it grew 10 times between 2008 and 2015.”
The benefits of solar power are hard to deny. Users can effectively free themselves from the grips of utility companies, and often wind up supplying excess energy back to the grid. People who get their energy from solar panels make a considerable investment up front, but enjoy savings for as long as the panels last on their rooftop.
Another benefit that cannot be understated is the reduced impact on the atmosphere resulting from carbon dioxide emissions. Each family that switches to solar panel represents a lost customer for dirtier sources of energy like coal or natural gas.
If analysts are right, and the cost of solar energy continues to plummet, the future could be a lot greener than anyone ever imagined.
A press release from the Solar Energy Industries Association describing the most recent market trends can be found here.