Image by Walmart Corporate via flickr
Solar power has typically been seen as a boutique option in the energy marketplace. People who opt for solar power are interested in clean technology and are willing to pay a lot more for the privilege of going green. Sure, everyone understands that solar energy is practically free for the taking, but the system installation costs have been so prohibitive that going solar is not really thought to be an option for most people. It is only for those who have the means and desire to shop in the boutique stores of the energy marketplace. But what if this perception were no longer true? What if the energy marketplace was shifting? If the economics of solar energy were to dramatically change, green companies would be on the forefront of an energy revolution.
Due to improvements in solar technologies, the cost of installing solar panels has been plummeting over the past five years. It has dropped from $5 per Watt five years ago to $0.50 per Watt today. This means that barrier to converting to solar power is getting lower every year. Soon the cost of switching to solar is going to be competitive with traditional non-renewable sources of energy. The lower price of solar power will drive demand upwards. Soon people who care little about the environmental friendliness of their energy will demand solar power simply for its economic benefits.
Efficiency vs. Price
Arrays from wholesale solar panel suppliers are also becoming more efficient at collecting energy from the sun. Panels now come with solar tracking and solar concentrators. Solar tracking allows the panels to pivot slightly in order to face the sun. Since the incoming angle of solar radiation is a factor in how much energy is generated, solar tracking allows the panels to generate the maximum energy for longer periods of time. Solar concentrators use reflective material to focus the sun’s rays toward the solar panel. This also increases the amount of energy that can be produced. These developments mean that more energy can be harvested with less panel area.
The reduced price and increased efficiency of solar panels makes this form of energy much more desirable. Panels with increased efficiency will be able to operate successfully in poor conditions. Because the panels are much less expensive, larger areas can be used to generate energy. Newer solar systems can generate more power for less cost than ever before. Large backup systems that use electricity from the grid or natural gas are no longer required. Developments in technology have eliminated some of the concerns that are traditionally associated with solar energy.
The energy marketplace is changing rapidly. Today, over $100 billion are spent on solar energy each year. Demand for solar power is growing at a fast pace. More jobs are being created for each dollar spent on solar power than for other forms of energy.
Within the next few years, people are going to be begging for solar energy based solely on the economic advantages of these systems. Soon consumers who could not be bothered about going green will be considering solar power based on its competitive cost compared to traditional fossil fuels. Solar energy is no longer just for the elite consumer concerned about the environment. It is going to be a live option for every consumer.
Emergence of Solar Power
Right now, we stand at the cusp of a revolution in energy technology. For the past 50 years, there has not been a lot of innovation in energy technology. But all that is about to change. In the 1990’s, it was rare to see a person with a cell phone. They were only for the elite who could afford the technology and wanted instant communication. Within a few short years, all that has changed. Now everyone has a cell phone. The communications world has experienced a rapid development of technology that has brought down costs and increased quality. Cell phones are now ubiquitous in our society. We may be at that point with energy technology. The next few years may bring rapid developments in technology that change the way energy is obtained and distributed. Today, solar power is rare and viewed as a novelty. But soon, it may be as common as cells phones.
About the author:
Bill Michaels is a lifelong green technology fanatic. With multiple degrees in engineering and an advanced degree in biotechnology, Bill is committed to transforming our energy and transportation systems to be more efficient and clean. Bill is on a constant lookout for green options in the energy marketplace. Currently, Bill is the head of a research department at renewable resource company where he continues to develop innovative solutions to environmental problems.