The International Energy Association (IEA) projects that by 2050, solar power could be the leading source of energy in most homes across the US. The technology behind solar energy is fast evolving and improving. With time, consumers will bid utility firms goodbye and install their sources of power.
More and more consumers see not only the economic but also ecological benefits of solar power. Reports from the US Energy Information Administration say that solar capacity has increased manifold since 2010. Solar energy is a natural gift, so the only investment you make is solar panel installation, and you can have as many kilowatt-hours for free.
Solar energy is generating environmentally-friendly power, hence, reduction in the usage of fossil fuels like oil and coal. Organizations like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have emphasized the use of solar power in homes to curtail the impending threats of climate change. With the following benefits of solar energy, most homes will be powered by solar power in the future.
Solar Power Keeps Getting Cheaper
The International Energy Agency (EIA) estimates the growth of the solar power industry by 60 percent through 2024. The increase is due to lower costs, making solar power economically attractive across the US. The agency estimates a drop in solar prices by 15 to 35 percent.
Tumbling solar energy costs have attracted many American corporates like General Motors and Facebook to invest in large-scale solar projects. These projects include powering millions of homes using solar power.
The decrease in costs of material and economies of scale will cause more plumbing of solar power prices. For instance, in 2012, you could pay approximately $1.93 per watt, while in 2017, the prices dropped to below $0.90 per watt, marking a 43% decrease. Analysts project that installing solar panels in the future will incur lower costs than using coal-fired power.
Efficient technology innovations like batteries will also drop in price. In 2017, a battery could cost you about $275 per kilowatt-hour. A similar battery will cost you approximately $70 per kilowatt-hour in 2040. Apart from improvements in solar technology, financial incentives from the government will cause an increase in solar installations.
In 2013, the demand for solar power rose by 41% across the US. The increase placed solar energy second for the most sought-after power source after natural gas. The demand for solar in households rose to 60% as well.
Industry analysts reported the installation of over 4.75 gigawatts panels. These photovoltaic panels are enough to light up more than 3.5 million homes. As of 2020, the installation of solar panels in homes has quadrupled, and there are zero signs of stalling.
Focus on Technological Innovations
To promote more solar panel installation in homes, subsidies, and grants from the government have become increasingly generous. Makers of solar panels can use these grants to focus on research, development, and innovation. When solar technology is enhanced, it results in improved efficiency, stability, and low-cost manufacturing. Another plus is that these advancements make solar energy not only affordable but also efficient. Here are some of these technological developments.
Transparent Solar Cells
Modern-day solar panels are aesthetic, and this is one factor that could increase their demand in homes. Homeowners can use transparent panels for roofing. This means the panels allow natural light during the day and light up the house when darkness falls.
Biogenic Solar Cells
Scientists are working around the clock to develop solar cells from living organisms. It is said that these genetically modified cells can work efficiently in low solar lighting conditions. The goal is to do away with conventional solar panels that are unattractive and convert only 20% of the solar radiation.
In the past, installation involved fixing large and dark panels on the roof, and many people were not pleased with the fixtures. Recently, researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology developed lightweight solar cells that are so small such that they cannot burst soap bubbles when placed on top.
With such advancement, solar cells can be sewn in window treatments or placed on any part of the home without compromising the home’s visual appeal. Imagine powering your house with solar cells that match the aesthetics and keeping construction costs at a minimum – a win-win occurrence.
Government Support and Directives
The federal and state governments alike are supporting solar power transition after an economic dip in the last decade. Taking California as a case study, the state projected to generate approximately 33% of the state’s power from solar energy, among other renewable power sources between 2011 and 2020.
The good news is, the goal was arrived at earlier than anticipated with two years -2018. California not only reached the goal more first but also surpassed the 33 percent target and hit 34%. The ambition resulted in lowered air pollution and the emission of greenhouse gases. As of now, California’s air pollution has decreased by 14%, and emissions keep dropping.
In December 2019, there was a state celebration in California for Powering one million businesses and homes using solar power. The former governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, set the lofty goal in 2016 while in power. His government offered incentives and tax credits in the solar energy industry.
6.6% of the homes in California are solar-powered. Also, there is a directive on building codes that came into effect in January 2020. Installation of solar panels is a must for every new home built from 1st January 2020.
Energy watch-dogs are now urging the federal government to unclog regulatory and policy bottlenecks to decrease investment risk in the economy and find solutions of integrating solar into the power-production system.
Transition to Environment-Friendly Energy
The Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) stated that investing in solar energy promotes a profitable, at the same time, a sustainable future. Climate change is everyone’s responsibility and needs fast action. Renewable energy like solar has proved to be a significant solution for climate emergencies. The power is readily available, and costs are forecasted to decline into the future.
Solar will Power Homes in The Future
Homeowners are transiting to solar energy in large numbers. Full transition in the future is possible, given that the government continues offering incentives to manufacturers and grants to research institutions. Innovations and technological advancements will ensure that solar becomes the primary power source that continuously yields value to home owners. Reliance on coal and natural gas is an environmentally degrading affair that solar panel installation seeks to counter.