The first solar panels were developed in the 1950s but the technology is still evolving into a mainstream part of energy consumption worldwide. As fossil fuels are on their way out and consumers look for cleaner energy sources, solar energy is being pushed further to the forefront of the conversation.
So what factors are driving the push for more solar energy?
Consumers, particularly those of the millennial generation, are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and treat the planet with more care. In the first quarter of 2012, solar panels/cells were installed at a rate 85 percent higher than the same time the year before. As a result, renewable energy sources like solar and wind are seeing an uptick in interest. There will never be concern about using up all the solar energy that is available, either. It is the most abundant energy source on the planet, with more than 10 times the world’s energy streaming continuously.
Saving the environment is not the only reason consumers are looking to solar power, of course. Many people are also looking for ways to save money as utility costs climb. In either case, the demand for solar energy is rising, along with its availability and affordability.
The idea of solar energy is nothing new, but the way it is developed and delivered is seeing great advancement. The most efficient solar cells in existence reach levels higher than 40% as a result of improvements to materials and even battery technology. The materials used in solar cells, particularly perovskites that absorb specific wavelengths, are becoming less expensive to manufacture and also increasing in efficiency. There are also complementary products, like solar window coatings, that are being manufactured to enhance the solar energy experience for people who are not ready to take the full plunge.
The largest solar energy plant, a 3,500-acre solar panel location in the Mojave Desert owned in part by Google, cost $2.2 billion to build but also produces enough energy to power 140,000 homes. On a smaller scale, the technology behind solar energy is developing rapidly in order to meet the demands of consumers, which is driving down the cost for everyone. The U.S. Energy Department is always looking for ways to drive down installation costs for people who seek solar energy, including tax breaks to help make the financial impact less of a burden. There are many different affordable solar financing options available for everyone to go solar.
Are you interested in solar energy? Contact us to learn more.