The United States Energy Information Administration published very encouraging updates about renewable energy in January of 2017. Renewable energy sources, especially solar power and wind power, added most of the new capacity that the U.S. energy grid received during the year.
Three Reasons Why Solar Might Become Mainstream Very Soon
While wind and solar were pretty comparable during 2017, solar energy for utilities, homes, and businesses might be ready to break out. It may even become competitive with traditional fuel sources for electricity generation. To understand this, it might help to briefly consider a few trends:
1. Reduced Cost of New Solar Projects
Wind power might have started to gain on solar because typical new construction was cheaper. However, Bloomberg published this article in December of 2016 that demonstrated that the most recent solar projects have grown slightly less expensive than new wind projects. In some cases, solar power generation projects have even undercut oil and gas. For one thing, solar panel manufacturers have been lowering their prices.
2. Better Solar Panel Tech
Companies are figuring out how to produce solar panels for a cheaper price; at the same time, they are also learning how to make solar panels more attractive and functional. Consider Tesla’s new solar shingles. These shingles look and function like regular shingles, and they also collect energy that can be turned into electricity at home. Bloomberg reported upon an Elon Musk statement that these new solar roofs could be cheaper than old-fashioned roofs. The prospect of enjoying an attractive, durable, affordable, and power-generating roof has got to attract a lot of consumers.
3. Reduced Prices for Battery Storage
Some analysts have gone so far as to call cheaper batteries the “Holy Grail of Solar Power.” Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank predicts a price drop of at least 20 percent every year. This offers a way to use energy produced during sunny days at night or on cloudy days, and if prices can trend down for a few years, solar power will become a much more competitive and accessible option. According to the bank’s report, this could happen by 2020.
Solar Power Might be Poised to Compete With Alternative and Traditional Energy Sources
Everybody likes the idea of generating limitless and clean energy from sunshine. Barriers to solar adaption might have included the cost of projects, the durability and look of solar panels, and the cost of energy storage. If new technology can lower these barriers, it seems pretty safe to bet that solar power will emerge as a leading industry in the near future.