Renewable Energy Global Status Report
A recent report by Renewables Global Status confirms that 2016 was a bumper year for renewable technology, notably solar energy. According to the RGS report, the total amount of solar energy produced in 2016 amounted to 303 GW, up 75 GW for the year. Compared to non-renewable sources of energy such as coal and oil, solar is going at a rate of knots.
This pattern has been in play for 5 years. Installed renewable power capacity is dominated by solar energy, which now accounts for some 40% of all new capacity added. What is equally interesting is carbon dioxide emissions which have remained steady for the past 3 years in a row, even while the global economy has grown by 3%.
The Renewables Global Status Report confirms that more renewable sources of energy are being added to the global power capacity than all non-renewable sources like petroleum, coal, and others combined. Naturally, the rapid growth in renewable energy sources such as solar needs to be coupled with infrastructure growth and development. This requires high levels of investment, for distribution networks, sector coupling, and various options to balance supply/demand considerations. These enabling technologies will facilitate widespread growth of solar energy utilization.
Cost-Benefit Analysis of Solar Energy
Solar energy can reduce electricity bills by as much is 80%, and studies have shown that solar energy can increase a home’s value by up to 20%. Since these solar panels are designed for long-term cost savings, they are an investment in the future. Solar energy generates clean power from UV radiation (the sun). The costs of this energy transmission mechanism are substantially less than the rates charged by utility companies. Plus, the clean power from the sun and the solar panels leaves a minimal carbon footprint on the environment.
Solar energy has been shown to reduce monthly bills, and it is an investment that more than pays for itself over time. There are several options available to homeowners with regards to solar energy panel installation and usage. A buy option or a lease option is available, and both present affordable ways to reconfigure your electricity requirements. A study commissioned by North Carolina State University found that the average cost savings on energy bills ranges between $44 and $187 with solar energy panels. Solar panel quotes are quick and easy to obtain, and they cost nothing. Customers can source all the requisite information they need to understand what benefits they can enjoy – environmental and cost savings – by using solar energy panels to power their homes.
Is It Likely That Solar Energy Will Decrease in Cost over Time?
Solar energy companies are going mainstream with production facilities, network expansion, and infrastructure capacity. If the industry develops into an economy of scale, it is possible that costs will drop somewhat. However, the costs of solar energy are partially offset by a 30% federal solar tax credit. There are also state tax credits and incentives that are available to homeowners looking to install solar energy panels. As more people adopt solar energy, it is unclear whether federal and state regulations will continue supporting an incentivised scheme. Between 1960 and 2017, there has been little change in the efficiency of solar energy panels.
While costs have certainly come down in recent years, experts remain divided on just how far prices can fall. Consider that solar energy costs have been slashed in half since 2009, and some 1 million US homes now lay claim to solar energy. Several states have been phasing out subsidies and prices have flattened in recent years. However, it is the soft costs that comprise the bulk of solar energy pricing for residential homes. In European countries like Germany, solar systems are a lot easier to sell because the cost savings are so much bigger. In the US, state-by-state legislation is a bugbear to the effective functioning of a widescale solar energy network.
An EDF report confirmed that some 208,000 people are currently employed in the solar energy industry, and the industry is growing x 12 faster than the economy of the US. For the 1-year period ending November 2016, the solar industry created 2% of all new jobs in the US. One thing is certain: The solar energy industry is growing at a healthy pace, and it is creating cost savings and job opportunities for Americans across the board.