A few years ago, solar energy was something of a rarity. Spotting solar panels was an achievement, and you might only see them on roadside. Now, they have started to infiltrate even cozy suburbs as homeowners take advantage of the cost savings they can get from using solar energy. Thanks to this boom in popularity, technology has also begun to improve rapidly.
Over the last two years, solar power has dropped by 50 percent in price and seems poised to continue dropping like any new technology. Some industry experts think 2014 will be the year “a dollar per watt” is a standard price, not a dream price, and government subsidies are making it cheaper to install than ever before. Here are some reasons solar power is growing so fast, and how it can help you, too.
Solar panel costs are the main factor, and they’re dropping
As we search for clean, renewable energy sources, solar seems like one of the most obvious choices. The initial manufacturing of the solar panels, also called photovoltaic panels or PV panels, is the greatest factor in the cost of setting up a solar energy plant the likes of which we may see soon. Anywhere from 40 to 50 percent of costs in solar energy plants are due to manufacturing solar modules alone, and installation is another big factor. Manufacturers are finding cheaper, easier ways to produce solar energy panels.
Solar projects are becoming more popular
Large solar projects initiated by companies and utilities are becoming more common as costs drop. This helps create a sustainable source of energy that can continue to exponentially grow as the technology is proven and supported by various levels of politicians and scientists. In just two months, Solarbuzz counted an increase from 17 gigawatts of solar projects in the works to 24 gigawatts. To make the growth even more clear, consider this: at the end of 2010, the USA had 2.6 gigawatts of solar capacity. In 2010, companies installed a gigawatt, compared to just half that in 2009.
You can talk to multiple solar installers easily
Websites like Gridbid make it easy to find several solar panel installers at once and let them bid on your project according to individual specifications. Even if you don’t want to crowd-source your contracting, you can often find more than one installer even in small areas these days. Previously, you would have had to search far and wide to find contractors with extensive knowledge of solar projects in your area. As contractors spring up, it becomes easier to get your solar panels installed hands-off.
The energy bill savings will add up quickly
Homeowners today are increasingly interested in saving money on their utilities. Energy bills can be a major expense for homes in hot or cold areas, and even in moderate climates, you need to run computers and lights, kitchen gadgets and the occasional fan or heater. Solar energy is a great way of not only cutting your energy bill down or out entirely, but beginning to sell energy back to the grid. That’s right – in most areas, if you produce too much energy, it will feed back into the grid and you’ll earn money from your local utility.
The faster, cheaper, cleaner process for installing solar energy is a major factor in why it’s becoming so popular. Perhaps the economy has something to do with it, too; people want to save money in any way possible, and cutting out one regular bill is one way you can do that. Our capacity for solar energy is only just beginning to make itself clear, and the solar energy industry is bound to continue growing every year.