Where Is The Future Of Solar Energy Headed?
At some point in the recent past, the idea of turning the sun’s energy into a viable source of electricity for household use seemed far-fetched. But now that the solar energy industry is more widely accepted, what happens next?
Increased Reliance On Solar Energy
In recent years, the use of solar energy has increased significantly.
For example, according to energy.gov, net solar energy production increased from 1,121 gigawatt-hours (GWh) in 2010 to 90,891 GWh in 2020. And that positive trend has continued. In 2021, 39% of all new electricity-generating capacity added in the U.S. was solar.
As of 2022, 3% of the electricity generated in the U.S. comes from solar energy, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. But some studies suggest that the country could have 90% of its energy needs met by clean energy such as wind and solar.
Lower Overall Costs For Solar Technology
Converting solar energy into usable electricity involves sophisticated technology and storage systems. Although the current technology is functional, the industry is constantly working to create a more efficient and cost-effective way of producing usable electricity.
The solar industry has seen a large influx of federal funding to back projects that will lower the costs of solar technology. If the funding has its intended effect, the cost of solar will be cut in half by 2030. With more affordable access to solar technology, more households can harness the benefits of solar energy.
More Affordable Solar Panels
If you are considering going solar, the costs of solar panels will impact your decision. Although the exact costs will vary based on your situation, most households can expect to pay around $20,000.
In the last decade, the cost of solar panels has declined significantly. According to Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the average price of a residential system cost around $40,000 in 2010. As the technology behind solar energy continues to improve, solar panels for homeowners should become increasingly affordable.
No Increase In Electricity Costs
If the technological advances continue at their current clip, the U.S Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy anticipates that electricity prices will not increase through 2035. That’s if the goal of 95% decarbonization of the electric grid is achieved by 2035.
More Jobs In Solar Energy
The increasing interest and access to solar energy have led to more and more jobs in the field. As of 2021, more than 10,000 companies employ over 255,000 Americans across all 50 states.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more jobs are expected in the coming decade. Between 2021 and 2031, the BLS expects solar photovoltaic installer jobs to grow by 27%. But other job classes, like administration and sales, may be added to the solar industry as the country adopts this form of green energy.