Solar energy is a clean and renewable source of energy that is quickly becoming popular because of its many advantages. The oil industry has begun to recognize the importance of alternative energy sources and is working hard to offer consumers what they want whilst minimizing their impact on the environment. The future of solar energy is promising as the cost of panels have decreased and the efficiency of the devices has significantly improved. Here are the facts:
Solar Energy Is Growing
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the solar energy market size was $26.9billion in 2024 and is expected to grow to $45.3billion by 2028.
The demand for clean energy is rising as more people are becoming environmentally conscious and are looking for alternatives to traditional fossil fuels. Over 60 countries are investing in solar energy development, with China alone having committed $360billion to this initiative and the European Union also investing heavily in the technology.
The benefits of solar energy go beyond providing an alternative energy source and contributing to carbon reduction. The technology is now relatively inexpensive, so even smaller businesses can enjoy the benefits of solar power through their businesses. Solar energy also provides a way to reduce electricity bills as the cost of generating electricity directly from the sun is much less than the cost of electricity purchased from traditional sources. Finally, the intermittency of solar energy production makes it ideal for certain applications such as electricity supply in remote locations and developing countries.
The Rise In Renewable Energy
The world’s leading energy investors are making massive investments in renewable energy sources as a way to counterbalance the effects of climate change and minimize their impact on the environment. According to a report published by the International Energy Agency (IEA), investment in renewable energy is expected to hit $325billion by 2027.
Major investments include the U.S. government’s loan guarantee program, where businesses can lease land for solar energy development at zero percent interest, and the recently announced $150billion stimulus package from the U.S. government designed to promote clean energy technologies, such as solar and wind energy. Germany is also investing heavily in clean energy and launched an initiative in 2021 to reduce its carbon footprint and combat climate change.
The Falling Cost Of Solar Energy
The cost of solar energy has decreased significantly in recent years and is now on par with other traditional energy sources, such as coal and natural gas. The cost of solar energy is affected by many factors, such as the price of solar cells, the price of the panels themselves, the price of the material used for construction, and the subsidies offered by governments. However, the biggest contributing factor is the decrease in the cost of solar cells and, to a lesser degree, the increase in the efficiency of solar panels themselves. In 2021 alone, the cost of solar energy decreased by 23%, according to a report from the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA).
Solar Energy Provides An Opportunity To Develop Nations
The demand for clean energy is rising as more people become concerned about climate change and its many devastating effects. However, some areas of the world are better placed to take advantage of the opportunities that come with developing solar energy. According to the U.N.’s International Energy Agency (IEA), 100 million solar-powered devices would supply the energy needs of the average person. A 2017 report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) states that, even though solar power accounts for only 2% of the world’s energy, it could provide the energy needs of the entire planet.
In most parts of the world, solar energy is the perfect alternative to traditional energy sources, which are expensive and non-renewable. The technology is relatively inexpensive to implement and can provide an unlimited supply of energy.
Developing nations could play a crucial role in the solar energy industry, especially as it relates to manufacturing and construction of hardware and solar panels. International aid and trade partnerships could provide the industry with the workforce it needs to take advantage of the growing demand. The role of international development assistance in promoting renewable energy has emerged as a key area of focus for civil society advocates and the international development community at large.
The Impact Of Climate Change
The rise in temperature caused by climate change is having a significant impact on the environment. Coral reefs are bleaching, with sea turtles and fish becoming rarer. Animals are fleeing the poles in search of cooler climes and drought is plaguing regions, with the worst affected areas being Africa and South America.
The cost of adapting to these changes will be significant and a large proportion of the world’s population will be affected. Solar energy provides a clean solution to this problem and could help supply energy to homes and businesses, providing a lifeline for people in need.
Further benefits of solar energy include reducing carbon emissions and landfill waste, alleviating poverty, and creating new opportunities for businesses and investors. However, as the cost of solar energy continues to decrease, the need for substantial government support grows. As the cost of traditional energy sources increases, solar energy becomes a more attractive option for consumers.
The Many Forms Of Solar Energy
The perfect alternative to fossil fuels, solar energy comes in many forms and can be used for a variety of purposes. Concentrating solar power (CSP) uses mirrors or lenses to focus sunlight on a thermal power plant. Photovoltaic solar (PV) uses solar cells to convert sunlight into electricity and thermal solar uses reflective materials and heat to produce electricity. Each option has its perks and, depending on your needs, you can tailor the perfect solar solution to fit your needs.
Each of these options has its pros and cons. For example, CSP requires massive investment in terms of land, building, and equipment, but it produces high-quality, environmentally-friendly energy, which is mainly used for electricity. PV is great for mobile applications as it is light and can be easily transported, but it requires much less land to produce the same amount of energy as CSP. Finally, thermal solar is the safest and most conventional option, but it is highly inefficient, mainly used for heating purposes.
The ideal solution for most applications is a combination of the above, with a hybrid solar system serving as a compromise. When designing your hybrid system, keep in mind that the most efficient option is the one that produces the most energy for the least cost. Also, consider the fact that in most countries solar energy is heavily subsidized by governments, providing you with an incentive to purchase and implement solar energy.
Though the future of solar energy looks promising, it is still a relatively new field, with many challenges ahead. Many nations are committed to its growth and development and are making significant investments to that end. The role of government, businesses, and investors in promoting renewable energy is becoming more important as the world confronts the threat of climate change.