The Solar Energy Source: The Facts

With climate change being one of the major issues of our time, people are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint. In the last couple of decades, the solar energy source has boomed, and so has the demand for solar panels. If you’re interested in going green and want to reduce your dependency on fossil fuels, the solar power option might be for you.

Solar Energy Use Is On The Rise

According to the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA), the solar energy industry has experienced an incredible growth in demand over the last 20 years. In 2018, the SEIA states that 12.3 gigawatts (GW) of new solar capacity were installed globally, and this is estimated to have driven overall demand up by 69% compared to 2011.

The increasing demand for clean energy is being driven by government policies and incentives as well as the growing population which has adopted a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Many large scale photovoltaic (PV) projects have started to supply power to large parts of the world, with Australia, Japan, and China leading the way.

Cost Effective

PV systems are not only beneficial because they reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and nuclear power but also because they are cost effective. The global solar market is a competitive one, and manufacturers are motivated to produce low-cost alternatives to traditional energy sources. The cost of solar energy has decreased by 66% since 2011 and now represents only a small portion of the total cost of electricity produced by a traditional energy source like coal or gas.

Rapid Progress

Photovoltaic technology is moving at an incredible pace. Solar cell efficiency has increased by 23% between 2017 and 2018 alone, and this is forecast to rise even more in the coming years. The global solar capacity added in 2018 was the highest since 2011 and more efficient cells are leading to even greater growth. The most efficient solar cells can convert up to 80% of light into electricity, and this is leading to a new generation of highly efficient solar panels.

Wider Range Of Applications

While the primary use of solar power is as a renewable energy source to generate electricity, it also has a number of other uses. The emerging field of “solar thermal energy” uses solar power to generate heat which is then used for various purposes such as water heating and baking.

PV systems can also be used for desalination, air purification, and sterilization. As well as powering our homes and businesses, we are also seeing an increasing number of residential and commercial buildings adopting PV systems for non-powering applications such as water heating, air purification, and heating.

Reducing Our Carbon Footprint

Many scientists believe that climate change is one of the major issues of our time, along with resource depletion and overpopulation. While we can’t control the climate, we can certainly reduce our carbon footprint by switching to a solar energy source.

The global solar energy market is a $16.9 billion industry and there are various projects underway which are aiming to supply clean energy to remote and underserved areas. Countries such as Chile, Argentina, and Australia have a lot of sun and warm temperatures which make them ideal for setting up solar power plants.

If you’re interested in going green and would like to do your part to reduce your carbon footprint, the solar power option might be for you.

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