Solar Energy: Where Does Value Lie?

One of the biggest trends of the 21st century has been the move to alternative energy sources. While conventional forms of energy like oil and gas have historically been valuable commodities, their prices have skyrocketed over the past decade. The cost of solar energy has dropped dramatically, and as a result, many more people are choosing to generate electricity with the help of the sun rather than pay exorbitant prices at the gas station.

The Decreasing Cost Of Solar Energy Has Driven A “Solar Revolution”

In the early 2000s, buying a panel of solar cells was well over a million dollars. Today, that same panel costs around $25,000. Even more impressive is the cost of the installation itself. In the early 2000s, it typically cost over a million dollars to install a solar power system that would generate 100 kilowatts of electricity—enough for a small home. Today, it costs around $15,000 to $20,000 to put in the same size system.

This cost reduction has driven an entire “solar revolution,” as some analysts put it. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), investment in solar energy projects decreased by 26% in 2022 relative to 2021.

In 2021 alone, there were 322 megawatts of solar capacity installed worldwide, and that’s expected to grow to 1.46 gigawatts by 2027.

The Majority Of New Solar Installations Come From Asia

Of the new solar installations that will be operational in the next few years, the majority will be built in China, Malaysia, and Indonesia, according to NREL. The agency predicts that by 2027, there will be over 4.5 gigawatts of solar capacity installed worldwide..

China alone is projected to have over 500 megawatts of solar capacity installed by the end of 2022, enough to power over 250,000 homes. (Photo courtesy of NREL.)

The Future Of Solar Energy Looks Dramatically Different

Of all the alternative energy sources available, solar energy has the most potential to affect every home and business across the globe. Not only is it clean and sustainable, but it’s also available 24/7.

In 2021, the fastest-growing country for solar energy was Vietnam, where installations grew by 44% compared to 2020. (GAP Worldwide.)

According to the Global Anti-Slavery Alliance, there are over 27 million slaves in the world today, and around 98% of them are forced to work in agriculture and aquaculture. If you’re reading this blog post, it’s very likely that you’re already aware of the horrors of slavery, but what exactly does that have to do with solar energy?

Most Slaves In The World Work In Agriculture

While it’s impressive that more and more people are working to combat slavery in all its forms, most of the people who are affected by it are working in agriculture. According to the Global Anti-Slavery Alliance, approximately 27 million people are enslaved in the world today. That’s 80% of the total global population that’s affected by this issue. (Source: Global Anti-Slavery Alliance.)

The Global Anti-Slavery Alliance is an organization that was founded in 2000 and works to eliminate all forms of modern-day slavery. The alliance focuses on three areas: eliminating slavery within 50 years, freeing 500 million people from bonded and forced labor, and providing support to those in need. (Global Anti-Slavery Alliance.)

One of the biggest issues that the Global Anti-Slavery Alliance is working hard to combat is agricultural slavery. Over half of all slaves in the world work in agriculture, and in some parts of the world, like India, the ratio is even higher. (Source: Global Anti-Slavery Alliance.)

The reason behind this massive participation in agriculture is that it’s one of the only industries where you can make a decent living. According to the International Labor Organization, the world will need to increase its agricultural output by 66% to feed the growing population in 2025. (Source: The Guardian.)

The increase in demand for food is one of the main reasons behind the worldwide rise in interest in solar energy. If you thought that hosting a garden to feed yourself and your family was unique, think again. According to NASA, one of the main uses of future solar energy networks will be to generate electricity for use in agriculture.

Even At Current Ratios, Solar Energy Can Be A Profitable Investment

Even now, in today’s turbulent economic climate, there are still lucrative opportunities in the solar energy sector. To give you an idea of how much revenue there is in the solar industry, we can use a Cost-to-Revenue (C2R) calculation. (Forbes.)

The Cost-to-Revenue (C2R) measurement is used to value any company or enterprise. It essentially compares the overall cost of acquiring and operating a business to its revenue. That way, you can determine whether or not investing in a company is profitable. (Forbes.)

Using this measurement, the cost of buying a 500 kilowatt solar power system for a 5-year duration is roughly $16.67 million. (Not factoring in inflation.) Since that’s more than the average American household spends on electricity every year, it’s easy to see how investing in solar energy could be lucrative. (Forbes.)

Why Are So Many People Interested In Solar Energy?

To this day, the benefits of solar energy are still being discovered. As more and more people start to see the light, the perks are too numerous to list. (Forbes.)

In addition to being environmentally friendly and good for the planet, there are several other major advantages to going green with solar energy. Let’s take a look.

Clean Energy

One of the biggest benefits of going green with solar energy is that it’s extremely clean. The entire process of manufacturing solar cells is extremely green, and the byproducts of the process are also incredibly clean. (Greentech Media.)

Even more impressively, the solar cell manufacturing process actually requires very little energy. The process starts with the absorption of solar energy by silicon. After that, the silicon is etched to create the solar cell’s circuitry. (IEEE Spectrum.)

Ecofriendly And Versatile

Not only is solar energy extremely clean, it’s also incredibly versatile. Although solar panels work best when placed on a sunny rooftop or park, they can still generate electricity when the sun doesn’t shine. (Greentech Media.)

One of the biggest advantages of solar energy is that it’s environmentally friendly and sustainable. As human beings continue to be affected by climate change, more and more people are looking for ways to be more eco-friendly. (Envion.)

Not only is solar energy eco-friendly, it’s also sustainable. Since solar energy doesn’t destroy the environment when produced, it has the potential to completely replace fossil fuels in the coming years. (The Guardian.)

While it’s still a relatively new sector, solar energy has exploded in popularity over the past few years. The cost of solar equipment has come down dramatically, and as a result, more and more people are interested in finding ways to generate their own electricity using the sun. (Smart Money.)

If you live in Southern California and want to explore solar energy as a potential clean energy source, check out this informative blog by California Solar Power. The blog post will guide you through the process of installing a residential solar power system and provide you with all the stats you need to know.

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