Solar Energy Growth on the Path to Overtake Non-Renewables in U.S.
Solar energy has long had a troublesome reputation. Although cleaner and much more sustainable than fossil fuels like coal and oil, it has often been dragged down by concerns regarding its practicality. By far, one of the biggest obstacles for solar power has been financial costs. Fossil fuels have traditionally been cheaper and more practical for both manufacturers and consumers.
Obstacles to Practicality
Three factors have traditionally stood in the way of solar energy. The power grid as it currently exists is built on a network of wires and poles. Furthermore, it is unable to store surplus energy, since today’s power grid can burn enough fossil fuels to keep up with demand. Solar power is also intermittent, providing an inconsistent amount of energy throughout the day.
Solar panels to-date have also been inefficient, able to capture only 35% of sunlight, and that’s from the best solar panels on the market.
Finally, investment in solar energy has traditionally been low, with $254 billion raised in the U.S. last year.
Changing Trends in Solar
All the pitfalls with solar energy are about to change in the coming years, despite falling gas prices. First off, the average cost of solar panels per watt of energy is dropping dramatically. Solar panels now cost less than one dollar per watt, compared to $75 in 1972.
Funding for solar energy is also dramatically increasing. The $254 billion raised in 2014 is up from $126 million in the first quarter of 2013. Tech giant Apple is also reported to invest $850 million in solar panels in California. The level of investment is also resulting in more jobs in the solar energy sector, about a 10 times faster rate of growth than in the U.S. economy overall.
The federal government is also providing regulations and incentives to invest in solar energy, especially in states like California and Nevada. This is making it more attractive to both consumers and manufacturers to consider installing solar energy.
The Perfection Perspective
At Perfection Spring & Stamping Corp. we are always interested in finding ways to support the environment. We have worked with renewable energy companies and continue to offer our insight on lowering the cost of solar panels with innovate part design as the quote opportunities come our way. Our Company has considered the installation of solar panels on the roof of our factory. As the quality and costs continue to drop year-after-year it may be a very viable source of energy even with our “Chicago winters”. Currently, we are proud of our strong commitment to the environment and have achieved our certification per ISO-14001 requirements for our Environmental Management System. Contact us for a variety of custom metal products that can be utilized in the solar and renewable energy markets.