Low Solar Panel Prices Spark Surge in Adoption
Time is running out. If the global community has any chance of meeting the climate change caps set by the Paris Agreement, fossil fuels will have to be phased out and renewable energies implemented at a much, much faster rate. Toward the end of 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released an alarming report which found that in order to limit global warming to just 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the entire world would have to transition to 100 percent clean energy by the middle of the century.
This is a tall order by any metric, but it is made all the more difficult by the fact that many renewable energy sources are still prohibitively expensive and not nearly as efficient as traditional fossil fuels, with many clean energy production processes still in their early phases of development. One source of renewable energy, however, has come a long way over the past few years, and could soon be implemented in greater numbers than ever before, with the potential to completely transform the clean energy landscape.
That resource is solar energy. “Today, we are riding a tremendous wave of advancements in both solar panel efficiency and novel methods of expanding surface area coverage,” reports tech and science news site Singularity Hub. Solar panels were extremely costly and inefficient to manufacture and install just a few years ago, but solar prices have been falling rapidly in recent years as solar tech advances, and now solar energy costs just $3 per watt on average and solar panels average 18 percent efficiency, a huge improvement from where solar power technology was just a few years ago.
While this already bears well for the future of solar energy, it’s just the beginning. Solar energy is set to explode. The Singularity Hub article tellingly titled “The Age of Solar Energy Abundance Is Coming in Hot“ goes on to say that “While the efficiency of current run-of-the-mill solar panels still hovers around 16-18 percent, traditional silicon solar panels have only reached half of their theoretical efficiency potential. And new materials science breakthroughs are now on track to double this theoretical constraint, promising cheap, efficient, and abundant solar energy.”
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