The Future of Solar Power

Bob Farnham | July 6, 2015 | Industry Knowledge

What’s on the horizon for solar power?

The year is 2050. Clear skies, fresh air. Roads are populated by autonomous electric vehicles, silently humming along. Traffic is a distant memory. If you were to ask a kid on the street where electricity comes from, they’d give you a confused look and point up. The sun, they’d say, duh.

Take a long look around this future landscape … nearly every home is equipped with an impressive array of solar panels, and even the ones in less sunny areas still draw their power from one of our massive solar farms. Gone are the billows of smoke produced from burning fossil fuels. Hello sunshine. How do you like what you see?

Objectively speaking, it’s a better world. Air quality has improved significantly, energy prices have stabilized, and every household is that much more self-sufficient. This is not a dream. We believe the sun will become our primary power source, and we see it happening in this lifetime. The only question is, under what conditions?

Switching to solar has to make financial sense.

We’d all like to do what’s in the best interest of our planet long term, but the reality is we make most decisions based on what’s practical now. Fortunately, for many people, the financials of solar have caught up with its more aspirational qualities.

Often, households see their utility bill drop 30–50% after going solar, which helps explain the industry’s recent exponential growth. People see solar as a sound investment.

This chart shows the correlation between falling solar costs and rising installations:

We continue to support solar initiatives.

The solar movement has been picking up steam in a hurry thanks to public policy offsetting the start-up costs. Tax rebates, incentives for businesses, and community solar projects are key to sustaining the wave of momentum we’re currently riding.

By supporting large scale clean energy plans, we can all help make sure solar becomes our dominant form of energy. Solar power initiatives vary state-by-state. To find out what’s presently offered in your area visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency.

Innovation should build on existing infrastructure.

We can’t predict exactly how new technology will impact the spread of solar power. All we know is that there will be significant advances in energy storage, deployment, and management over the next decade and beyond.

Energy storage, for example, has the potential to make existing solar infrastructure even more valuable by collecting excess energy in batteries that could power households through outages or extended periods of limited sun exposure. Smart technology makers will build new products that make today’s systems more reliable and efficient without requiring us to start from scratch.

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