Could Solar Energy really be the cheapest source of electricity?
The answer, according to a new report released by the International Energy Agency (IEA), is yes.
The IEA reported last week that in some parts of the world, solar power is now the cheapest source of electricity in history, thanks to policies encouraging renewable energy growth.
Sunshine is free, but the technology needed to turn it into usable electricity can be expensive. To encourage more people and companies to switch to solar power, countries can adjust their policies to make purchasing that equipment more affordable. Today, more than 130 countries have policies that lower the cost of building new solar installations. This is the first year that the IEA took such policies into consideration when calculating the cost of solar energy in its annual World Energy Outlook report. After doing so, their estimates of the cost of solar power fell by between 20 to 50 percent per region compared to last year.
Solar is on track to become “the new king of electricity supply,” the report says, as prices continue to fall. It’s expected to dominate more and more of the market over the next decade, boosted by global efforts to tackle climate change. The EU, for example, set a goal to source 32 percent of its energy from renewables by 2030.
Solar panels are extremely affordable for the average consumer, as they've dropped in price as much as 70 percent over only the last decade. In most countries in the world, it’s consistently cheaper to build solar farms than new coal- or gas-fired power plants, the report says.
The main reason for this affordability is that solar tech continues to improve and innovation continues to drive those costs down. The rapid decline in the cost is due in large part to the dramatic reduction in the cost of photovoltaic (PV) cells. PV modules have fallen in price by 99 percent over the past 40 years and this decline in cost shows no sign of slowing down. This drop in price is thanks to major advancements in solar technologies.
PV cells have become much more efficient at converting sunlight to electricity and improved production processes have greatly cut the number of defective cells produced, improving yields and reducing production waste. This results in more affordable and more energy-productive solar modules. With panels being more efficient and durable than ever, fewer panels are needed to power homes and businesses. Pair this with more efficient components that are available, like inverters and battery storage systems, and this will bring even more savings.
Electricity demand is down now because of the pandemic, but the IEA expects that people’s appetite for electricity could rebound quickly once the pandemic is under control and the economy recovers. It also anticipates a future where solar power continues to grow at record-setting speeds to meet increasing consumer demands.
Installing solar panels on your home is a great way to stay prepared for the future. Since solar power is a free source of energy, once you've installed PV panels on your business or home, maintenance is minimal and returns are high. Not to mention, Green Solar Technologies and our partners offer some of the best warranties in the business. We'll be there with our customers from the very beginning through the entire lifetime of their system.
So why wait to reap the rewards of affordable, efficient, clean solar power? Schedule your virtual appointment with an energy advisor today. Click here to get started!