After decades of debate and development, the solar industry is finally ready. Solar power projects around the world don’t need subsidies to beat fossil fuels on price: the future looks even brighter.
But there are still many people who don’t know about solar power, and perhaps these 5 things might surprise you.
1. Solar energy is the most abundant energy source on earth
There is enough solar energy hitting the earth every hour to meet all of mankind’s energy needs for the entire year.
If we could capture one hour of solar energy per year, every ounce of oil, every lump of coal and every cubic foot of natural gas could remain in the ground. That’s the potential of solar energy.
2. Solar is cheaper than fossil fuels
According to Lazard’s Average Cost of Energy Analysis Version 11.0, solar energy costs just 4.3 cents per kWh without subsidies, cheaper than almost every option for new fossil-fueled power plants. The cheapest fossil fuel option is natural gas, which costs 4.2 to 7.8 cents per kWh.
Depending on your location, it’s possible that solar is already cheaper than coal, diesel, nuclear and most natural gas. If the cost reduction model is a sign, it won’t be long before solar beats all forms of fossil fuels.
3. There may be solar power near you
Large solar power plants in built-in remote desert areas may get a lot of attention. These distributed plants, however, may be holding us back from recognizing solar energy. From home rooftops to panels deployed at large local retailers, solar energy is developing all over the place.
It may surprise you to know that according to the Solar Energy Industries Association’s latest business report, Target is the largest solar buyer with 147.5 MW of generating capacity, followed by Wal-Mart with 145.0 MW. Another notable corporate buyer is Apple with 93.9 MW of solar power in the U.S., enough to fully power 39 million iPhones annually. It has long been Apple’s goal to not only power renewable energy operations, but to purchase enough renewable energy to power the devices it produces.
4. Utilities offer solar options for people
If you personally want to go solar, a rooftop system may be the way to go. But even if you don’t have a home suitable for solar panels, you can still get 100 per cent of your electricity from solar power in a growing number of places. Community solar programs are emerging across the board, allowing the average consumer to become a power purchase agreement customer for solar projects. Utilities, across the country, are giving consumers the choice of wind or solar.
5. Solar is the fastest energy source to deploy
When disaster strikes, no other energy generation plant can be built or repaired as quickly as a solar plant. As the 2017 Puerto Rico hurricane showed, companies like Tesla were able to build small solar power plants with energy storage on the island in a matter of weeks. There are no fossil fuel power plants, nor any other renewable energy facilities, that could be brought there so quickly.
Profits have allowed solar to boom around the world, and the trend shows no signs of slowing down. Investors throughout the energy sector should take note. PBOX is a leader in solar street lighting and has been developing cost-effective products. Inquiries welcome!
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