Back in 2010, detractors were renouncing the ‘evil’ that was renewable energy. Europe, in particular, experienced a rocky start when it came to the use of the same. This is surprising given that the continent is now one of the select places where clean sources of power are thriving. This is evident in how a major UK publication had something to say about Germany and the nation’s failure to integrate photovoltaic (PV) systems quickly. It all seemed too negative, and if the wheel took centuries to be perfect, it will take time before solar panels become optimally efficient, even with the technology now.
Fast forward six years, and authorities and journalists alike agree that renewables will be the future of electricity. Now, from America to India, Canopy Energy says governments go great lengths to encourage their citizens to procure solar panels and other forms of renewable energy and drive down the cost of their electricity.
Solar Power in America
The United States, everyday citizens and political personalities alike believe that what worked before will still work now. It’s this reason why many were persistent that fossil fuel will keep the capitalist, democratic engine running. In all honesty, quitting fossil fuels would be foolish, no matter how dirty environmentalists think it is. It still keeps most cars running, and many infrastructures are purpose-built for oil.
Nonetheless, solar power will have a record year this 2016. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) says it will produce 9.5 gigawatts of electricity, much more than other renewable sources. This output, however, is only a measure of what plants and other big PV systems can produce. The inclusion of private solar panels will add a further 4 gigawatts, and considering that the US government signed a new tax credit program for renewable installations, there’s reason to believe that it will grow even further than expected.
The country is still reliant on “extracted” power sources, as seen in a chart in the EIA study. Nonetheless, the sporadic appearance of renewable energy is just the start. Soon, solar power will truly take off once Florida and Texas do it right. Net metering is an obstacle, but is it really such a big problem for entire states to lag in renewable development?
It Will Only Get Better
Think of solar panels as cellular phones. Back in its early years, people had to backpack the entire thing just to make it work. The handsets, more than anything, were just too big to use. Now, the technology is at the point that everything is so small but extremely powerful. The flagship mobile handsets from Apple and Samsung are much more capable than the computers that powered spaceships, and still, it can get better.
The same goes for PV systems, though it will eventually be more important than any other developments in the mobile industry. Now, everyone has to settle with heavy panels and professional installation to use them. It’s nice to see them from a future perspective, where it will be affordable for everyone, but paying the price now is well worth it.
Nonetheless, scientists and researchers are finding new ways and using a variety of materials to make panels more efficient and usable virtually everywhere. It can’t come sooner, but it’s only a matter of time before someone makes a major breakthrough.
It’s easy to see solar power in the light of cheaper electricity. After all, that is its immediate use. Fundamentally, however, it aims to complete a much bigger mission: to save the world from relying on fossil fuels and traditional electricity grid. There has not been a consistent pursuit of higher efficiency in these industries, unlike in renewable energy, and supplies will run out one day.
As for the sun, wind and water, they will remain constant for billions of years, if not forever.