Clean Energy at Low Cost
The cost of solar panels has been a barrier to widespread adoption. In recent years, however, the cost of solar panels has been steadily declining, raising the question of when solar panels will be cheaper to use than traditional electricity.
The Cost of Solar Panels
In 2010, the average cost of a solar panel was around $4 per watt.
By 2020, the average cost had dropped to just $0.20 per watt, a 95% decrease in just ten years.
In 2030, the average cost per watt will likely be around $0.01, making solar panels a ridiculously inexpensive way to generate electricity.
The Cost of Traditional Electricity
While the cost of solar panels has been decreasing, the cost of traditional electricity has been increasing.
The price of electricity varies depending on where you live, but in many areas, it has been increasing at a rate faster than inflation.
This means that the cost of traditional electricity is becoming more expensive relative to other goods and services. My electricity bill for my condo continues to go up every year. Eventually, my condo complex is going to want to buy solar panels for electricity because the economics will make sense.
The Cost of Solar vs. Traditional Electricity
In fact, in some areas, the cost of solar power is now less than half the cost of traditional electricity. This is particularly true in regions with high levels of solar irradiance, such as the Middle East, North Africa, and parts of South Asia.
The Benefits of Solar Power
In addition to being cheaper, solar power offers a range of benefits over traditional electricity. Solar power is a renewable energy source, which means that it will never run out. It also produces no emissions, which makes it a clean source of energy.
Solar power can be generated on-site, which means that it can be used to power homes and businesses that are located off the grid. Finally, solar power can help to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, which can help to mitigate climate change.
The Challenges of Solar Power
Despite its many benefits, solar power still faces a number of challenges.
One of the biggest challenges is that solar power is intermittent, meaning that it only generates electricity when the sun is shining. It is diminished on cloudy days and at night. It also diminishes when snow gets on the solar panels. This can be remedied by having heat options available to melt the snow.
This can make it difficult to rely on solar power as a sole source of energy. Another challenge is that solar panels require a large amount of space, which can be difficult to find in densely populated areas.
The cost of solar panels has been steadily declining, and in many areas, it is now cheaper to generate electricity using solar panels than it is to purchase electricity from the grid. Solar power offers a range of benefits over traditional electricity, including its renewable nature, lack of emissions, and potential to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
However, solar power still faces a number of challenges, including intermittency and space requirements. Despite these challenges, the future looks bright for solar power, and it is likely that we will see continued growth in the use of solar panels in the years to come.
Combine solar energy with battery storage, and you basically have the future of energy on earth. Cost reduction for both continue to happen and in 10 years, it will be as cheap and abundant as anything available.
What do you think about solar energy? Is it going to be the cheapest energy available in the future?
Online writer since 2008. I enjoy writing and have written nearly a thousand tech related articles about electric vehicles, software, tech companies, hardware, gaming, tech related products, and company developments in tech.