There are some pretty exciting things happening in the solar energy world. We all know how much solar energy can save on using up our planet’s valuable natural resources. We know that solar energy is an amazing form of renewable energy. But we also know that solar energy, at least in the past, has been fairly expensive.
But that’s the exciting part. There are many recent innovations that are helping to make solar power a much, much more affordable option than is has been in the past. In fact, it is estimated that within the next 5 years solar power will cost less than any other available energy source.
So why is the cost of solar being able to drop so much? What are these innovations that are helping to make solar so much more of an affordable option?
Here are 3 things that are making solar energy more affordable:
1. Group Purchasing
One of the main things that are making solar power so much more affordable is the concept of group purchasing. There are different programs in different areas of the country that allow homeowners in a given area to essentially group together and get a group discount on their solar power, installation, and equipment. These group purchasing programs have been able to cut the costs of solar power down about 50% of what it would cost if the homeowners would have each purchased the solar power individually. These group purchasing programs are predicting that this method will make solar power cheaper than traditional “grid” power by 2015. And in fact, in some areas that have “time-of-use” power pricing, the group solar power is already less expensive than grid power.
2. Tool Free Installation
Tool-free installed panels are also helping to lower costs on solar power. At this point, it’s not necessarily the cost of the actual equipment itself that makes solar power expensive. For the most part, it’s the installation costs that drive up the costs of receiving solar power for your home. But with the introduction of panels that are much easier to install, this is cutting down the needed installation time significantly. Some of these easier-installed panels have been said to be able to cut down the time it takes to install the panel system by more than 50%. By taking half the time to install the panels, that mean that the labor part of a solar panel installation could be cut in half, which of course could save the homeowner quite a bit of money.
Robotic installation is another innovation that is helping to cut solar costs down. As we discussed above, installation and especially labor costs are a big part of the cost of making a solar power system a reality for a homeowner. The costs of actual solar panels have dropped significantly over the past few years. But with those less expensive panels, the costs of installation haven’t necessarily gone down at the same time. So of course, as explained above, there have been innovations made to the panels themselves to help them become easier to install. But on top of that, inventors have been looking for other ways to cut down the time, and thus the cost, that it takes to install solar panels. One of the inventions that has come along is robots that can be used to install the panels. These solar panel installing (and cleaning) robots are said to be able to cut down the time it takes to install a solar panel system by about 8 times. They also cut down the amount of workers it takes to install a solar panel system.
These robots are currently too expensive for most installers who serve homeowners. Right now these robots are being used for much larger scale installation projects. But the hope is that as there are more innovations made with these robots, that eventually they will become affordable enough for more installers to purchase. If installers that install solar panels for homes are able to utilize these robots for their installation projects, that will cut down the installation time (and the cost to the homeowner) drastically.
This article was contributed by Nicole. She writes about the solar industry, including solar power in Brisbane.