Photovoltaic cells—those black squares, in an array of which comprises a solar panel—are getting more efficient, and gradually less expensive, all the time. Thanks to ever-better designs with all of them focused to gathered sunlight on a more and more concentrated point.
The size of the cells are decreasing as their efficiency rises, meaning that each cell becomes cheaper to produce and more productive. The cost of renewable energy is falling so fast that it should be a consistently cheaper source of electricity generation than traditional fossil fuels within just a few years, according to a report (2018) from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
The organisation – which has more than 150 member countries – says the cost of generating power from onshore wind has fallen by around 23% since 2010 while the cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity has fallen by 73% in that time. With further price falls expected for these and other green energy options, IRENA says all renewable energy technologies should be competitive on price with fossil fuels by 2020.
Globally, onshore wind schemes are now costing an average of $0.06 per kilowatt hour (kWh), although some schemes are coming in at $0.04 per KwH, while the cost of solar PV is down to $0.10 per KwH. In comparison, the cost of electricity generation based on fossil fuels typically falls in a range of $0.05 to $0.17 per KwH.
Solar powered electricity generation is certainly good for the environment, as this alternative form of producing energy gives off absolutely zero emissions into the atmosphere and is merely utilizing one of the most naturally occurring of all things as its driver.
Solar collection cells are becoming slowly but surely ever more practical for placing upon the rooftops of people’s homes, and they are an easy system to use for heating one’s home, creating hot water, or producing electricity.
Where photovoltaic cells are used for hot water generation, the system works by having the water encased in the cells, where it is heated and then sent through your pipes. The only problem with being these only work with daylight while the newer more efficient Thermodynamic Panels produce hot water 24 hrs a day never mind the weather.
Photovoltaic cells are becoming increasingly better at collecting sufficient radiation from the sun even on overcast or stormy days. One company in particular, Uni-Solar, has developed solar collection arrays for the home that work well on inclement days, by way of a technologically more advanced system that stores more energy at one time during sunlit days than previous or other arrays.
There is actually another solar power system available for use called the PV System. The PV System is connected to the nearest electrical grid; whenever there is an excess of solar energy being collected at a particular home, it is transferred to the grid for shared use and as a means of lowering the grid’s dependence on the hydroelectrically-driven electricity production.
Being connected to the PV System can keep your costs down as compared to full-fledged solar energy, while at once reducing pollution and taking pressure off the grid system. Some areas are designing centralized solar collection arrays for small towns or suburban communities.
Some big-name corporations have made it clear that they are also getting into the act of using solar power (a further indication that solar generated energy is becoming an economically viable alternative energy source). In fact Google uses solar power and wind generation to power all their offices and data centres for electricity use.
Nations such as Japan, Germany, the United States, UK and Switzerland have been furthering the cause of solar energy production by providing government subsidies or by giving tax breaks to companies and individuals who agree to utilize solar power for generating their heat or electrical power.
As technology advances and a greater storage of solar collection materials is made available, more and more private investors will see the value of investing in this “green” technology and further its implementation much more.