Updated: Mar 4
In the 70’s when there was as embargo on oil exports resulting in no gasoline, the western world consisting of USA, Japan and western Europe started looking for alternative sources of fuel. That was the last time when there was a need of solar energy and thus solar energy's economic efficiency was talked about. Substitute energies began to pop up here and there with many people jumping on the band wagon. As, gasoline soon returned in plentiful supplies the unconventional energy sources fell beneath the average consumers radar screen again and solar started becoming an option than a necessity. In India the renewable energy sector infact lags much behind then the developed world. Everyone looks as solar energy or rooftop solar plants as optional investment and is heavily dependent on the gas guzzling fossil fuels. Hopefully now in 2020, the decision makers (state and central governments) are seeing petrol prices move higher and found a realisation that global warming will be affecting finances soon. Higher energy tariff rates are compelling the end consumer to look for rooftop solar alternatives for himself. Substitute energy is back in the sentiments of the end consumer and, maybe, this time for good.
How has Solar developed
Rooftop Solar power for the home was a big seller during the energy crisis of the 70’s over the world. Many houses found tri-pods of solar panels on their roofs gathering what power they could. Unfortunately, the solar power cell of the 70’s just wasn’t all that cost-effective and cost quite a bit to put in and maintain. In 1960, Hoffman Electronics created a 14% efficient solar cell.As fossil fuel returned to the marketplace there was diminutive need for solar cells in a time of flagrant consumption. But the idea of solar energy was a good one and many trailblazers understood that it was a good idea that had yet to find its time. Inefficiency and higher cost of the sun powered systems made governments switch back to the old sources of energy. But, solar panels never went away; they just slid back into the laboratory to await solar panel 2.0. To come back more efficient, more economic, more eco-friendly.
Solar is back and ready
Today’s solar panel is not your father’s solar panel. Depending upon which type of energy you care to generate, electricity or hot water, today’s solar panel has come a very long way in the form of photovoltaic’s and will go further still. These cells, when combined into panel form, turn the suns rays (so-to-speak) right into power ready for use. They have also become exceedingly efficient, more environmentally sound and less expensive. Today’s solar panel will sit almost anywhere and is quickly finding itself being turned into a panel the thickness of a nano particle. Solar power technology is running at extremely fast pace and driving costs down to an affordable level. The efficiency of the panels have grown to 18-19% now, providing more savings and less payback time !
Who’s using the panels?
As mentioned, it takes a change in the purse strings to see a marked change in a consumer’s behavior. With a technology and paradigm shift on the order of solar panels it requires a solid leap forward in panel efficiency, costs of panels , associated elements and an increase in existing costs of fuel. When these factors reach critical mass solar panels start to show up, not at the consumer level, but at the corporate and industrial level. This is simply because business moves its money where the costs-over time-are less. This is just good business. Solar panels are now, as in this past two years, become more cost effective for industry to use then to not use them over time.
Why solar panels now?
Solar panels are now being used primarily because fuel costs are just too high to ignore in favor of a new technology that is worth checking out. Companies have available empty roof space and the choice of trying something on a larger scale to see if it works versus continuing to pay higher fuel bills and environmental costs. The whole concept is extremely self serving. There is a lot of environmental consideration involved. If the company doesn’t use solar panels they have to pay higher tariff rates for their electricity needs. Many governments over the world charge these high energy consumers higher tariffs and taxes in a way to penalise them for polluting the environment. Thus, they try out the solar panels and see if they work now. If they do, the company can; commit to a full solar panel program with even more efficient solar panels, significantly reduce the energy costs and contribute to a cleaner and greener environment along the way. It’s just good business. The solar industry is rolling, solar panel costs are dropping like a stone and the consumer are jumping on board because…it’s just good business.
The only limitation to this green energy source is the fact that it can only generate power at it’s peak when the weather is good and the sun is out. Should it rain, then though the plant works at weak efficiency it’s nearly negligible. When this happens, the auxiliary system is turned on until the weather improves which most probably used fossil fuels. It’s no wonder that scientists and students themselves have made solar powered cars. NASA or the National Aeronautical Space Administration has sent satellites into space that are powered by solar panels. A fully functional airport can function on its own thanks to this amazing solar power even if it is situated in the middle of the frozen desert. Solar energy has really provided mankind with an edge of a kind where in we can have economic energy which is getting cheaper by time available almost everywhere on our planet.
You can learn more about the efficiency of diffrent manufacturers of Solar Modules on Lightning Solar site. (Link here)