The Revolution In Solar Energy
The steady increase in the level of energy prices the last few decades has ignited the search for cheap and reliable sources for home and business owners. There is no better approach to this than renewable or “green” power system as most people would like to call it. Solar panels are the most popular and according to a recent report by MIT, stakeholders are pushing for a massive global expansion of solar power to limit the harsh climate impact of fossil fuels, which is necessary by 2050. Greenhouse gas emissions are dangerous to both “man” and the environment; this is enough reason why it is important that clean energy be utilized to avoid the worse from happening. To reach the required capacity for efficient and abundant solar power, the U.S. will have to increase the current solar power generation of 20gigawatts up to 400 gigawatts, which according to the deputy director MIT Energy Initiative, Robert Stoner, will be enough to sustain eighty million homes. Unless the solar industry is supported fully through funding and incentives, the goal of increasing the generation capacity may be unfeasible. The industry currently ensures that these incentives are in place, for example; scrapping off the standards for utilities when it comes to renewable power generation by shifting the renewable portfolio standards, including the act of directly subsidizing solar energy generation instead of tax credits. These renewable portfolio standards comprise the requirements to be imposed on states mandating that a certain % of their energy come from renewables. “The Future Of Solar Energy” further states that there is need for new solar energy storage technology, as well as smart power-grid management and latest designs in solar panels; as discussions for new funding options are ongoing. There is no doubt about the current boom in solar energy. Statistics show that the cost of installation has gone down, and is expected to fall further in future as people continue to embrace the solar option. Since 2010, photovoltaic installation cost has decreased by almost 55%, and employment in the industry rose by 22% in 2014 with U.S. solar projects rising to 140% the previous year. However, the current fear in the solar industry lies with the Congress waiting to see if it will renew the Solar Investment Tax Credit (a federal solar subsidy) due to expire in 2016. For solar energy to be sufficient in the U.S, state support for the course is essential. Tax credits motivate different stakeholders in the solar industry which will enable them add capacity from the initial power generation. Comparing residential rooftop solar to a utility scale power plant, residential rooftop is about 80% greater in cost-per-watt than the utility-scale; this is according to the MIT report. Apart from downplaying the cost of effectiveness of the rooftop solar, this report recommends Solar City for most states because they help homeowners operate the panels. Solar power needs Washington’s help to make it a success; this is according to the report, but the solar industry has come forward to disagree with the tactics suggested by this study. Ken Johnson, Vice President of Solar Energy Industry Association is on record having said that the study provides incomplete and flawed picture of solar economics; especially when dealing with tax credits and residential rooftop solar, which have today proven that the two are critical incentives building almost every solar installations in many parts of the United States.