Governments and people across the world are increasing their effort to reduce their dependence on non-renewable energy sources and rely on clean energy sources. Solar energy has presented itself as one of the most efficient alternatives regarding clean energy. Solar power has a wide variety of applications apart from generating electricity with solar cells ranging from solar heaters, cooking, taking salt away from seawater, and in solar battery chargers. Numerous reports project the solar energy market to be in excess of 100-gigawatt by the year 2021. Such predictions are driven by various growth factors and upcoming trends in the solar energy market.
Falling Solar Panels Prices
For years, households and companies have been avoiding the installation of large solar panels due to the exorbitant cost of photovoltaic cells and other equipment. However, as manufacturers gain economies of scale in production alongside technological advancements, the prices for solar panels have been falling rapidly. For instance, the average cost of solar panel installation used to be around US$8.82 per watt, that figure stands at around US$3.36 per watt today. This has urged numerous homeowners to consider the installation of solar panels.
Increase in Solar Panel Efficiency
A substantial amount of energy is lost in the solar panels from the time it absorbs the sun’s rays to the time it converts the current generated by the movement of electrons, from DC to AC. Historically, solar panels have been highly inefficient, converting only about 15% of energy into electricity. With the advancements in technology, manufacturers have been able to create solar panels that are nearly 30% efficient. Suppliers of solar panels are looking at technologies that can drive the efficiency up to 46% using advanced cell structure.
Rising Popularity of Off-Grid Solar Energy Applications
Suppliers in the solar energy market are shifting their focus on the more lucrative off-grid segments due to aggressive forecasts of multi-gigawatt demand in the remote parts of the world. The government in India and China has incorporated various off-grid installations through stand-alone solar energy systems in remote areas.
Innovative Solar Financing Options
To reduce the burden of high solar panels installation costs, solar companies are coming up with innovative options to finance such installations in the solar energy market. Here are some of the financing options for commercial, community, and household solar power installations:
- Shared Savings for Solar: A private company installs a solar or efficiency program in exchange for a portion of the energy cost savings
- Leasing: A contract by providing equipment or capital needed for installation in exchange for periodic payments over time
- On-bill Financing: Companies can avoid up-front costs of the project by repaying the costs in their monthly utility bill
- Other Financing Modes: Tax-equity loans, loan loss reserve funds, and pay it to forward models
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