Key Factors behind New Era of Solar Power

photo of a solar panel with sunlight reflection

Solar cells, or photovoltaic (PV) cells are renewable sources of energy that convert sunlight directly into electricity. The growth of the solar energy industry opens up business opportunities that focus on clean energy. Current market trends and predictions indicate that solar cell growth will exceed both fossil fuels and that of other renewable resources.

Growth of Solar Energy

The latest renewable market analyses and forecasts signify the birth of a new era in solar energy.

A report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) found that solar cell capacity grew faster than other kinds of fuel in 2016. This marks the first time that solar cell growth exceeded that of other fuels like coal. Because of the strong solar energy market, overall renewables account for 2/3 of the net power capacity around the world.

It is projected that by 2022, renewable electricity capacity is to increase by 43% and solar cell capacity growth will be the highest of all types of renewable technology.

Key Drivers for Solar Market

In early 2018, the US used more solar power than any other type of electricity. The US remains the second-largest growth market for renewable resources despite existing policy uncertainties.

Drivers for the solar industry include multi-year federal tax incentives, renewable portfolio standards, and state-level policies for distributed solar cells.

Solar Energy as a Renewable Source

Solar energy is a renewable resource. Efforts to harness this energy have minimal impact on the environment and solar energy never runs the risk of being exhausted. Fossil fuel energy, on the other hand, is a polluting, non-renewable resource. Its rate of use is far greater than its rate of formation. In the long run, as fossils fuels become harder to obtain, costs will increase significantly.

With decreasing solar cell costs and continuing innovations in solar technology, the benefits of solar energy use greatly outweigh the costs of fossil fuel. A broader global shift is evidenced as the investment in renewable energy for electricity is overtaking that of fossil fuels.