SOLAR ENERGY OVERVIEW
Over the last decade, the solar market in the United States has grown at an average rate of 50% each year. There are more than 2 million individual solar installations in the U.S., ranging from small home rooftop systems to large utility-scale systems that add hundreds of megawatts of clean electricity to the power grid.
As reusable energy generated from the sun, solar energy is popular not only because of its characteristic of being clean and helping to save money but also the ease and variety of ways of utilization. Aside from using photovoltaic to generate electricity, solar energy is commonly used in thermal applications to heat indoor spaces or fluids, for heating buildings or water.
Tracing back to the history of solar energy, the solar industry has experienced rapid growth in recent years. In 2009, less than 20 GW of solar capacity was installed worldwide, while in 2020, that number has skyrocketed above 480 GW—over 24 times larger in just over a decade. Rapid technological advancements have made this possible. In the same time frame, the cost of a fully installed system dropped from $7.14/watt in average in 2010 down to around $2.50/watt in 2020. That means you can go solar today for about one-third of what it would have cost ten years ago. (The exact price always depends on the area you live, the sunlight you get there, the system size you would need and so on – we will be happy to find out for you!)
Recently, solar energy has become more and more efficient, adding up to a considerable portion of its value, and this is a predictably continuous trend. Scientists have reported the development of multi-junction solar cells with an efficiency of more than 40%, a new world record for solar photovoltaic cells. They also predict that concentrator solar cells could achieve efficiencies of more than 45% or even 50% in the future, with theoretical efficiencies being about 58% in cells with more than three junctions. But an own system is also an investment. Is it worth it?