North Hollywood, CA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 11/29/2018 --There has never been a better time than the present to go solar. The cost of solar power has plummeted over the past four decades, with the greatest cost reductions occurring in just the last few years.
The rapid decline in the cost of solar power is due in large part to the dramatic reduction in the cost of photovoltaic (PV) cells. PV modules have fallen in price by 99 percent over the past 40 years and decline in cost shows no sign of slowing down.
According to a study at MIT, the drastic decrease in PV prices are partially due to government policies that help to grow markets—in fact, as stated in the study, "Market-stimulating policies have played a central role in driving down the costs of PV modules, with private R&D, economies of scale, and learning-by-doing together contributing an estimated 60% of the cost decline in PV modules between 1980 and 2012."
The study also shows that the advancements in the technology itself (due to both public and private R&D) led to a considerable decrease in costs (specifically, the remaining 40% of the decline). The study states that R&D "was a key driver of module cost reduction historically and can be valuable going forward in improving module efficiency and reducing materials use." The study continues, noting that "Improvements to module efficiency in particular would help cut the per-watt cost of all cost components of PV modules (as well as PV systems)."
Advancements in solar technology are essential to cost reduction. "The more efficient the solar energy system, the less it will cost to produce a specific amount of energy," says Jorge Ricalday, Marketing Director at Green Solar Technologies. Ricalday continues, "GST has seen an increased number of installations over the years due to the progress made in the efficiency of solar energy systems and the related decrease in price."
Noted in an article by Ryan Regan published on Solar Tribune, "According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, total solar PV generation from residential sources in the U.S. stood at just under 14 billion kWh in 2017, which is more than 14 times where it was in 2010."
Put simply, PV cells have become much more efficient at converting sunlight to electricity and improved production processes have greatly cut the number of defective cells produced, improving yields and reducing production waste. This results in much cheaper and more energy-productive solar modules. Pair this with more efficient components, like inverters and battery storage systems, and the results and cost savings are truly spectacular.
Homeowners in the U.S. can hit break-even points with solar in as little as three years and see payback periods between five and eight years, with savings estimates upwards of $20,000 in 20 years. Since solar power is a free source of energy, once you've installed PV panels on your business or home, maintenance is minimal and returns are high. So why wait to reap the rewards of cheap, efficient, clean solar power? Solar isn't only the future—solar is here today.