The renewable energy market is expected to grow in the coming years, especially considering how many countries are trying to reach the goals outlined by the Paris Agreement. There’s been and will continue to be a significant transition to renewables, as resources and fossil fuels are limited.
There are many benefits to be reaped by using renewable energy. Whether it’s significant cost reductions or improving the state of the environment, green power will become more prevalent as time progresses.
Here’s how solar panels will be a gamechanger for homeowners and how they’re becoming more accessible than ever before.
The Cost of Solar Panels in the U.S.
Homeowners can take advantage of the latest trend in renewable energy in regions that are well-supplied and offer low-cost solar panels. Additionally, some people can benefit from government incentives and conditional rebates when installing panels on their homes.
According to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the overall cost of solar panels has decreased. Since 2014, the price has dropped almost 70%, a significant decrease that has resulted in panels being more affordable and accessible, especially for those with lower incomes.
However, the true cost of solar panels relies on several key factors, including:
- Government incentives
- Current electric bills
- Average sunlight exposure
These factors play a role in how much someone will pay to have solar panels on their home. The main expense comes during installation. Additionally, some required equipment can add to the price, and some homeowners will consider battery storage depending on their budget. In addition to cleaning panels regularly, inverters and batteries can add to the final cost. It’s always worth contacting local dealers to get more specific estimates about some of the components listed above.
However, adding solar panels can increase a home’s value in certain markets, making the investment more worthwhile. They also help create more jobs in the country, which is an added benefit worth mentioning.
Remaining Challenges for the Solar Panel Market
Solar panels will likely continue on an upward trend, but there are some obstacles the industry must overcome to increase widespread adoption. The Biden administration has an aggressive timeline for solar adoption in the country, but these roadblocks may make it more challenging to stick to the schedule.
Upgrading the Nation’s Electric Grid
The nation’s power grid is aging, as it was not initially built to withstand current demand and renewables. There is an urgent need for policymakers to consider the importance of modernizing the electric grid.
Essentially, the existing power system is reaching the end of its useful life, and unless it’s upgraded with the most advanced technology, solar adoption may take longer.
Limited Transmission Lines
After solar power is captured, it needs to be transmitted efficiently to homes, businesses and other facilities in the surrounding area. There need to be more robust transmission lines to accommodate this level of power, and until they’re upgraded with new tech, it will remain a challenge for the energy industry.
Storing Solar Power
Because the sun is not always shining, the U.S. needs to find more innovative ways to store that energy. Advancements need to be made in battery storage technology to keep it until it is ready to be used.
Supply Chain Issues and Nationwide Shortages of Materials
There’s no question that the global supply chain issues and shortages of building materials are negatively impacting the solar industry. Demand will continue to increase over time, and without critical materials like aluminum, silicon, steel and glass, it could delay solar adoption. These issues may persist and make it more difficult for manufacturers to double or even quadruple production.
Chinese Trade Restrictions
The U.S. is facing a ban on silicon imports, which is an essential component of solar panel production. Chinese trade restrictions will make acquiring the material more challenging for manufacturers, slowing production down in the short term.
There’s no doubt that the solar industry will continue to grow, but it won’t come without its fair share of challenges and obstacles that must be overcome first.
Anticipate Future Widespread Adoption of Solar Panels
The price of solar panels has decreased, and they will likely become more affordable over time. More households will be able to install them and reap the benefits. Homeowners will save on their energy bills, contribute to a healthier environment and maybe even increase the value of their homes.
Evelyn Long is the editor-in-chief of Renovated. Her work focuses on interior and architectural design and has been published by Build Magazine, the National Association of REALTORS and other online publications.