It has been estimated that by 2016 the amount of energy produced by solar panels installed on roofs will be ten times greater than 2009 levels. With the cost of solar panels decreasing, new technology making them more efficient and the growth in popularity of feed-in tariff schemes with governments around the world, solar energy is set to explode.
The UK’s feed-in tariff program came into effect in April, and since then there has been a major increase in the number of photovoltaic (PV) panels installed on roofs across the country. The scheme actually makes it profitable to own solar panels, beyond the savings which you accrue on your energy bills. The advances in technology which have been taking place, reported extensively on this blog, are set to make PV cells more efficient, longer lasting and more powerful. And as with every advanced technology, it starts off expensive and becomes progressively cheaper.
All of this has added up to the prediction that the output from solar panels installed on roofs will increase from a mere 215 MW (megawatts) worldwide in 2009 to nearly 2.5 GW (gigawatts) in 2016. This of course will not be nearly enough energy to power the entire world, but it is heading in the right direction.
According to the research, carried out by Pike Research, this will make it a $4 billion growth industry. Another reason for this growth they cite the fact that solar panels are becoming more aesthetically appealing. Crystalline-silicon solar modules are designed so that they will blend in with the rooftops, facades and atria. On top of the financial benefits and the external attractiveness, of course there is also the desire of people to be “green.”
We are all beginning to realise that the energy consumption practices which we have been using for so long, dependent on fossil fuels, cannot continue forever. In fact, it cannot go on for very much longer at all. Non-renewable fuel costs will continue to rise, while renewable energy prices fall, making them not only better for the environment but also financially viable as well.
For this to come into full force then governments will have to continue to invest heavily in renewable energy schemes. In the UK there has been a question of whether this will continue to happen as the government has hinted that it may be looking to make cuts in this area. At the moment however, it is an excellent time to get involved in solar energy. The feed-in tariffs are in place and guaranteed to be in effect for 25 years after you make the installation. This is more than enough time to begin making money from the scheme.
Whether the predictions for 2016 will be prove to be accurate we will have to wait and see of course, but as of now, 2010 going into 2011, they look to be an excellent investment.