Solar power is dominating the renewable energy sector. Aside from the unprecedented outbreak of the global pandemic, the natural threats of a climate crisis also defined 2020. There is an increasing need to decarbonize to mitigate the unfortunate realities we are facing.
People are becoming more conscious about their sustainability habits and environmental footprint. Everything from solar-powered power banks for small gadgets to multiple solar panels for entire homes is becoming prominent. Residents are beginning to demand more options for renewable electricity generation. Not to mention the fact that these alternative sources are also more cost-effective.
The growth of solar energy is expected to continue well into 2021. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), electricity generated through renewable energy will increase to 22% compared to 20% in the previous year.
Solar energy is predicted to account for approximately 39% of all new electricity generation capacity in the US for 2021. This will be the first time solar will outperform wind energy. However, two primary factors might prove to be a challenge for the solar industry.
Supply Chain Disruption
In the previous year, there was a major interruption in the production of polysilicon caused by an explosion and a flood in an overseas factory. Polysilicon is a crucial material for the development of photovoltaic cells.
Due to these incidents, the prices of polysilicon skyrocketed, which rippled through the entire supply chain. Solar panels and modules are experiencing the first quarterly rise since 2015. This could prove to be disastrous for certain developers.
Another issue for the solar industry lies in the current circumstances. The installation and maintenance of solar energy usually require a team of at least two technicians. Current social distancing protocols present a challenge for this particular aspect.
While other measures have begun to ease thanks to the development of a vaccine, social distancing should still be observed. This leads to a reduction in efficiency and a potential increase in costs for the solar industry.
Regardless of the challenges, more people are changing their homes and lifestyles in the name of sustainability. The adoption of electric vehicles (EV) and solar panels, in particular, are the most common shifts that residents are making.
Approximately 738 megawatts of capacity were installed in the residential solar market of the U.S. for the third quarter of 2020. This led resulted to a 14% jump compared to the second quarter of the previous year. If you’re looking to transition into solar energy some time soon, here are the prominent trends you should look out for.
The efficiency of solar panels has drastically increased from 13% to over 20% in the last 20 years. This means that more areas of the roof can now accommodate the technology despite the amount of sunlight they receive.
Investing in a lot more solar panels should be more economical for your demands. An increase in efficiency also entails a step towards the genuine goal of decarbonization. Depending on the structure and energy consumption, solar panels should generate more than enough energy for your consumption.
Skill and Service
As solar energy continues to improve and become mainstream, you should be wary about the skill level required to install your panels and batteries. There are now additional configurations and features that installation teams have to worry about. Traditional roofing and electrical training will only go so far.
Consider choosing the right manufacturer when looking for the perfect system. Getting a 10-year warranty is common when purchasing solar panels and batteries. While this may seem appropriate, your batteries could be short-lived. Go for a company with a proven history of supporting their products.
Charging electric vehicles at home will most likely become common practice as more people shift to these sustainable vehicles. Fortunately, the standard solar energy system can also power a feed connected to an EV charger.
More modern homes are expected to house two batteries for their solar power systems instead of the usual single-battery setup. One of the batteries will be for the EV charger, while the other will remain attached to the wall to power the home.
The transition to decarbonization will also require residents to transition from their usual gas appliances to newer electric ones. Doing this will significantly decrease the greenhouse gas emissions that homes produce.
Coupled with the shift to EVs, a major downside of this transition is that electricity consumption will surely surge. Experts are recommending residents, turning to solar, install oversized systems in preparation for this expected rise. Accomplishing this ahead of time will significantly reduce their utility costs.
There are other important crises to address aside from the global pandemic. While the world begins its slow recovery against the virus, the fight against the climate crisis has only begun. Transitioning to a more sustainable lifestyle might seem like an insignificant change. Sometimes, the smallest actions lead to the biggest differences.
Meta title:Understanding the Solar Industry Post-Pandemic
meta desc: The climate crisis is another unfortunate reality we are forced to face. More people begin to make vital changes to reduce their environmental footprint.