Solar energy is an umbrella term used to refer to the light and heat a star releases. Do you know everything there is about solar energy?
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What makes solar energy great:
1. It’s an insanely huge amount of power
2. And it’s everywhere
3. We’re already using it – indirectly
4. And in some places, we’re doing it right!
5. But we should start harvesting it more
6. People think it’s expensive, but it’s already cheaper than the grid for 30 million Americans
Point #2 I said that solar energy can cost less overall than supplying from centralized plants? Rooftop solar is now cheaper than grid electricity for 30 million people living in 6 cities, ZME Science reported. What’s spectacular too is that solar energy was cheaper even without government subsidies, which means that it is fully competitive with conventional energy. When you also factor in the government subsidies (which may or may not last in the long term), there are 42 cities that have reached solar parity. Early results suggest that nearly 150 million Americans––33% more than a simple parity analysis reveals––will live in a city where a solar investment––without subsidies––pays back over 25 years by 2021.
It’s all the more extraordinary when you remember how expensive solar energy or solar panels, in general, were just a decade ago. Rising efficiency and increased demands have driven cost down tremendously. Solar panels may have been the reserve of the rich and eco-friendly in the past, but not anymore. Actually, if you live in an area with the right amount of sunlight (the US has plenty, for instance), you might actually lose money in the long-run. Moreover, it will only get cheaper. Forecasts say global solar demand will grow by as much as 30% in 2015 over 2014 numbers, reaching 57 GW. Who knows how cheap solar energy will become ten years from now.