The impact of residential solar power.
With the pressure placed on commerce, especially the pollution output of large industrial plants, the focus on the impact of residential carbon emissions has maybe been missed. Individuals are ever more concerned with their own personal contribution, no matter how small a difference their preventative actions might make overall. There is no question that the cost of solar power is coming down. Electric cars have zero carbon emissions. How many houses can go the same way?
The sight of solar panels on house roofs are on the increase, after a spurt in demand earlier this year, but will this lead to a boom? The demand factors determining the sustainability of this market are reliant on the realization of the perceived benefits, such as reduced costs, next to no carbon emissions, and an uninterrupted energy supply. Solar panel efficiency is projected to enjoy much greater success, with over an eight percent increase, in terms of the proportion of energy converted into electricity, seen to be achievable in the not too distant future. This is almost as large an increase as has been managed in the last sixty years, due to improved quality, positioning and tracking features of the mounts. The size of these has been reduced too, although the aesthetics of them – blending into rooftops – renders them less of an eyesore than in the past. Solar panels can even be used to run an electric car to completely fulfil the ideal of complete personal solar dependency.
Solar opportunities are not just limited to individual homes. Powering schools, hospitals, or even whole shopping malls would bring enormous benefits. In remote areas, where people would suffer from their isolation during times of traditional power shortages, an ability to draw on solar power would be hugely reassuring. In all areas, solar power could be used as an emergency backup alternative.
Should this increase in residential solar demand continue, then meeting it will depend on supply factors such as adequate investment in solar technology. Competing against this is the significant profit opportunity to be had by investing in fracking, the hydraulic fracturing of rocks to gain access to previously thought untappable reserves of gas. The conjecture that the fracking of shale beds releases toxic chemicals, however, ought to strengthen the will of those looking to use energy, and invest in energy, more ethically. According to money.co.uk, ethical investment trusts ‘often invest in positive companies such as pro-environmental businesses’, a large portion of which will be in the solar technology sector. It is vitally important that these solar businesses are run well and can demonstrate sustainable returns on investments in line with the sustainable energy solution that they create. Those managing ethical funds will nevertheless have a duty to ensure fund growth, so if these solar businesses start to falter and fund values drop, investment and residential expansion will dry up. Fortunately, recent activity suggests that the desire to put money into solar development is strong, indicating a confidence in the industry and the management of it.
A Hybrid Energy Solution
For those running solar businesses, the primary goal should be to deliver to those who purchase home solar installations a completely reliable energy source. Despite the environmental benefits, however, it may seem to many too risky to give up a perfectly effective energy supply for something they might not fully understand or trust. There is a common misconception that you are no longer able to draw from the grid, but of course, this will still be possible if there is a solar energy shortfall. Another answer to this, while remaining environmentally-friendly, is a hybrid solution, relying mostly on the sun in the summer and the wind in the winter. This will help ensure that you are not left without power at a time, especially from a heating point of view, when you most need it. for example, during cloudy but windless conditions. Federal incentives such as renewable tax credits are there to entice more and more people to take up the challenge of converting their homes, and further financial reward would be available if you generate a surplus of electricity and are able to sell this back to the utility company. So not only can domestic costs be shaved off, but solar power brings about a cash-making opportunity too!