As the world continues to focus on reducing carbon emissions and finding sustainable energy sources, solar power has emerged as a leading solution. The increasing affordability and efficiency of solar technology has made it a viable option for individuals, businesses and governments alike.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), solar power is the fastest-growing source of renewable energy, with the global capacity for solar energy expected to triple by 2027 (1). In 2021, solar accounted for 46% of the new electric capacity that was added to the U.S. power grid. That’s the largest share in history, and solar has done this every year for the last nine years (2).
This growth is driven by falling costs, government incentives and a growing awareness of the need to transition to clean energy. Let’s take a closer look into the growth of solar energy and what that could mean for a not-so-distant future.
The future of solar energy looks bright
Solar energy is rapidly expanding as a viable source of renewable energy worldwide. The falling costs of solar technology and the increasing awareness of the need to reduce dependence on fossil fuels make it an attractive option. Governments and private companies are investing heavily in the development of solar energy systems, from large-scale solar farms to small-scale rooftop systems.
Here are a few of the major forces driving this solar explosion:
- Job creation
- Consumer cost
- Equity and accessibility
- Environmental impact
- Reliability and grid integration
The installation and maintenance of solar panels and other solar energy systems require a skilled workforce. As the demand for solar power increases, the need for workers in the solar industry grows. The solar industry already employs around 230,000 people in the U.S. With the level of growth envisioned in the Solar Futures Study, it could add another 500,000 to 1.5 million people to the workforce by 2035 (3).
These job opportunities range from solar panel installation and sales to engineering and project management. Moreover, the growth of the solar industry also means the possibility of indirect job opportunities in other sectors, such as manufacturing and transportation.
At ADT Solar, we employ over 2400 people and with the expansion of the solar field underway, we expect great things in the future.
Cost is probably one of the largest driving factors for solar energy’s future. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, “The cost to install solar has dropped by more than 60% over the last decade” (2). This estimation refers to the cost of installing a residential solar system as well as the cost-per-megawatt-hour for solar energy generation in comparison to traditional electrical generation.
It’s also important to consider that by avoiding climate damage and improving air quality, it’s possible to sidestep about $1.7 trillion of additional costs in the future (3).
Equity and accessibility
Solar energy can have a positive impact on equity by providing more access to clean and reliable energy. The impact is targeted towards communities around the world that have traditionally been underserved or marginalized by fossil fuel-based energy systems. Growth of state-funded community solar programs and creative strategizing can increase solar access for all (4).
There are so many benefits to solar energy and it’s possible for organizations and homeowners on all economic levels to reap those benefits. However, policies and regulations must be put in place to ensure that solar energy is accessible and affordable for all communities, and not just those with the resources to invest in solar systems.
Solar energy has the potential to decrease our dependence on fossil fuels and lessen the impact of climate change. One word: decarbonization. Decarbonization plays an important role in understanding how useful solar energy could be for the environment. It’s the significant reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.
Through expansion, solar energy could power about 30% of all buildings, 14% of transportation and 8% of industrial uses by 2050 (3). Large-scale solar power projects can provide a reliable source of clean energy and help to meet sustainability goals. And with technological innovation, we can beat that!
Reliability and grid integration
We’d love to say that solar power is going to take over the world. But the reality is, our society still relies heavily on the power grid to generate and distribute electricity. However, it is possible to increase the sustainability of the power grid by incorporating more clean energy power sources.
By 2035, solar could be instrumental in the decarbonization of the U.S. electric grid — without increasing projected 2035 electricity prices (3). This is a huge development for clean energy! An estimated 95% decarbonization (without a hike in electricity prices for consumers) could be achieved through savings from technological improvements and enhanced demand flexibility. Demand flexibility means using your electricity during times when solar energy can be generated. At night, enhanced solar energy storage like a battery backup system can also relieve some of the reliance on the power grid.
Step into the future with ADT Solar
As the demand for solar power continues to rise, it’s clear that it’ll play a vital role in meeting our energy needs in the future. ADT Solar is committed to providing you with the latest in solar technology, to help you transition to clean energy in an affordable and sustainable way. Contact us today to learn more about how solar power can benefit you!