No pun intended, but it looks like solar power has a very bright future. Could there actually be a day when a home is completely powered by solar energy, without the need to also be connected to their local electric grid?
Today, there are very high expectations for the solar energy industry. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory notes that rooftop solar panels could potentially generate up to 40 percent of the electricity in the U.S. with the coming decade. Solar power — energy from the sun that gets converted into thermal or electrical energy – also benefits from being the cleanest and most abundant renewable energy source available.
We also know that solar technologies can harness this energy for plenty of different uses. That includes generating electricity, providing light, and heating water for domestic, commercial/industrial use.
In recent years, the U.S. solar market has grown rapidly as the industry invested in innovative technological improvement designed to reduce manufacturing and installation costs.
And not surprisingly, the states that have the ideal weather for solar energy – including California and Florida, which has that crucial ingredient, plenty of sunshine – are experiencing the fastest growth in solar power.
Those trends are likely to continue.
Why Is Solar Energy Increasingly Popular?
Solar power is now recognized as a great renewable energy resource that helps reduce the demand for non-renewable energy. And it helps prevent the depletion of those energy resources, while boosting our environment by reducing the amount of emissions from buildings.
And solar energy has been particularly appealing in states that get an abundance of the sun’s rays.
The solar energy industry keeps expanding in Florida. In 2016, Florida voters rejected a ballot referendum supported by the utility industry that critics said would have limited rooftop solar expansion.
Several months earlier, Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment to provide property tax breaks for people who install solar panels on their homes, with 73 percent of Floridians supporting it. The amendment also eliminated Florida’s “tangible personal property tax,” which taxed solar equipment installed on properties, making the leasing of solar systems far more profitable in Florida.
And, with abundant sunshine, solar arrays are getting cheaper, and there are major price declines projected for the next few years.
So if you live in Florida, should you consider an investment in solar energy?
One thing to keep in mind is that Florida has a lot of sunshine, so solar panels installed on your home can produce plenty of energy. The average cost charged for solar energy installation in Florida is the lowest in the nation, at $2.90 per watt for cash purchased systems.
And its reach is expanding in the state. Wells Fargo recently announced it would commit the tax-equity funding of $35 million for a new solar generation facility by Walt Disney World, FL Solar 5.
This solar facility is expected to include half a million solar panels and is expected to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 57,000 tons per year – the same as taking 9,300 automobiles off the roads.
This solar project was developed by the solar energy company Origis Energy USA of Miami, which provides custom clean energy solutions for utility, commercial, and public-sector clients.
FL Solar 5 is expected to be fully operational in December 2018, producing and transmitting low-cost, renewable electricity that will be purchased by the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which covers Lake Buena Vista and Walt Disney World.
Alok Garg, spokesman for the Wells Fargo Independent Power & Infrastructure group, a part of the Wells Fargo Energy Group, issued a statement noting that this project would “help our communities accelerate the transition to a lower carbon economy.”
Florida isn’t alone. The other states with the most solar per capita are California, Nevada, Utah, Hawaii, and Arizona. And solar is expected to become the cheapest source to produce power over the next 15 years, according to a report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
The report predicted the price of solar power will fall because the cost of installing solar panels at large solar farms and on rooftops will drop by 60 percent to an estimated average of around 4 cents per kilowatt hour by 2040. That will make solar power cheaper than coal and natural gas power in a lot of regions of the country.
Is Solar Power Useful Outside States Like Florida?
There are about 2 million homes in America with solar panels, which sounds low in a nation with 90 million single-family homes.
On the other hand, the country is on track to start adding a million new solar-powered systems each year. The Solar Energies Industries Association is predicting that the number of homes with solar would keep ticking upward each year.
Even outside of states like California and Florida, solar is on the way to become a popular, and cost-effective, option to power our homes. California lawmakers even passed a requirement that new homes include solar panels, which could help make solar as widespread as air conditioning in that state in coming years.
And solar companies are starting to expand beyond California and Florida, into the Midwest, New England, and other colder climate regions.
Most homes with solar panels remain connected to their region’s traditional electric grid, which is helpful during winter days up north when skies get cloudy. Solar panels usually work by producing more energy than is needed, which gets exported to the grid, so when they produce less, a home’s energy supply can be taken from the grid.
However, solar companies say it’s increasingly becoming possible to be 100 percent off the grid. The key to that is energy storage, because it’s always important to have a backup source.
There are different ways to store energy, and one of the most helpful for the home has been lithium-ion batteries, an excellent source for power storage.
These batteries are capable of being plugged into a solar panel system and the lithium ion battery can be used to store up energy during sunny days, then kick in when the clouds pass overhead.
The availability of lithium ion batteries has made solar-plus-storage an appealing option to a growing number of homeowners. Think of your storage capacity as the total amount of electricity that a solar battery can store, measured in kilowatt-hours. Most home solar batteries are “stackable,” meaning you can apply multiple batteries onto your solar system to get extra capacity.
Lithium ion solar batteries are the perfect match for your solar energy storage needs. If you’re installing a new solar system, lithium ion batteries allow you to do energy storage from day one.
And using lithium ion batteries with your solar panels is also a great way to “go green,” since these batteries are non-toxic and easily installed.
Solar Energy is a flexible energy technology, and it’s an industry that’s continued to grow at an impressive rate nationwide. The solar energy train isn’t slowing down anything soon. Solar market analysts say prices are dropping even faster than expected, making it an appealing option for cost-conscious consumers.
And the future looks especially promising for those who want to use solar power and get off their local electric grid, because lithium ion batteries give them the ability to store power that works with your solar panel when the days get cloudy.
If you’re interested in investing in solar power, a good place to start would be to have Lithium Ion batteries to use along with your solar panels.
The bottom line is that lithium ion batteries are an indispensable energy storage system.
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