While solar panel systems have been a staple of alternative energy for decades, the industry has experienced impressive strides in 2014 that indicate solar energy will gain increased prominence and influence as a mainstream source of energy. In fact, according to some experts, as a result of this growth the United States is now approximately only six years away from its capacity to meet one hundred percent of our energy needs through the use of solar panels.
At SunFirst!, a San Francisco solar energy company servicing the Bay Area, we’ve recapped solar energy’s gains for 2014 thus far, and note why we think it’s time we all stood behind this booming industry.
In 2014, solar energy demand and usage continues to grow at unprecedented levels. An early September report out of San Francisco from Market Watch stated that solar energy across the country is up 21 percent from measurements made at this time last year, due to a significant increase in installations. By year’s end, developers will install 6.5 gigawatts of solar panels, which is 36 percent more than last year and an impressive three times higher than what was seen three years ago. The nation’s total capacity for solar power will soon reach 16 gigawatts, which will be able to give power to over three million homes.
Gains in Domestic Policy
In preparation for the National Climate Summit at the UN General Assembly, on Thursday, September 18th the Obama Administration unveiled over 50 new efforts to support solar and wind energies across the nation. In total, $68 million dollars have been allocated to developing these two non-polluting energies, with aims to develop 240 solar energy fields in rural areas. This fall the government also responded to the need for more skilled solar workers by launching a pilot job training program for veterans.
Costs Lower Than Ever
Solar energy has decreased in cost as it has increased in popularity, and in 2014, solar energy panels are cheaper than ever. In fact, costs are now 50% of what they were just five years ago. Solar panels are so cost effective that industry experts are encouraging homeowners and businesses to own solar panels to gain maximum efficiency rather than lease solar energy systems, as many do currently. The upswing of innovative financing options for solar panels has further made full ownership increasingly appealing. In many areas it’s definitively cheaper to rely on solar panel energy than traditional energies for electricity. What’s more, if a homeowner or business chooses to purchase a solar panel system rather than lease, once it’s paid in full, those monthly energy bills are gone for good.
Increased public and private valuing of solar energy has resulted in some innovative applications of solar panel systems this year, including the installation of a solar panel field at a closed landfill in Rutland, Vermont. The landfill served as a perfect location for a solar panel system, as its contaminated soil made it unusable for future development, yet its location from the heart of town made it ideal for a large energy system. With an estimated 100,000 closed landfills across the country, we hope others will catch on to this clever and valuable use of land.
In addition, this year new control systems were released to offer companies up-to-the-second information as to the quantities of solar energy used and created to enhance business operational intelligence, such as improving sales and services to customers. This in-depth analysis of a solar energy system has been well-received by businesses and consumers thus far and looks to figure prominently in the future.
Why It Matters: Take Your Stake
Given the progress made in the solar energy industry in 2014, now is the time for homeowners and businesses to truly invest in solar energy in San Francisco. Why?
- Solar energy systems are more affordable to install than ever; we can’t predict costs for the future, but we do know that today solar panels are at their lowest prices (97% less!) since the early 1980’s. Take advantage of the low costs while you can.
- The industry itself is booming. In late August, Blackstone’s Vivant, a rooftop solar power producer, announced plans to offer $371 million dollar IPO later in the fall, yet another indication of the industry’s growth and continued profits.
- Public funding. Public policy initiatives in 2014 are clear indications of the industry’s heightened support and stability. We see little risk in investing in an energy system that continues to gain mainstream attention and government backing.
- With over 2400 solar installations and over 15 megawatts of solar generation capacity, San Francisco is one of the country’s leading cities for solar power. Help our city preserve this title!
SunFirst! specializes in residential and commercial systems; at SunFirst! we provide full service design and installation of solar panels, handling all aspects of solar panel projects. In addition, we’ll be happy to service customers for diagnostic, repair, and maintenance services. Let SunFirst! help your home or business in San Francisco adopt the more affordable, eco-friendly energy option of solar energy. Contact us here today!