Last year, more than two million solar installations took place in the U.S, and experts expect that number to double by the end of 2023. The year ahead looks promising for solar power. It is still the cheapest way to generate electricity in your home, but how can you benefit from this energy source in the upcoming year?
Solar power is now cheaper on a utility-scale than gas or coal. In fact, a utility-scale solar power plant can now be built and sell its power at 4 cents per kWh and be profitable. Solar power is poised to change the economic structure of the planet. Solar energy is a dependable, affordable alternative source of electric power that offers many opportunities for technical innovations, and 2019 will be a year of new solar power residential and commercial applications.
Solar Power in 2018
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission says that the U.S. used more renewable energy sources last year than natural gas for the fourth year in a row. They predict this trend to continue because solar energy is one of the least expensive power options.
The solar industry is expected to better technology this year; there will be more efficient solar panels and more research into the best building materials for solar cells. New technology will also be incorporated into solar panels making them more affordable and more attractive to homeowners and businesses alike.
The solar industry is expanding, as well, with thousands of solar panel models available for consumers. The residential market that has come a long way from those bulky rooftop panels most remember from past decades. New solar panel technologies expected to hit the market in 2019 include high capacity bifacial (or double-sided panels), all-glass, frameless, and clear solar panels.
Bifacial panels offer even more value to users as they harness sunlight through both sides of the panel through the sun’s reflection off the surface below. Additionally, all-glass solar panels are also innovative, as they are visually attractive and more durable than regular silicon cell panels. They are often used in skylights and are more fire resistant and less prone to erosion.
Homeowners who feel solar panels are ugly will be interested in frameless solar panels, as they are mounted using a specialized apparatus that match the panels, giving the home a more streamlined look. And clear solar panels have a frameless design; they are entirely enclosed in glass that utilizes the same silicon technology as standard panels, but they offer a more attractive look.
Additionally, when looking ahead the solar industry is poised to offer solar skin designs that are customized to match a roof’s shingles, micro-grids that are smaller than traditional electricity grids, and “smarter” technology, as we see in other “smart” home devices.
Other New Solar Technologies for 2019
Because many homeowners feel solar panels are unsightly, some new construction materials are integrating solar technology and replacing regular construction materials. These solar-embedded products will use the surface area of homes or commercial buildings and provide energy-saving, money-saving solar solutions.
Solar windows are another new technology which emerged in 2018 but are poised to take off in 2019. They look like normal windows but generate energy as sunlight passes through them. Another new development is the solar shingles. These are shingles that are infused with solar technology. They look great and are more durable and better insulated than standard shingles.
Because solar technology is getting more affordable—and better looking, expect to see it popping up all around you. It’s easy to incorporate in your home or business.