The average home saves $1,500 a year by transitioning to solar energy, but moving to solar power can be cost-prohibitive. Fortunately, the cost of solar power has decreased exponentially over the past decade, and energy officials expect solar panels to become more affordable in the coming years.
How Affordable Is Solar Panel Technology?
According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, when first introduced in the 1970s, the average cost of residential solar power to the homeowner was $76.67 per watt.
Twenty years later, the cost of solar power dropped almost 87% to $10 per watt. By 2008, solar power costs dropped again by another 25% to $7.50 per watt.
Where does the cost of solar power sit now? An incredible $2.86 per watt - before the current tax incentives kick in.
So, since the introduction of residential solar power, homeowners have gone from paying $76.67 per watt to $2.86 per watt – that is just under 3% of the original cost. Of course, we can’t expect a 97% price drop in solar power over the next fifty-plus years, but there is little doubt that the cost of solar power will continue to decline.
What has caused such a dramatic drop in cost? The availability of components, the improved efficiency in their production, the increased efficiency of technology, and their wider availability.
Why Do We Need More Affordable Solar Panel Technology?
Why do we need even more affordable solar panel technology if solar panel pricing is already coming down so quickly?
The cost of solar power installation depends on the cost of solar panels. The cost of solar panels depends on the availability, efficiency, and advancement of technology in the solar power component field.
- The cheaper solar power components become, the more affordable they are to make and the cheaper they are for consumers to buy
- The more efficient solar power components become, the fewer components are necessary for residential solar power systems, and the more affordable systems become to buy and install.
Is It Possible That Solar Power Components Will Become More Affordable?
The price of solar power can come down further. Although, it is crucial to remember that even a 50% drop in the cost of solar power components will not seem like much of a savings compared to those initial price drops in the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, and ’00s.
How low can we expect the cost of solar power to go if the cost and efficiency of components continue to drop and rise, respectively? According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the projected goal for the cost of low-cost residential solar power is $0.16 per watt.
More affordable solar panel technology means more affordable residential solar power systems. With more affordable solar power systems, this clean power source is more accessible to homes in all socio-economic brackets. With more homes relying on clean fuel sources, we rely less on dwindling fossil fuels and rapidly reduce the effect of our carbon footprint on the already damaged ozone layer.