In following the trends of solar growth over the past 30 years it shows that the ebbs and flows of solar developments and implementation is closely matched to our peaks and valleys of the energy crises; where research and development for distributed generation was in response to the deregulation of utility rates and the adoption of solar was solely linked to the availability of incentives and tax credits. The US solar industry, like most other technology industries, is about educating the public to reach the penetration levels experienced in Europe and parts of Asia; however in the US, solar remains a complex formula of Power-grid integration and capital investments. Around the globe solar has its own unique story to tell, but strangely from village to city the same barriers are evident.
The advancements and adoption of technology has sustained humans throughout our history and yet today, my brief research found that all the renewables combined only roughly equates to less than 3% of the US energy profile. America is not alone; this human resistance to charter the unconventional solar revolution can be observed around the world. In parts of Africa, Sri Lanka and India where solar can truly mean the difference between light and dark, distribution of solar products is road-blocked by conventional “wisdom” that the current energy source is cheaper and more reliable, regardless of the inevitable increases in fuel.
To most people, even solar advocates, the message that solar will pay for itself in the long run remains questionable.Even with energy prices continuing to increase and solar becoming cost competitive with conventional energy (not calculating the environmental toll of coal and nuclear) people still assume that solar is expensive. Today solar lanterns, available even in remote locations, can now be purchased for less than traditional kerosene lights, however in rural villages the cycle of expensive, dirty energy continues.
Unfortunately, the road-blocks are the same in America and I wonder why the shift from conventional to renewable is so challenging for a species whose exponential population growth is evidence of our current evolutionary success. Solar is a part of this evolutionary progression as the pace of conventional energy depletion increases. Solar power may seem like an investment, but in affect it could be installed in your home for a small monthly increase.According to Sierra Club’s “Solar’s Moment in the Sun” with available leasing and financing options solar will add as little as $30 to your monthly bill. Essentially skipping a dinner out 1 time a month could afford you pollution-free electricity for its lifetime.