The Implication Of Cost And Efficiency Of Solar Panels Over The Years
Scientists have known for a long time that the sun could produce a high amount of energy; however, no significant step was taken to tap into this knowledge for a long period. The first solar cell was produced in 1800, and it was so insignificant because it was less than one percent efficient. However, as decades rolled by, scientists began to look in the sun’s direction, and Bell Labs became the first man to produce a useful solar panel. He invented the first silicon solar panel in 1954.
This first panel invention by Bell Labs only yielded about six percent efficiency, which was also small at that time. However, this exposed the minds of several manufacturers to the possibility of improving the design and efficiency of solar panels.
Hence, solar PV technology experienced rapid growth after the first creation of solar panels. The current solar panels are up to 30 percent efficient; however, what determines the efficiency is the materials used. The more expensive the material for production is, the higher the efficiency. Some researchers are looking to produce solar panels that are up to 46 percent efficient, but this would be made from expensive materials that might not fit into the rooftop design.
Solar Panel Cost
Over the past decade, the cost of solar panels has significantly decreased. As of 2009, the cost of solar panel installation was about $8.50 per watt. However, this has considerably reduced over the years, with the present rate at $2.91 per watt. Swanson’s Law explains this change in cost in relation to efficiency over the years. This also means that over time, solar panels’ efficiency will keep increasing while the cost of installation keeps reducing.
The implication for Solar Shoppers
The reduced cost and increased efficiency are good news for solar shoppers and individuals looking to install solar panels in their homes. This means that you do not have to spend a lot of money on installing solar panels. However, it is best to do thorough research to find the solar panel installation company with the best rate in your area. The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) advises consumers to do in-depth research not to fall victim to inflated installation prices.
Another point to take note of is that the bigger companies might not be the cheapest installers. The fact that a company has so much money to pay for their solar panels advertisement does not make them the cheapest in the market. Hence, it is best to compare prices before choosing the company that would help install your solar panels.
The kind of solar equipment a company offers also matters. This means that the best installers might not have the solar equipment that would increase the solar panels’ efficiency and save you some electricity cost. Hence, it is essential to keep all these factors in mind when comparing quotations from various companies.