Over the course of the last decade or so, the cost, and efficiency of renewables, namely solar have dramatically dropped from being reserved exclusively for those wealthy green hippies, to being a massively sought out product in both the public and private sector. In this post, I intend on showcasing the changes in both spheres of, collection efficiency, and product cost between today and ten years ago. Then I intend to compare those numbers with the non-renewable alternatives.
In 2009, the cost of solar was roughly $7/watt, compared to 2015, when the cost of solar PV equated to roughly $2.10/watt. This change has translated to both massive growths in the green industries job market impact, and the sheer number of solar PV installations. In 2010, the solar industry translated to just under 100,000 workers, compared to 2015, when it provided work for over 200,000 workers. To put that number into perspective, that number is larger than both the number of workers of those in coal mining (~60,000), and the number of workers in oil and gas extraction (~170,000). The industry has become not only attractive for the buyer, but has become a major mover and shaker in the national economy.
In 2006, Residential and Non-Residential PV combined for a meager 100+ megawatts of energy. Today, the two combine for a gargantuan ~4000 megawatts. This growth is both a reflection of changes in panel efficiency and cost. The growth in the market allows for more R & D. Sun power’s efficiency roadmap has shown an overall absolute efficiency improvement of 6% between 2007 to 2015. That’s just one company. Many have seen similar changes.
The green industry is not just the future anymore, it has become the present between cost and tax cuts, and efficiency boosts.