In partnership with PLMA, this group is for practitioners from energy utilities, solution providers, and trade allies to share load management expertise and explore innovative approaches to program delivery, pricing constructs, and technology adoption.

495 Members


3 Trends Driving Solar Energy Innovation

3 Trends Driving Solar Energy Innovation

With global climate change presenting itself as a more sinister threat to humanity with each day that passes, the world’s best and brightest are hard at working coming up with sustainable solutions to our energy and production needs. Few things have proved as promising as the development of solar energy, which is being pioneered innovators in the private sector and regulators in the public domain alike.

What’s making solar energy so cheap, anyway? Here are 3 trends driving solar energy innovation right now, and how they’ll likely keep making energy cheaper for everyone for the foreseeable future.


1. Solar energy is now more affordable than all others

By far the largest trend driving solar energy innovation is the fact that it’s more affordable and accessible to a wide array of homeowners and business professionals now than ever before. Whereas a few years ago many people rejected solar energy proposals because they were deemed too expensive or complicated, recent developments have made solar energy the cheapest form of energy generation in the world. Furthermore, a boost from generous donors in the private sector and clever regulators in the public domain have generally made this technology more accessible to those who were once deeply unfamiliar with it.

Solar energy has now surpassed wind energy in terms of its cheapness, with solar now being the most affordable method of energy generation in at least 60 countries. That figure is set to keep growing, too, as many countries are realizing that the future demands sustainable energy solutions. China continues to be one of the biggest CO2 emitters in the world, for instance, but is also heavily investing in solar solutions because authorities there realize that fossil fuels won’t be able to supercharge growth forever.

Of all the trends driving solar energy innovation, its growing affordability is perhaps the most notable, as it’s putting solar power into the hands of everyday people who once had to rely on unsafe alternatives. With more people gaining access to this tech, it’s a sure bet that more solar energy innovation is on its way.


2. Building requirements are demanding solar energy

One of the other notable trends driving solar energy innovation is new building requirements which are springing up all over the developed world. California recently made history by becoming the first U.S. state to demand that all new homes come equipped with solar panels, for instance, demonstrating that localities are taking the issue of climate change seriously even if federal authorities continue to largely ignore it.

Requiring solar energy panels for every new home isn’t easy – as a matter of fact, it’s expected to add significantly to the total construction costs of most homes. Nevertheless, the state is betting that this affordable method of energy generation will pay for itself in the future, both by helping homeowners cut down on their power bills while simultaneously ensuring a greener and sustainable future for the planet and its inhabitants.

Rising insurance costs could be part of the reason the state is viewing regulation as being more essential. California has been hit hard by climate change, for instance, with a spate of wildfires leading insurance and home prices to skyrocket With the arrival of more solar energy, this issue may become more manageable for state authorities and private sector professionals alike.


3. Public opinion is finally behind green energy

For countless decades, proponents of a sustainable future were faced with one overwhelming obstacle in their quest; the public simply hasn’t been that interested until green energy…. until recently, that is. These days, the looming threat of global climate change and vastly differently market conditions have led the average joe to have a turn of opinion, and there are now concrete reasons to believe that two-thirds of Americans give priority to developing alternative energy over fossil fuels, according to the Pew Research Center.

This is a notable shift in public opinion that simply can’t be ignored, especially in one of the largest democracies in the world that has so much influence over global energy markets. Politicians respond to public demand for action, and for countless years environmentalist and proponents of solar energy have mostly been alone in the arena of public opinion. These days, though, that’s changed completely, and it’s the fossil fuel companies who find themselves the target of public ire rather than green energy providers who are now welcomed with open arms.

What could be driving the shift in public opinion? Besides a growing awareness of climate change, the lowered costs of producing solar energy are doubtlessly what’s propelled so many people to embrace them – folks love cheap energy, after all, and there’s no cheaper source than our own beloved sun. Regardless of what spurred it, the increased public support for solar energy is one of the most important trends driving innovation right now, as it’s encouraging the government to fund scientists doing cutting-edge research and proving to entrepreneurs that there’s a demand for their services in the green market.

We don’t know what the future holds, or whether we can grapple with the consequences of global climate change soon enough to ensure a sustainable future, but it’s proving increasingly obvious that solar energy is becoming the new standard across the world. These trends may be driving solar energy innovation forward right now, but more will doubtlessly come sooner rather than later to propel green technology to the top of the market.

Ethan Pratt's picture

Thank Ethan for the Post!

Energy Central contributors share their experience and insights for the benefit of other Members (like you). Please show them your appreciation by leaving a comment, 'liking' this post, or following this Member.


Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on May 20, 2019 11:48 pm GMT

These three trends are indeed helping the solar sector grow-- but what would you say are the biggest impediments? Legislation against net metering, tariffs on solar equipment, or something else?

Get Published - Build a Following

The Energy Central Power Industry Network is based on one core idea - power industry professionals helping each other and advancing the industry by sharing and learning from each other.

If you have an experience or insight to share or have learned something from a conference or seminar, your peers and colleagues on Energy Central want to hear about it. It's also easy to share a link to an article you've liked or an industry resource that you think would be helpful.

                 Learn more about posting on Energy Central »