News Alert: Solar Energy is Cheaper than Fossil Fuels
Posted by Stephen Shickadance in Inspiring Projects.
There's been a long-standing debate about the price of solar energy. Solar has been a very controversial topic because the return on investment is a very fluid calculation, especially since the price of a solar panel changes all the time.
However, it's important to note that solar panel prices have changed negatively. They've been dropping significantly over the past several years because of new renewable energy standards, higher funding, and heavy research and development introduced by governments over the past several years.
Solar energy is cheaper because the processes to develop solar cells has turned cheaper as well (which is why solar lighting has become vastly more cost-effective than other technologies lately). And, in addition to improved research and development, some of the best solar panels still use one of the most abundant elements of all: silicon.
However, with all these improvements in cost reduction for solar panels, there's even better news. We've been crunching the numbers at Greenshine New Energy and are proud to report that the debate with solar energy vs fossil fuels is over: solar energy is cheaper than fossil fuels!
Here's what that means for you:
Solar Power is Definitely a Cheaper Solution (and for Lighting, too)
It's been a long time in the making—over 150 years, in fact—to see solar energy efficiency rise and the price of it to drop to a point where the return on investment justifies the up-front costs. The price of solar energy follows what's called Swanson's Law, an observation of the price of a photovoltaic cell dropping 75% over the course of a decade.
This law (more accurately referred to as the experience curve analysis) has remained consistent for the past several decades. Much like Moore's Law that shows technology trends double computing power every year (or so), Swanson's law shows a very steep drop in PV price.
It's not surprising these trends are similar since they're both based on silicon-based technology which is utilized every day
But What Does That Have to do with Solar Lighting?
The facts don't lie. Solar-powered lighting is much more cost-effective than traditional lighting because of the reduced price of a solar cell.
You can take advantage of this if you're planning on solar lighting for a parking lot or similar project where you need self-sustainable, independent power to light an area. Initial prices may be favorable when it comes to traditional, on-grid lighting, but the money saved beyond day one beats out the pricing for traditional.
We've had success stories where the client who chose Greenshine saved 50 thousand dollars up front by avoiding trenching. That's a lot of money to put towards other projects!
Solar Power vs Fossil Fuels: Just Cleaner
Residential outdoor lighting emits 15 million tons of CO2 per year as according to the International Dark Sky Association. That doesn't account for commercial lighting, so you can imagine that number's likely much higher than 15 million when all lighting is accounted for.
However, solar power is not only cheaper than traditional lighting, it's much cleaner. If we could alter all public outdoor lighting to rely on solar, we would see an incredible drop of carbon emissions. Unfortunately, we can only do one lighting system at a time. But using photovoltaic energy from the sun's rays has a positive impact on the environment and paves the way towards a much cleaner future.
IDSA also mentions that 30% of outdoor lighting is wasted because of light that isn't shielded, so a lot of that contributes to unnecessary pollution. Imagine if we could remove light pollution entirely—that could reduce carbon emissions significantly and save potentially billions of dollars. The energy landscape of the future is definitely interesting with how cheap solar power has become!
Avoid the Pitfalls of Traditional Lighting
Traditional lighting, while appealing at first, has many pitfalls when compared with solar-powered lighting. We've heard nightmare stories of one lone wire getting severed, rendering an entire lighting system useless. Other stories detail customers that need to spend 90 thousand upfront just to bury wires for their new lighting.
On average, solar lighting systems save the purchaser about 20% of the costs of the entire system primarily because there are no trenching or wiring fees associated with solar.
Avoid the pitfalls of expensive lighting and find the cheaper solution that will stay on all night long: solar.
Plenty of our clients in the past continue to communicate with us on future solar lighting projects. Solar is a growing trend we're happy to be at the front of, and so we invite you to take a closer look at how making the switch from fossil fuel lighting can save you literally thousands of dollars for your lighting project. Contact us to learn more and see the real benefits.
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