Solar PV Systems Then And Now: Why All The Buzz About Solar Energy?

Solar energy has been available on the market for a very long time now. Solar energy was used in ancient times to light fires, using magnifying a glass. In Ancient Rome, the solar heat was used to heat bath houses. As early as the mid-1880’s it was discovered that certain materials made electricity, when exposed to the sun. As you can see, solar technology has been around for ages.

Over a hundred years have passed, since solar photovoltaic effect (electricity production) was discovered and yet you don’t even see 1% or American homes donning solar panels. Generally speaking the financial viability on the use of solar photovoltaic on the ground was slow to develop. Since there is no way for satellite orbiting the earth at a high rate of speed to be plugged into an electrical socket on the ground, solar photovoltaic were employed regardless of their high costs to produce. The cost was well worth it, when applied to the space program, where these early panels were vital to power satellites and even space stations.
However, for terrestrial applications, solar has not been cost effective until relatively recently.

So, what’s buzzin’ cousin? Why are you starting to hear all this buzz about solar panels? Well, the government has been priming the pump of solar manufacturing for many years now. This caused more manufacturers to enter the solar pv market. As manufacturing advances became more productive, and competition more became fierce, the cost of solar panels began to fall. It is basic economics. For example, Solar panels in New Jersey used to take 15-20 years to pay for themselves in electricity savings alone. Now solar panel system New Jersey can pay the owner back in as little as 3-4 years. What changed? Prices came down, as more competition began to produce solar panels and advances in technology made it easier to produce even more efficient solar cells.

Additionally, Solar Panels in New Jersey earn the system owners Solar Renewable Energy Credits, which are publicly traded commodities. The SRECs are awarded to the system owners for every megawatt of electricity produced. They are worth more than 600 dollars per SRECs, as of March 2011. An average solar pv system in New Jersey will produce more than 8 SRECs per year, which puts the return on investment for solar panels on steroids. As an example, these 8 Solar Renewable Energy Certificates are worth about $4800.00 for an owner of solar pv system in NJ. These SREC’s are earned on top of any savings already enjoyed by the solar panel system New Jersey owner. They are worth more than three times the electric savings earned by the solar panel system New Jersey.

Unfortunately, the concept of Solar Renewable Energy Certificates is not easily explained or understood by the masses. That is why you see clever companies packaging solar in a way the average homeowner can understand. They have gathered huge amounts of venture capitalists and investors to purchase solar pv systems and placing them on the roofs of homeowners at little or no upfront cost. The dirty secret is that they sit back and collect all the Solar Renewable Energy Certificates these systems produce for up to 15 years. While the homeowner receives some savings on their electric bill, “Big Solar” collects a large reward, as the owner of each respective solar power purchase agreement, or lease.

At the end of the day, these programs are wildly successful at selling these programs, which is clearly good for the environment and at best, is a minor benefit to the consumer.

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Posted under Build Your Own Solar Panels

This post was written by assistant on March 5, 2011

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