Oct 2, 2020

How Solar Panels Improved Over Time

Solar panels have a long history, with the first solar cell constructed by Charles Fritts in 1883, and then the creation of the first silicon PV cell at Bell labs in 1954. Although they are relatively new as consumer technology, solar panels have come a long way from where they began, and their growth isn’t expected to stop anytime soon.

Solar Panels And Increased Efficiency

Efficiency is one of the biggest and most important things to improve over time. The first panels created by Bell Farms were only about four to six percent efficient, not a very practical number for consumers in both the industrial and residential sectors. 

This was only a starting point, however, and the efficiency of solar panels has significantly increased in the past 65 years. Just within the first six years of being created, Hoffman Electronics was able to more than double the efficiency rate from six percent to 14%. 

Fast forward to the 21st century, and solar panels are now able to reach on average a 15% to 20% efficiency rate. Efficiency does vary depending on quality, with higher-quality panels being able to reach a higher efficiency than lower-quality ones. As technology continues to grow, solar panel efficiency will as well, proving to be a powerful source of renewable energy.

We mentioned that efficiency is one of the most important things to improve over time, but why? Well the higher the efficiency, the more energy is being produced by your system for you to use. The less efficient your panels, the more energy you’re pulling from the electric grid to make up for what the PV cells cannot produce. This means that you’ll get a quicker return on investment with higher-quality PV cells. 

Decreased Cost of Solar Panels 

Another great improvement seen in the progression of PV panels is their decreasing costs. Early adopters paid a pretty penny to reap the benefits of solar energy, making it a luxury item that many couldn’t afford. This has, and continues to change as the costs continue to drop.

Within the past decade, solar installation has dropped by 70%. In 2010, the average home could expect to pay $40,000 for a solar panel system, but that price has now dropped to about $18,000. In fact, solar installations were the lowest they have ever been as Q1 2020. It’s also worth mentioning that depending on the state you live in, you could pay even less. For instance, if you reside in Florida you can expect to pay around $9,198 – $11,970 for solar installation, compared to $12,264 – $16,044 if you live in New York. 

This dramatic decrease has given more consumers the ability to install solar, which in turn leads to other benefits, especially economic ones. The growing market is creating more jobs, with solar jobs increasing 167% in the past 10 years. As of 2019, 250,000 Americans were employed in solar across the U.S. That same year, the solar industry generated an investment of $18.7 billion into the economy. Although solar is in all 50 states, as prices drop, more states will begin to expand their solar markets. 

Impressed? We are! Not only is this difference in increased efficiency and decreased costs to date impressive, but this trend will only continue. Solar panel technology will continue to grow more powerful and costs will keep dropping and soon enough everyone, both residential and commercial, will be benefiting from the power of the sun. 
Contact Direct Solar of America today to discuss your solar options and start saving money on your electric bills.

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