What are the technological advancements that have made solar power so much more economically viable over the last decade or so?

15 views
0

What are the technological advancements that have made solar power so much more economically viable over the last decade or so?

In: 213

1. Efficiency of the panels has gone up. Watts per square inch. More power out for the same size

2. Price of the panels has gone down due to economic scale.

3. Battery technology has gotten a lot better. SLA to flooded LA to lithium ion to LiPo4. Better power density for the size.

4. Price of the batteries has gone down. (Lithium batteries have dropped hard in the last 3 year)

As a technology becomes more and more available, more people will learn to work with the technology as well as materials will be more produced. All of these will drive the prices down.

They are somewhat more efficient now, but the real revolution has been that the cost to produce them has gone down by orders of magnitude since the 1980’s when the silicon based tech we use today was introduced. If it’s cheap to make in bulk then suddenly a huge field with panels becomes an affordable option, even if the efficiency tops out at around 15%.

In the near future however we’re likely to see that change, with perovskite based panels boasting greater efficiencies, lower costs, and *far* less waste from the process of making them.

Slight incremental improvements over the last few decades have made manufacturing less expensive, and solar panels more efficient. The combo of those two meant that it finally hit a tipping point and became financially worthwhile about 10 years ago (it was just too expensive for most people prior). With that came ‘manufacturing at scale’. When a factory is able to sell hundreds of panels a day, they get better deals on all the ‘per unit’ costs. Shipping, custom parts, extrusions, and manufacturing machines all go down in cost the more of them you order at a time.

And then there’s Tesla. There may be a trash human running the company, but they have done an absolute ton to get the prices in the US down to something manageable for normal people.

It’s not any one thing, but many things combined. Economies of scale have kicked in, competition keeps prices low, incremental efficiency improvements over the past few decades have made the amount of power a single panel produces higher, electricity has gotten more expensive to produce by other means.