One thing we know for sure is that technology continues to improve, and at an exponential rate. The better any technology gets, the better it is at improving upon itself. Most of the significant inventions of the modern world are innovations in existing technologies. Everyone is waiting for the next technological shift in solar power, hoping that solar is indeed the energy source of the future.
Challenges Faced by the Solar Industry
The three major challenges to solar power efficiency are easy to understand. Cost, battery life, and convenience have kept solar power from being the right choice for the majority of people. The good news is that these challenges are rapidly being overcome by improvements in solar technology.
Firstly, solar panels have long been more expensive to produce than the return in energy savings warrants. In the past, if you bought a solar panel, you may not pay off that initial investment for 10 to 20 years. The solar panel may last that long, but convincing people that the investment is worth their while is tough.
And many people just cannot commit to that kind of upfront investment. Fortunately, technological advances have started to lower the price of solar panels. Now, if you buy solar panels, you can earn money when you are creating a surplus by selling the power back to your power company.
The second major challenge is battery life. Without an efficient, safe, and dependable way to store energy from the sun, solar power becomes less reliable. What do you do when the sun isn’t shining? Of course, if you have a solar array that powers batteries, you can store up energy when it is sunny and then use it on cloudy days. Unfortunately, improvements in battery life have been slow to catch up with the improvements in solar efficiency.
The third challenge is convenience. The market for small scale solar panels has not been big enough to warrant investment by manufacturers. Producers of solar panels have focused on bigger investors, such as businesses and governments. Those kinds of big projects are worthwhile.
But making convenience, small-scale solar panels for individuals and families seems riskier. What if the market doesn’t take off? How do you justify investing in creating a lot of something when the gain on each item is small?
Overcoming Challenges with Flexibility
Flexible solar panels are a huge step in the right direction. For a long time, solar panels have been viewed as heavy, cumbersome, and expensive. The relative gain on an investment in solar seemed small when compared with the upfront costs.
But as solar technology improves, the costs fall, and the benefits begin to outweigh the costs. Flexibility means better solutions for every application of solar power sources. Solar roofing installations can power an entire home and even make a profit for the owners with surplus energy. Small flexible solar panels can be used to charge mp3 players, laptops, and cell phones.
Flexible solar panels, the solution?
Flexible solar panels are lightweight, dependable, and represent the latest technology available to consumers. The truth is that solar power is the future. Our energy needs are rapidly outstripping the planet’s resources, and every carbon-based energy source is going to run out sooner rather than later. The sun, however, will always shine.
As technology in harnessing the power of the sun improves, our chances of using solar power as the main power source grows. The sun doesn’t have to be out every day if the technology to collect, store, and use solar energy is as good as it can be.