Plunging costs have made solar power an economical option for producing energy without the unwanted byproduct of greenhouse gas emissions. Solar technology was once deemed too expensive to even make an impact on carbon reduction. However, now that the technology costs half as much as it did just six years ago, solar is rapidly expanding. As described by The Carbon Brief, the evolution of solar power is a true Cinderella story.
“A few years ago, China’s government opted to subsidize its manufacturing sector to produce cheap solar panels” states the Carbon Brief article. Although this decision weakened Europe’s manufacturing sector and led to trade disputes, it eased solar expansion.
In just two and a half years, the UK has gone from not believing in solar to developing a dedication to the technology. A few years ago, the UK solar industry came close to being destroyed. Now the cost of solar panels is half as much as it was then and in that time installations have risen from a few thousand to over 420,000 now.
Although the solar industry was only generating less than half a percent of the world’s electricity in 2012, as expansion continues, it is projected to generate a potential eleven percent by the middle of the century. Industry goals of making solar the cheapest fossil fuel in the world are starting to look very attainable.