When the sun is shining, there is energy to be made but up until recently in the United States, large-scale installations haven’t been a priority. Recent price drops in PV solar may be the beginning of the tipping point for mainstream adoption. A significant factor in this price drop has been China and its increase in comfort with manufacturing technology. The global superpower is looking for more technology intensive products, like solar panels, to manufacture, that can provide the higher wages that their growing middle class requires. With many high-tech products already being manufactured in China, such as RAM, computers, and smart devices, PV panels would be a logical fit. Currently, solar from China is $0.53 per watt produced but is projected to hit $0.42 per watt produced in 2015. With price-per-watt only recently being above $6.00, where will this price fall stop and what does it mean for other manufacturers trying to stay competitive?
For now, the U.S. has accused China of dumping and has imposed tariffs on the Red Giant. But why, if the price is falling, haven’t we seen major adoption? One of the key components domestically is the price paid for photo-voltaic installations. Compared to Germany, the U.S. is about four times expensive relatively for residential installation. Companies here in the United States recognize this flaw and have been emulating some techniques from across the pond to decrease the higher prices here.
Solar City, has emerged as a big player after a successful IPO, and already employ methods that streamline the installation process. Modular systems offer the ability to turn the renewable energy technology into plug-and-play systems for the homeowner. At the moment, this is just a pipe dream as there aren’t any widely available options to accessorize your home. That could be could changing, check out this pre-fab solar house in Spain.