Today, Germans lead the world in building houses that can produce more energy than they consume. But getting other large countries to do the same will take more time.
Many countries are dealing with legacy energy systems including coal power plants which have the backing of moneyed and political interests which puts a break on regulations that could encourage wider and faster adoption of cleaner technologies. But the fact that new renewable energy sources do not involve combustion and the discharge of pollutants during the combustion process means it’s just a matter of time until cleaner energies are fully mainstream.
The Cost & Rate of Adoption of Solar
Solar energy is becoming the ideal energy source because of its abundance and increasingly low cost. Currently, the rate of adoption of solar energy for owners, builders, architects, and contractors can be improved through better incentives provided by governments. Two main historic advancements in policy occurred in 2015: the Paris climate accord signed by 195 nations and the Clean Power Plan, which limits carbon emissions from existing fossil fuel power plants.
For its part, the US Department of Energy (DOE) is actively seeking new technological solutions that will allow widespread and sustainable use of PV and its integration into the electric grid. The DOE currently sees the System Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) of less than $.14 per kilowatt hour (KWh).
More and more passive solar energy is being incorporated into energy efficient buildings and landscape design. Some individual homeowners have been able to design and build passive solar homes that are heated only by the sun and a wood stove.
Innovations in Solar Technology
There are many types of solar cell innovations happening today:
- Improving solar cells using anti-reflection layers so that larger wavelengths can be captured.
- The V3 Solar Spin Cell which is reported to generate over 20 times more electricity than a flat-panel with the same area of PV.
- Researchers are developing and designing high-voltage solar arrays.
The following video, “Modern Passive Solar House Innovative Design,” shows the state of solar:
The following infographic, “A Clean Future by 2050,” shows the potential problems of not transitioning to clean energy by 2050