An Overview of the Solar Power Industry
Solar power deals with the conversion of sunlight into electricity, either directly by using photovoltaic, or indirectly using concentrated solar power. Solar power makes use of solar energy. Photovoltaic converts light into electricity by incorporating the photoelectric effects. The solar panels are used as a component of a larger photovoltaic system for generating and supplying electricity in commercial and residential areas.
In recent times solar Energy has been successfully used in both residential areas and industrial sectors for cooking, heating, cooling, lighting and communications amongst the other uses. The improvement in solar energy technology along with the rise in prices of fossil fuel has made solar energy more affordable for the public. The number of homes that have installed photovoltaic, connected to their utility grid has risen up significantly.
Besides the high cost of installation another hurdle is when comparison is made with the prices of using fossil fuels the solar energy is on the higher end. Hence users are not encouraged to switch to using solar energy because of the price factor.
Japan has an enormous solar reserve, which is used to generate power and take off the load from fossil fuels thus helping to reduce imports, also helping the balance of trade of the country. Ever since the Fukushima nuclear incident there hasn’t been a nuclear power generation in Japan, solar energy has become a leading source in meeting the power requirements of the country. Since the citizens are still overcoming the aftereffects of the disaster, the country will soon undergo a bigger need for power for which it will need to diversify its energy sources. In the year 2011, Japan had contributed about 7% to the world’s total installed solar PV capacity. In Canada the use of solar PV is expected to rise in the future which will have a positive impact on the photovoltaic power country. In France majority of the solar PV installation is used for industrial and commercial purposes. In Europe, Spain is the second largest country with regards to the number of installations, the first being Germany.
Globally there has been a rise in demand which is attributed to the government rebate programs, rise in public awareness with regards to using renewable and non polluting source of energy and policies incorporating green pricing from utilities. The main challenge in this case is the high cost of installation. The savings that can be made from not having to pay utility bills evens out the high cost of installation.