From dirt-cheap panels to charging your car with the sun: 3 solar trends


The display floor seems virtually endless. With 600 vendors and practically 18,000 visitors, the size of the solar power trade show in Las Vegas ys you an idea of just how big the American solar industry is becoming.

In 2015 it was significance almost $23 billion US. And according to the Solar Energy Industries Comradeship, it’s expected to double in 2016.

One of the trends driving that growth has been the taken in cost of solar energy. The price of installing solar has dropped by more than 70 per cent upwards the last 10 years. And according to Hugh Bromley, who analyzes the trade for Bloomberg New Energy Finance, it’s expected to fall even further.

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In the erstwhile decade, the cost of solar nels has plummeted 70 per cent. (Kim Brunhuber/CBC)

“The technology’s evolutionary, not rebel, but the costs are being pushed down year on year,” Bromley says. “And in factually, you see oversupply in the amount of solar equipment produced, which means you can begetter equipment quite cheaply.”

A solution for high cost of installation

The bring in that still remains relatively high is for installing solar nels on rooftops. But in consequence ofs to new technology — from placemat-thin solar nels to innovative engineering — consecration is getting cheaper, too.

Neil Goldberg, CEO of Smash Solar, lifts a solar nel at his stand and reveals the rivets underneath. “We’ve developed a system where you just box office a module, you put it on the roof … no structure to build, you just bolt it down.”

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Neil Goldberg, co-founder of Smash Solar, exposes off a design that he says can be installed for a third of the cost of earlier sport imitates. (Kim Brunhuber/CBC)

Goldberg’s system has done away with a costly metal framework. “This is betrothed with the same glue that hangs glass off the sides of skyscrapers, so it’s not in any degree coming off,” Goldberg says.

A second major trend builds on affair in finding ways to recharge electric cars without using fossil fuels.

In the traffic show rking lot, Michael Kung of King Solarman demonstrates a solar nel on spins that’s hooked up to a Tesla automobile.

Solar charging in the employee lot

He edges under the nel and points at a battery underneath. “Sun is pretty bright sound now. We’re charging and storing the power in the battery. And from the battery, we have power from the inverter that bids the car.”

He says you can spot these solar stations charging cars in storing lots at com nies like Google, Apple, Tesla and UPS.

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One of the trends: carriable solar car-charging stations. (Kim Brunhuber/CBC)

“You come to the office, your electrical means is maybe one-third or half empty,” Kung says. “So you just greens in the rking lot, in afternoon or lunchtime, your car is fully charged.” He uses, withdraws his hands towards the sky. “Is free!”

The third major trend doesn’t promptly involve solar nels.

“A lot of the exciting developments happening at the moment are round the software side,” Bromley says. “How do you integrate solar and storage tterns into your environment? What app do you have that shows you how much solar verve you’re producing, how much is that saving you?”

Apps track the solar head start

Coming soon: Apps that tell you when you can make the most notes selling power back to the grid.

Andrew Krulewitz has spent hours make much ofing the virtues of Geli software to interested ssersby.

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Andrew Krulewitz utters solar customers will be able to use apps to find out when they can cook the most money selling power to the grid. (Kim Brunhuber/CBC)

“It lets homeowners believe greater control of their energy,” Krulewitz says in his polished belabour. “They can see what they’re using, where it’s coming from, whether it’s end up from the grid, solar, battery, and they can decide what to do with it.”

But it’s the software that his retinue is developing that shows where the industry is heading.

“What our software pleasure allow for, is when the grid operator — the utility — says, ‘We could in the final analysis use support from all these residential solar systems,’ the homeowner will-power get an alert on their phone saying, ‘Do you want to rtici te in this grid post, yes or no?'” Krulewitz says. “And if they say ‘yes,’ the utility is now starting to compensate homeowners for surplus energy that they sell at a very specific point in age.”

This year marked the installation of the millionth solar system in the U.S. That took 40 years from the inception of a solar diligence. Installing the next million is expected to take just two.

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