Solar will be the world’s most popular power source by 2050

big red hand pointing down

Down, down, solar panel prices are going down!

When someone of the stature of Martin Green says the cost of solar PV technology will halve again by the next decade, you sit up and take notice. Even more so when he says solar will be the world’s most popular energy source by 2050.

For the University of New South Wales’ Prof. Martin Green is considered one of the world’s leading PV researchers. His department’s technological breakthroughs in silicon cell efficiency have not only given us the solar panels we know today but also put Australian PV research at the centre of world PV technology.

“The costs of solar will halve again by 2025 is my prediction,” he told a conference in Sydney on Wednesday. “We are at 60 cents per watt manufacturing now but we will get down to 30 cents per watt some time before 2025.”

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Poor Nations Beating Rich Nations in Alternative Energy Race

A recent study of 55 nations, found that wealthy, developed countries have developed an 84% growth rate in using renewable energy sources from 2008 to 2013. Sounds good, right? On paper it sounds nice. Until you see that much poorer nations have experienced a 143% growth in the same time period!

Why is it that poorer nations are moving faster toward greener energy? Well, it’s economics. While the nations themselves are poor, investing in renewable energy is providing much cheaper power than their fossil fuel counterparts. Meanwhile, wealthier nations can afford to keep using fossil fuels, so there is less motivation to use more renewable sources. With that said, it shouldn’t be long before other energy sources are depleted and wealthier nations move forward as their poorer counterparts have done.

Read the full article about this study here:: Poor Nations Go for Solar, Wind at Twice the Pace of Rich Ones

Could Solar Roadways Provide a Worthwhile Energy Path?

Scott Brusaw and the small American town of Sandpoint, Idaho have come together to form a potentially-revolutionary way to collect solar power. Using Scott’s design and know-how, Sandpoint will be the first town to use its roadways to collect solar power! A 20-year veteran of electrical engineering, Brusaw found that heated glass not only could collect solar energy but could still support even double the weight our roadways are currently designed for.

For a full article on this story, click here: Solar Roadways could produce over three times the electricity we use in the United States

Enphase Micro Inverters Claim Higher Profits, Lower Costs

A recent survey showed of 32 residential solar installers over a two-month period showed that micro inverters were able to reduce soft costs compared to conventional central inverters. In fact, major micro inverter manufacturer, Enphase claim that installation using their TRUEAC modules have can reduce labor costs by up to 48%!

They also claim that installers in the US had to walk away from 1 out of 4 jobs if they weren’t using micro inverters (which are easier to install on difficult roofs).  I find this really hard to believe, but if it’s true I can only put it down to the prevalence of online quoting without a site visit over in the USA.  You really do need a site visit if you want a high performing solar system properly designed for your roof.  You simply can’t do it with Google maps (even with micro inverters)!

Read more about this here.

Bottom Line: Wind and Solar Are Cheaper

The European Commission has published a thorough study regarding the different types of energy their cost. The result? The cheapest sources of energy come from solar and wind power.

While many argue that coal is cheap and government support for renewable energy is costly, fossil fuels have again been shown to cost more in the long term when taking into account health impacts, climate change, and resource depletion. While many state that those costs shouldn’t count since they are not within the realm of direct cost, it is hardly illogical to include them in the research for the overall cost, unless your vision only extends to the next election!

With that said, there are many variables at play both in the use of energy and variables in energy standards from country to country. For a more in-depth look, click here.

MIT discovers how to make cheap solar panels from old car batteries

What do we do with gazillions of old, toxic car batteries? Simple. Turn them into cheap solar panels!

What do we do with gazillions of old, toxic car batteries? Simple. Turn them into cheap solar panels of course!

Cheap solar panels made from old car batteries?

Yup! That is the latest clean energy recycling breakthrough from researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). And the verdict at SQHQ is “GENIUS!”.

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Are They Really Tier 1 Solar Panels? Six Questions You Must Ask.

tier 1 solar panel

Some solar companies are claiming that their Tier 3 panels are really Tier 1. How can you identify real Tier 1 Solar panels?

For many years now I’ve been banging on about “Tier 1 Solar Panels”. My recommendation has always been that you should spend a few hundred dollars more for Tier 1 panels, so that you can massively reduce the risk of having crappy solar panels installed on your roof. [Read more…]

Are those cheap solar panels grey imports?

solar panels in a box

If you’ve been offered really cheap solar panels, please check that they are not grey imports.

Recently, a number of people have asked me about parallel or ‘grey’ imports of solar panels.

Parallel imports are defined as products (in our case, solar panels) that are imported unofficially by someone other than the manufacturer or their official Australian distributors.

Interestingly, in this day and age with so much online and internet based trade, the lines on this issue have become a little blurred. Some manufacturers will supply you directly with their product, but the majority do not. Most panel manufacturers have carefully developed formal partnerships in place with Australian companies who distribute their panels and provide technical and warranty support for those panels.

Why is parallel importing a problem? [Read more…]

Talking perovskite: the new kid on the solar cell block

panel from russia

From Russia WIth Love: Perovskite could reduce solar costs by 75%

One of the many advantages of solar energy is its charge down the cost curve as new technologies outstrip old in performance and cost. This week at SQHQ we’re dusting off the crystal ball and looking into the future of solar power. Specifically we’ll be checking out perovskite; the “new kid on the block” (with all the rave reviews). Perovskite is considered to have the potential to replace silicon in solar cells. [Read more…]

8 things to look out for when buying cheap solar panels

There are a hell of a lot of companies offering cheap solar panels right now, and as with all free markets, that is driving down the prices and the margins of solar power installers and suppliers.

The question I get asked the most is this:

“How do I tell if this deal from XYZ solar (which is heaps cheaper than anyone who quoted through your site) is too good to be true?”

So here’s your answer: [Read more…]