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The environmental benefits of solar energy have been promoted for decades, as has the energy efficiency to homeowners.  The problem has been the dreadful, bulky, and expensive roof solar panels homeowners must install.  They can make a beautiful home look ugly, and most homeowners fail to stay in the home long enough to benefit from the return on investment.

With investment from technology gurus like Elon Musk, solar technology is advancing at an expediential rate.  The result of this investment is solar panels are getting smaller, less expensive, and more efficient.  These improvements to the technology, in conjunction with government subsidization, have led to tremendous growth in the industry.

State of the Solar Industry

  • At the end of 2016, about 1.3 million homes used solar power technology in the U.S.
  • In 2016, solar power became the #1 source of new electric-generating capacity in the U.S. at 39%.
  • Solar growth slowed a bit in 2016 from the prior year but grew 46% from 2010-2015.
  • The Scientific American says that the cost of manufacturing solar cells has plummeted 60% in the past decade.

Tesla Solar’s Effect on the Industry

The latest breakthrough in the technology is Tesla Solar’s roof shingles which have the ability to absorb solar energy.  Two of the four shingle designs are available in certain markets now, with the other models being made available in early 2018.  The Tesla Solar Roof must compete with the standard asphalt roof replacement, which would cost about $8,000-$16,000 and lasts for about 20 years.  Tesla has estimated that their solar glass roof will cost $21.85 per sq. ft.  This is a blended cost as the more expensive solar-enabled panels will only comprise on average 40% of the total installed roof tiles and up to about 70%, depending on a home’s location and natural sun exposure.

Tesla Solar Panels

Source: Tesla Solar

Bloomberg reports the cost to install solar tiles on a 2,000 sq. ft. home in the state of New York will cost $50,000 net of federal tax credits.  Tesla Solar tiles carry a 30-year warranty, and the energy savings will total $64,000 over the life of the tiles.  The amounts were calculated by Bloomberg using the Tesla Solar calculator.  All though the cost is still high compared to a conventional roof, Musk believes these panels are as affordable as a conventional roof with traditional solar panels installed on it.Tesla Solar Roof Pricing

Changing the World

For homeowners in the developed world, it can be argued that solar energy is simply a luxury; a way for someone to feel as though they are making a difference.  However, for many locations across the globe, solar energy is a life saver.  The advancement of affordable solar energy is transforming the world as it brings clean water to remote villages across the globe, charges health care facilities, and enables cell phone charging stations and solar charged refrigerators.

In April of 2017, employees began moving into Apple’s new 100% Solar-powered campus in Cupertino, CA. The 175-acre Apple Park will have 17 MW of rooftop solar and will soon have more than 12,000 employees moving in.

In April of 2017, employees began moving into Apple’s new 100% Solar-powered campus in Cupertino, CA. The 175-acre Apple Park will have 17 MW of rooftop solar and will soon have more than 12,000 employees moving in.  Source: California Solar Systems

Solar energy is the most abundant energy resource available.  Elon Musk, with solar tiles, has eliminated “ugly” from the reasons as to why not to have it installed on your roof.  With the advancement in the technology, the prohibitive cost excuse will be eliminated very soon as well.  At that point, it won’t matter if you believe in global warming or not because solar energy will be an irrefutable cost saver for you and your family.

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