Low Cost PV
The price of Photo-Voltaic systems is coming down. Installations in Germany,Italy and Spain are growing exponentially. China is leading the way with inexpensive Silicon ingot production. For only $600,000 you can now purchase 20 tons of pure crystalline silicon. The US is way behind other countries in solar panel production. We depend on our Canadian neighbors to make major investments in this growing technology. Canadian Solar and First Solar are leaving us behind in a cloud of dust.
The lowered cost of purified silicon is the driving force that's making PV manufacturing more affordable. This process is labor intensive and the Chinese have many people willing to to work hard to make solar energy practical.
The photovoltaic industry is finally gaining momentum after years of disappointing sales. The high initial cost of a PV investment has been a major deterrent in the past and now that the price has come down the people who might be interested are without jobs and struggling to survive. The tax incentives and stimulus packages initiated by president Obama are not as effective as they could be since they are hampered by bureaucratic red tape and the complexities of building permits as well as zoning regulations.
BUT WHY? The installation and wiring of PV panels is not difficult. Homeowners or handy men should be able to screw mounting brackets on a roof and clamp down photovoltaic panels. Qualified electricians might make the final grid connection if necessary and building inspector could supply stamps of approval. BUT government should not discourage renewable energy applications through excessive regulations. A Sustainable world will only become a reality if we make it so. Most vendors of PV panels like FIRST SOLAR (a thin film PV manufacturer) only sell large quantities of PV panels to installers, but there are still many vendors willing to allow home owners to get in on the game. The more you buy the lower will be the cost per Watt. A minimum investment of $5,000 is needed for a practical off grid system.
Photovoltaics could bring us out of the dark ages of an oil based economy and into the light of a green economy where more people have jobs and feel good about being human. We do have an alternative to extinction as long as we stay on the green side of the road and create new jobs with a sustainable future. It�s a win, win situation as long as the bureaucratic red tape does not get too sticky. The cost of solar will continues to drop, and Yingli, Trina and First Solar will continue to produce affordable photovoltaic products for large commercial solar farms. China Silicon Corp. doubles output of silicon ingots to 10,000 tons this year. The solar energy industry has many opportunities for everyone. Large solar farms will spring up in desert areas, but there will always be room in this brave new solar age for small independent applications not dependent on the grid.
Charging Stations with large banks of deep cycle batteries may someday replace filling stations with stores of underground gasoline tanks, but solar recharging stations may not be necessary if more people got more involved with home based systems.