Solar Energy: The Hardest Working Member Of the Renewable Energy Team


Publish Date:
March 24, 2017
  • Bagdasarian, AG
Energy Central
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From 1% of the world’s energy today, to a whopping 16 percent by 2050 by mid-century, solar energy is more than an issue of energy independence and cleaner power generation. It’s become a righteous social cause that gives countries, regions and organizations a chance to invest in something that’s becoming a way of life. Even in the political and social hotbed that is the middle-east, solar generation is beating fossil-fuel sources on price, without subsidies. So what’s the best way forward for different regions of the world and even more micro-users like consumers ?

From incentives to help launch the industry, to near price parity with fossil fuel based energy sources it seems that you can’t hear about renewable energy without first hearing about the successes of solar. Though the U.S. developed the first solar cells and put them into space in the 1950s, today the dominant manufacturing power for residential and commercial applications is undoubtedly China. As Jeffrey Ball and Dan Reicher of the New York Times explained that entrepreneurs in China bought equipment from manufacturers in Europe in the mid 2000’s and used government subsidies to pump out “millions of solar panels for export.” Today China’s hard work coupled with some government assistance has paid off as the country leads all others in sheer quantity of solar cells manufactured. This includes the manufacturing of polysilicon, one of the few areas that America did at one time have a significant role in manufacturing. According to research firm IHS Markit, China accounted for “70 percent of global capacity for manufacturing crystalline-silicon solar panels, the most common type. The United States share was 1 percent.”

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