How Can Solar Power Transform America’s Lower Income Neighborhoods?

Solar power panels may have higher upfront cost than some traditional sources of power and energy but the long-term cost benefits are unimaginable. The maintenance cost is also far lower. Solar energy is arguably the cleanest and most abundant source of power. Latest innovations are ensuring that even the cloudiest cities can produce huge amounts of solar energy. The breakthroughs in this domain are happening at a breakneck speed.

Climate considerations and pledges made by countries at multilateral forums to reduce their carbon footprint and harmful gases mean that there will be a greater push for clean renewable energy in the coming years and solar power technologies are expected to lead the race.

Solar power comes within the clutches of the lower-to-middle income families

There was a time when solar power was a fad for the rich and the mighty. With greater environmental consciousness and better financing opportunities, not to mention the drastic fall in prices, even members of the middle and lower income strata are scrambling to install solar energy panels at their homes.

Even the government under the Obama Administration has been making the right noises and efforts to popularize this source of power. They are providing cheap financing options and other technological aids. According to CleanTechnica, the solar industry added jobs 10 times faster than the rest of the US economy in the year 2014. That acts as an incentive for the government and the country as a whole to make a concerted push towards solar power as the job situation still remains less than ideal in America.

Industry bodies like the Solar Energy Industries Association and non-profit organizations like GRID Alternatives are also offering their services, expertise and financing to make solar energy more dominant in the lower income neighborhoods across the country. U.S.News reports that according to GW Solar Institute at George Washington University, the cost of solar power is down by almost 70% over the last decade or so and although it took 43 years to touch the one millionth mark in solar energy installations in the US, experts have predicted the two-billionth mark may be achieved by 2018 itself.

The same report claims that the Solar Energy Industry Association has predicted that by 2020, the U.S. will have produced enough solar power to light 20 million homes. Relentless technological innovation, industry push, government incentives and affordability will act as catalysts to spur the energy transformation further.

Many visionary state Governors are also becoming willing stakeholders in the exercise. They have taken a number of steps to ensure the reach of this technological innovation reaches the grassroots and the marginalized also enjoy the benefits.

Solar Power to Lower Income Neighborhoods

Solar cells to become even more affordable

According to a post made by Science Daily, a paper published in the journal Nature Energy by Dr. Ross Hammond, et al. claims that solar cells could be made using tin and that would become them cheaper and more adaptable. The researchers have claimed that tin perovskites, a class of semiconductors can be used instead of lead in solar cells that would be more stable and allow commercial production.

Why are the residents in these areas showing interest?

Solar Magazine: Solar Industry News and Insights

Switching to solar energy means savings of up to 30% on utility bills annually. That keeps compounding with passage of time. Also, a number of job opportunities have opened up. Those with GED certifications can find jobs that pay at an hourly rate of $15 to $23 depending on the area and the nature of the job. A number of local energy funding agencies with government backing has started functioning which either provides soft loan or are bearing the entire cost.

The energy transformation has the potential to lead a massive economic revolution in the States. Experts believe equitable distribution of wealth, education and other government facilities would be available as the solar industry would create jobs and save money for the marginalized sections. comment↓


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