As the greatest minds on Earth work to perfect and develop solar technology, it’s easy to forget where it once was, and less obviously, how it will continue to surpass expectations in the years to come. Solar energy has had a journey paved with success after triumphant success in the last thirty years, blooming into one of the most important assets of our modern society. While solar energy was technically already conceptualized as far back as the 7th century B.C. and began to pick up speed in the late 1800s, it wasn’t until the 1970s to 1990s that it really hit its stride.
Due to the 1973 oil embargo and the 1979 energy crisis, the world had to rethink how it handled energy production, and a massive contender for the next in line was, naturally, solar. Before anyone knew it, solar energy was everywhere. At the time, its most popular use was in water heating & other similar activities, but by the late ’90s to early 2000s, the materials and practices used to create solar panels were becoming cheap enough to be not only viable for residential use but monstrously beneficial.
As such, we find ourselves in the modern era, utilizing solar energy production everywhere and anywhere we can. From basic, everyday equipment such as calculators and flashlights, to crucial NASA satellites that feed us information about our universe we could barely dream of 30 years ago, solar has well and truly become a vital part of our society. The best part is that it’s not even close to being fully optimized yet. In fact, it’s just hitting its growth spurt.
In 2019, a study performed by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) was able to confidently determine that by 2050, solar energy would be able to easily power a quarter of global electricity demand, if not more. To put that into perspective, currently, solar energy is only responsible for 3% of current energy production worldwide. That’s an increase of over eight times in only thirty years! What’s more, as the methodology and technology to produce solar panels become simpler and cheaper, they too will grow more widespread and accessible to the average residential household. Furthermore, as the nation gears more towards a solar-focused future, new tax credits and incentives will be announced to make solar an even more promising avenue for the average consumer than it already is. In thirty years, it won’t be all that unusual to look back at today with the same conclusions people have now about solar in the ’90s. “They were just getting started!”
-Blog Written by Dax Garrens