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  • Writer's picturePacific Sun Technologies

8 Solar Energy Facts in 2017



The U.S. solar industry has witnessed remarkable growth in the past decade while the cost of solar has declined by nearly 70 percent. Now that solar has entered the mainstream, everyday homeowners are starting to wonder how much solar could save them and how simple making the switch really could be. If you’re starting to think about installing solar panels, it’s helpful to understand the big picture for solar power. In this article, we’ll break down eight facts about solar energy that may surprise you.


  1. Solar is now the cheapest and most abundant energy source in the world

In December 2016, the cost of building and installing new solar electricity generation dropped to $1.65 per watt, narrowly beating out its renewable counterpart wind ($1.66/Watt) and its fossil fuel competitors.

A major turning point in terms of the economics of solar vs. fossil fuels occurred in 2016 when a commercial solar provider in Dubai offered solar electricity for sale at $0.029 cents per kilowatt hour, setting a world record for solar as well as all energy sources. Today, there are 89 Petawatts (PW) of potential solar energy production available on earth, making solar the world’s most abundant available source of power.

  1. Over a million solar systems have been installed in the U.S. alone

In early 2016, the millionth solar system was installed in the U.S., notching a milestone that took 40 years for the photovoltaic industry to reach. However, the more notable story that came with this achievement is the forecasted timeline for the next million installations, which is expected to happen in the next two years. This comparison is a meaningful illustration of solar’s rapid pace as the fastest growing energy resource in the world.

  1. Multiple manufacturers offer a solar panel today above 20 percent efficiency

Solar panel efficiency levels have been increasing as quickly as solar costs are declining, thanks to the scientific community’s focus on the need for innovation in solar technology. To help offer perspective, just five years ago the most efficient solar panel that money could buy was 17.8 percent. In 2017, homeowners can get affordable quotes for solar panels in the 20 to 23 percent efficiency range anywhere in the U.S. In terms of solar cell efficiency.

  1. Homeowners in the U.S. have achieved breakeven point with solar in as short as 3 years

The cost of solar has plummeted while the cost of grid electricity has continued to gradually rise, and the concept of the solar “break-even point” with solar has become more and more attractive. In 2017, most homeowners are seeing payback periods between five and eight years and 20-year savings estimates upwards of $20,000. Some homeowners are seeing break-even points as low as three to four years in states where utility