Solar energy has been used in some form or another since ancient times but the solar energy future remains wide open. The reason for this is that there are so many variables associated with how mainstream solar energy usage becomes. The biggest deciding factor of solar energy in the future is its cost. Current critics of solar energy state that overall coal and other fossil fuels are just much more affordable.
While fossil fuels may be more economical in the short term, the damage on the environment must be considered. The good news is that when we look ahead it looks as though the time when solar power is the same cost as coal based electricity is only about ten years away, and in some regions it will be less than ten years. When you pair this same cost for the power with the fact that there are often many tax incentives associated with solar power, the time when solar power is the more economically and environmentally friendly alternative isn’t that far off in the future.
Furthermore, in some areas of the world coal based electricity and solar energy are already about the same. California or even Italy are encouraging because in these places solar panels provide electricity for about 45 cents per kilowatt hour. Of course, world wide the cost of solar power is still more expensive than coal based power and this has most people thinking twice about converting.
Fortunately, the cost of solar power is coming down, which means that the future of solar power is looking good. How quickly solar power is the rule not the exception really has to do with cost. The more that the government pushes consumers toward a fossil free future, the more attention solar power will get and the more attempts will be made to reduce the cost and increase the production of solar power.
The hope is that within five to ten years solar power will be offered at the same price, or perhaps even lower, than coal based power is now offered. In the mean time we all just have to be patient and encourage both public and private sources to invest in solar powered projects and systems. The more funding solar power projects get, the more the system can be refined, bringing the price down, so that solar power is an alternative that is available to the majority of households.