Applied Materials, a semiconductor company, released its third annual solar energy survey just in time for the summer solstice. This is data regarding solar technology and industry stats. This year, 1,011 adults from the United States are surveyed early this year and below are the results gathered.
Solar power is cheaper today. Photovoltaic solar panel costs have decreased by 70 percent since 2008. The cost for PV panels is $1.25 per watt. By the end of 2011, the cost of solar power will be equal to that of traditional energy in some countries such as Spain, Italy and Brazil. In the United States, California will reach parity this year.
By 2020, at least 100 countries will have access to solar power with the same costs as traditional energy sources. Moe countries will reach price parity by that time.
According to the survey conducted by Applied Materials, 32 percent of Americans believe that solar energy is more efficient than other renewable alternative energy source. The other sources including in the survey are wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, and biomass.
A fifth of those who were surveyed believe that the United States is the leader in solar power. This is not the case because Italy, Germany, Spain and Japan use more solar power than the United States. Less than one percent of the energy consumption in the United States comes from solar power systems.
A quarter of those surveyed wants to install residential solar panels on their roofs. Half of the respondents said they don’t consider installing PV panels on their homes but if there are financial incentives then they might reconsider it. The most popular incentives among those surveyed are government incentives that can offset the initial costs of installation.
The younger they get, the more likely they would consider installing a solar power system in their homes. A third of the respondents between the ages of 18 and 44 would consider solar power compared to only 27 percent between the ages of 45 and 66 years old. Only 15 percent of the respondents above the age of 65 will consider the idea.
In other solar power news, renewable energy investment firm CleanPath LLC will invest $800 million in large solar power projects in North America. It will finance more than 1,000 megawatts of solar power plants in a five year period. The plants will have varying sizes, from 5MW to 100 MW.