Part 1: Should I wait for more advanced solar technologies to emerge?
This is a question that comes up more often than you might think. Not unlike the consumer electronics industry (read: TVs, home computers etc.), the solar energy industry has and continues to make great strides and innovative advancements in technology. These improvements can increase the efficiency of the solar system but more often they enable the solar product to be installed more effectively or integrate into your home or building’s electrical system more readily.
Interestingly, the type of solar cells that are being installed today are shockingly (pun intended) similar to the ones that NASA is using to power the Mars rover right now. News that you hear of dramatic improvements in solar cell efficiency in a laboratory somewhere in Denmark do not necessarily reflect technology that will be available or affordable in the near term or at all. Where is my flying car I was promised long ago? They exist, but you don’t want to see the price tag! The systems we design are time-tested and proven and therefore represent a secure investment that will definitely see a return.
Unlike televisions or computers however, there is a cost associated with delaying an investment in solar energy production. We often hear it referred to as “the cost of doing nothing”. What this means is that when you adopt a wait and see approach you increase your risk on several fronts. I will cover those in part II of this story.