The sun is the ultimate source of all energy for the earth. Solar energy technologies are rapidly proliferating from the exotic sphere of space exploration, to widespread applications in residential and business use. Both the solar photovoltaic type (PV), that converts the sun’s energy directly into electrical energy, and the solar thermal, that are used to heat water are beginning to become economically attractive as mainstream energy sources.
The central issue with both PV, and thermal technologies has been the high capital cost, coupled with low or unpredictable energy output. In the jargon of the energy industry, these technologies are expensive and not “dispatchable.”
With increasing energy costs, improvements in both cost and performance, an increased awareness of the environment, and generous government and utility subsidies, the use of these technologies can make sense as a part of an overall energy strategy.
As with any investment in plant or equipment, factors such as the time horizon, cost of alternatives, incentives and tax considerations can all shape the relative attractiveness of solar technologies. SES can discuss these considerations with you as you engage in the process of considering the possibilities and challenges of this important emerging energy alternative.