When you think of solar energy, one word should come to mind: efficiency.

Solar energy is created when the sun’s energy is captured and turned into electricity. Through the use of solar panels, solar energy can power homes and businesses. To understand just how efficient solar power is, you first need to understand how solar panels work.

Our sun constantly releases tiny packets of energy, known as photons, which travel all the way to our planet in less than nine minutes. The amount of photons that impact our planet are more than enough needed to generate plenty of solar energy throughout the planet. Even though solar power accounts for a small percentage of the energy consumed in the United States, it has become the world’s fastest growing source of power. “A report shows that solar energy was the fastest-growing source of power last year, accounting for almost two-thirds of net new capacity globally,” per the USA Today.

The boom in the solar power industry is due in large part to the growth of photovoltaic panel installations. Last year the industry saw over $160 billion in investments, due in large part to their proven efficiency. As solar panel efficiency levels have increased, solar power costs have decreased – leading to billions more in investments.

The technology behind solar panel efficiency has grown at a rapid pace. In the last five years, solar panels have increased by 6 percent in efficiency, going from 17.8 percent to anywhere between 20 percent and 23 percent.

By becoming more efficient, solar installations offer homes and businesses a cleaner renewable alternative that continues to improve. The planet will eventually run out of oil and coal – making the continued development of solar power a top priority.

How solar power benefits you

The U.S. has over a million solar power systems installed, with that number consistently growing by the day. Currently, the U.S. has enough gigawatts installed to power eleven million homes. Luckily there are ways for us to take advantage of this clean renewable source of energy.

Unfortunately there are some cities and states that have regulations, making it quite difficult to purchase your own solar panels. There is a way to get around this issue, and that is through Community Solar. With Community Solar, anyone can sign up for a solar panel, which is then hosted somewhere else. Regardless if you’re a homeowner or a renter, this option is available to you. To get an even better perspective on Community Solar, check out our blog about how community solar works.

If you do happen to be a homeowner who is able to install their own solar panels, you’ve probably wondered if there’s a way you can become completely energy dependent. Well due in large part to the latest innovations, homeowners can now purchase solar-plus-storage systems. Brands such as Tesla and LG have entered into the solar storage industry, which has helped the cost of solar storage to take a major dip – making it affordable for homeowners.

There are many solar panels to choose from, and the options will only continue to grow, while prices will continue to fall. Solar power energy offers an efficient and clean renewable source, that can get the job done for half the price.