Solar panels are a great option to help reduce emissions as homes are expected to become the single largest consumer of electricity, surpassing industry, and therefore the largest contributor of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050—but there is still one big hurdle to overcome.
On this blog, we have explained in-depth what solar is and how it can help reduce emissions, but this technology—like much else in the smart and sustainable home—comes with a cost. Cost is perhaps one of the biggest disadvantages of solar energy to this day, next to the fact that it can be dependent on weather in the region.
Naturally, the cost of solar panels is going to depend on the type of system, roof type, and the location of the home or building, with the average cost ranging anywhere from $3,000 to $35,000. Yes, that is a wide range to consider. While prices have dropped in the past decade, I am not sure they are dropping fast enough for the average consumer, although there are some really big players just beginning to enter the market that could shake things up a bit.
Just this month, IKEA announced its objective to make solar energy more accessible to the average homeowner. Having launched its home solar service in eight markets, this company recognizes that in order to have a real impact, it needs to make its solar affordable. Not yet available in the United States, the home solar solution includes solar panels and a control system that monitors productions. Still, the company’s objective is to make home solar widely available as soon as possible.
IKEA’s announcement comes after Tesla has already announced Solar Roof, which is a beautifully designed, fully integrated solar and storage system. Here each tile complements a home’s natural aesthetic styling. The Solar Roof tiles are durable, strong, and engineered for all-weather protection and can produce clean energy for homes.
Tesla claims the in-house team of energy professionals have already installed more than 3.6 GW of clean solar energy across 400,000 roofs, which is the equivalent of 10 million traditional solar panels. There is built-in connectivity that provides over-the-air software updates that can be monitored on the Tesla app.
Naturally, IKEA and Tesla are targeting two very different markets here, but when large companies come in, disruption happens. This is what Amazon did in many markets, as it has either galvanized action among its competitors, forced them either out of business, or certainly to rethink how they do business online, as I suggest in my book Sustainable in a Circular World.
Will the same thing happen in the home solar market? Time will tell, but one thing is for sure, solar is in need of disruption.
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