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How Does Solar Energy Impact the Economy?



The full impact of solar energy is still being considered, as it depends on a number of factors, such as the increase in renewable resources and how communities use these resources. However, we know that solar energy is having an impact on the economy, partly because of the centralised power plants and cell factories that have grown in number over the past few years.

Solar generating plants that are constructed have an immediate economic benefit because they produce construction jobs. For example, constructing a 1000 mw plant would lead to around 2000 jobs over the three or four years of it being built. Obviously after this time the economic benefit tapers off before climbing again as the plant is populated with employees. Plant construction is only part of the story.

Solar power is available in all areas of the community; it is widely distributed and harnessed through the placing of solar cells on the roofs of local buildings. Local installation naturally creates local jobs, for commercial, utility and residential use. This stimulates local economy. If these cells were manufactured locally, creating the chain of progression needed for solar energy distribution, this would further boost the economy through manufacturing jobs.

The cost of solar energy is reducing significantly and has been for the past few years. Its reduction rate is approximately 4% each year and this is as a result of the development of conversion efficiencies within solar cells. This means that the wattage cost is lowered.

New technologies

New technologies, such as Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) are gaining attention in the global economy. This process involves placing lenses of several mirrors to produce more heat and to channel them to PV systems. CSP costs are lowering and specialists predict that by 2050 around 25% of global energy will come from CSP. This will lower the cost further. The U.S and Spain are currently experiencing growth in their CSP industries and their economies are benefiting from this.

Globally, solar energy is having a significant impact on the economy. This type of energy enables remote locations to be powered, thus reaching communities without other forms of electricity and benefiting them hugely.

Expectations are that the world will be dominated by solar energy within the next three decades and that we will all be reaping the rewards of the sun’s natural energy and reducing the earth’s carbon emissions.

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