Will Solar Power Ever be Viable?

Some consumers out there still question whether solar power will ever be a viable source of energy. There's a common misconception that solar alone isn't enough to provide the energy people need. The truth is, though, that solar power has been reliable means of energy production for years now.

The solar technology available today is capable of running your vehicles, home, and business without any outside reliance on fossil fuel energy. On top of that, advancements in technology are making solar energy more efficient every year.

In 2008, the United States was capable of generating approximately 0.34 gigawatts (GW) of electricity. Today, it can produce a staggering 97.2 GW. To put that into perspective, that's enough energy to power 18 million average American homes. 

Experts from the U.S. Department of Energy claim that installing solar panels across 22,000 square miles of land, roughly the size of Lake Michigan, would be enough to supply power to the entire country. By using rooftops on preexisting buildings, this can be accomplished with minimal impact on the land and environment.

In addition to solar power's practicality, it's also become a cost-effective means of energy production. Costs for solar technology have dropped significantly over the last decade and solar is now the cheapest method for producing electricity. Since 2014, the cost of solar panels has fallen by almost 70% and the cost of energy from concentrated solar power plants has decreased by over 50% since 2010.

Between the increasing efficiency of solar power and the decreasing cost of it, the question is no longer will solar power ever be viable? It's how long until we stop using fossil fuels altogether?