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Is the Future Renewable?

Written by Monica Savaglia
Posted October 27, 2020

It’s been a long campaign for both of this year's U.S. presidential candidates and a wild ride for the American people. In the days leading up to Election Day on November 3, we’ve started to get a better understanding of what both sides are fighting for and their platforms. Of course, we’re not fortune-tellers, but we can envision what the next four years will look like under each administration. 

There’s been one hot topic throughout the election season, especially during the presidential debates, and that’s the topic of renewable energy and energy sources. In my view, an important part of being a world leader is the ability to adapt and innovate. I believe America can do that with renewable energy. It won’t be what a lot of people are accustomed to, but it appears that many Americans are ready for renewable energy.

A Gallup survey from 2019 revealed that only 22% of Americans believe that there needed to be more emphasis on coal, while 70% of Americans believed that the country should put more emphasis on wind energy and solar energy. This might come as a surprise to you... and it may not. A 2020 Pew Research Center study showed similar results. American adults were polled on whether the nation’s priority should be oil, gas, and coal or alternative energy sources like wind and solar for the nation’s energy supply. Seventy-nine percent preferred alternative energy compared to 20% who favored fossil fuels. 

These results show that Americans are willing to embrace change and transition to renewable energy for the future. The technology for renewable energy sources is advancing every day. Researchers at Oxford PV, a company out of the University of Oxford, made a huge breakthrough in 2018. It discovered that coating silicon with perovskite would achieve 28% efficiency which the company believes will eventually reach 40% or higher. 

This would greatly improve solar cell efficiency and make it possible to pump out more power with fewer panels which would significantly reduce the costs, amount of land needed, labor, and equipment to operate them. Oxford PV is hoping, one day, perovskite will replace silicon altogether. Perovskites can be printed using an inlet printer and be as thin as wallpaper and less intrusive to the Earth. Another company working with perovskite is Saul Technologies, which has begun printing perovskite solar cells using inkjet printers and will be supplying a Swedish construction company, Skanska Group, with the perovskite solar cells to use for a building on a commercial scale. Co-founder of Saule Technologies Olga Malinkiewicz said:

It is set to be a game-changer in the energy sector, because it works in every lighting condition. You can make it flexible. It’s a wonderful material. Architects will love it.

Renewable energy sources like solar power aren’t only an American interest; they're the future for energy. On October 12, solar energy covered South Australia's entire demand for the first time. This could soon happen in more places and for longer periods of time. The progress of solar’s efficiency and the decreasing cost of the panels is going to turn solar energy into a logical way to generate electricity. 

According to a recent report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), in some parts of the world, solar power is now the cheapest source of electricity in history because of policies that have encouraged renewable energy growth. More than 130 countries have policies in place that lower the cost it takes to build new solar installations. In fact, this year was the first time the IEA took these policies into consideration when calculating the cost of solar energy in its annual World Energy Outlook report. The report estimates the cost of solar power has fallen between 20%–50% per region compared to last year.

Brent Wanner, who leads power generation modeling and analysis for the IEA’s World Energy Outlook, recently said: 

It does seem that the policy support is here to stay which is a very good thing. These policy frameworks are really essential to underpinning those low costs, which then underpin the kind of growth we need to move towards climate ambitions. 

Having policies that encourage people and companies to use solar energy help make equipment affordable. The European Union (EU) has set a goal to source 32% of its energy from renewables by 2030. This transition to renewable energy isn’t going to be instantaneous, but changing policies and having more incentives to switch to renewable resources, like solar power, is going to be beneficial to not just America but the world. 

Another interesting stat the new IEA report points out is that the cost of coal in comparison to solar ranges from $55–$150 per megawatt-hour and it’s around the same as where it’s been for more than a decade. So if more incentives and policies help bring solar prices down, that means solar would become more affordable and a better alternative not only for the environment but for a person’s wallet.

So while it might seem like renewable energy sources like solar energy and wind energy have become a hot topic in America and an issue that divides us politically, it has been an important topic throughout the world for making a plan for the future of the earth and future generations. As you can see, the rest of the world is making the effort to transition to alternative power sources, so it's time that America makes the shift to remain a prominent world leader.  

Until next time,

Monica Savaglia Signature Park Avenue Digest

Monica Savaglia

Monica Savaglia is Wealth Daily’s IPO specialist. With passion and knowledge, she wants to open up the world of IPOs and their long-term potential to everyday investors. She does this through her newsletter IPO Authority, a one-stop resource for everything IPO. She also contributes regularly to the Wealth Daily e-letter. To learn more about Monica, click here.

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