Concerns about global warming and preserving our planet have sparked debates at every level concerning renewable resources. Even with solar generated power at the forefront of these discussions, much is still not understood about the advancements being made in this emerging technology.
Today, there are approximately 1.3 billion people without electricity worldwide. In remote areas of the world and developing countries, solar is the current trending technology with more than 3.5 million homes being powered by the sun in the remote village of Bangladesh. In Costa Rica, the country rarely relies on their diesel generation power plants, opting for the use of solar technology.
With smart cities increasingly investing in solar powered technology in the United States, many question why solar has yet to saturate the light tower market. The current market is dominated by the use of diesel generated light towers which are dirty, noisy and expensive to maintain.
For Tom Stevenson, CEO of Geneva Equipment in LaSalle, IL, the answer is simple “consumers are remembering the technology and price-points of solar in the 1980’s and 1990’s, both of bear no relationship to today’s solar.”
Today’s solar technology costs 90% less to produce electricity than it did in the 1980’s and uses magnetic hyperbolic dispersion coupled with thermophotovoltaic cells to convert heat into electricity. The most powerful panels are now approaching 50% sunlight to energy conversion.
Grid infrastructure remains a challenge for communities, businesses and consumers looking to make the conversion to solar. The use of a solar light tower, like those offered by Geneva Equipment, are increasing in popularity for personal and business uses. Stevenson explains:
“municipalities are cutting down on crime and improving operations with the use of our light towers in parking lots and during emergency situations. We have also seen a huge interest in our light towers from folks in the oil & gas and construction industries. They prefer the reduction in noise and fumes; but what they really like is not spending a dime on fuel! On average, our customers save $93,000 over a three-year span”.
The demand for solar increased significantly in the 1970’s when the cost of oil increased. By the late 1990’s, 1,000 megawatts of electricity were solar-powered world-wide, converting approximately 32% of sunlight into usable energy and costing over $1.50 (USD) per kWh. Today, solar generated power is the fastest-growing electricity source, projecting to increase from 7% in 2015 to 36% by 2050.