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For about 20 years now, forward-thinking innovators have found ways to integrate solar energy into our homes, appliances, and vehicles to help us live a more healthy, eco-friendly existence. If you’re out and about these days, it’s not uncommon to see solar panels affixed to the roof of an apartment building, business, or restaurant in your neighborhood.

Indeed, in recent years, business owners and homeowners alike have become intrigued by the advantages offered by green energy options like solar panels. With this increase in popularity, more people than ever are working in the solar energy industry. Experts indicate that since 2010, the number of individuals involved in the sun energy industry has more than doubled. In fact, by 2015, more than 210,000 people worked for solar energy companies.

With this increase in popularity and competition, solar panels and sun-powered home accessories have become cheap enough for families and small business owners who are operating on a budget.

The Future of Solar Energy

Solar panels are cheaper than ever before, and the solar industry is growing faster than ever before. But what is the future of solar energy in the United States? According to scientists at MIT, the solar industry will continue to grow to the point where solar panels will generate enough energy to generate multi-terawatt energy systems.

The solar panels that are currently on the market generate approximately 550 megawatts of energy, so the MIT scientists are predicting that solar panels will become significantly more powerful by 2050. These same scientists also tell us: “Solar electricity generation is one of very few low-carbon energy technologies with the potential to grow to very large scale.”

Other Solar Power-Related Innovations

Today’s solar panels utilize silicon cells to generate energy. One way the solar energy industry is innovating solar panels is experimenting with different cell materials in their panels. One such material is perovskite, a crystal-like structure generally made from calcium titanium oxide. The reason scientists are intrigued by perovskite is that it is much cheaper than silicon, but that the material is just as energy efficient as silicon. Scientists believe that perovskite cells will allow solar companies to make solar panels even more affordable in the future.

At the same time, product engineers and researchers are also working on making silicon cheaper and more efficient for continued use in solar-based energy technologies.