Today’s solar markets are valued at $24.2 billion. By the year 2021, this number is expected to grow to $180.7 billion, according to a recent WinterGreen Research report discussing the market shares, strategies and forecasts of the solar panel industry.

The study explained that while the industry previously remained reliant on governmental contracts and subsidies to stay competitive, solar panels have recently become popular among businesses and individuals due to a number of factors. The Consumerist reported that affordability is one of the most significant elements driving their growth. Their low cost is largely due to high rates of production throughout the world. Many nations realized their efficiency and started making them in large quantities, which has driven down price points. This was especially true for China, a country that rapidly built several solar panel factories.

National Public Radio’s Jacob Goldstein did a report investigating the dropping prices of solar panels, where he discovered that their popularity among private residences has only recently expanded, mostly because prices have fallen drastically in just the past few years. He reported that the monthly power bill for a house in New York went from $180 to $100-$110 after the owners installed solar panels.

Despite their low cost and high rates of efficiency, NPR explained that hidden costs come with the installation process, which is why solar panels are still not completely ubiquitous in residential neighborhoods. This is mostly because installation is still a time-consuming process. As more people make the shift toward solar energy, however, this process is becoming more streamlined and efficient, which will likely help boost the solar panel market.

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Sources:

http://www.npr.org/2015/04/10/398704224/how-solar-power-has-gotten-so-cheap-so-fast

http://consumerist.com/2015/04/13/why-solar-panels-are-suddenly-sprouting-on-everyones-roofs/

http://www.whatech.com/market-research-reports/press-release/green-technology/53446-research-delivers-insight-into-the-solar-panels-market-is-expected-to-reach-180-7-billion-by-2021