Countries like America have seen an amazing rise in the percentage of electricity in the energy marketplace that is derived purely from solar power; so much so that there is now a new question that may come into play in the not too distant future. That is, what will we do with all this solar power produced electricity when we get to the point where there is too much of it?  

Let me guess? You are sitting back in your chair thinking I am crazy? Well remember I don’t create the solar news, I just report on it. I was skeptical when researching this myself. So let’s take a closer look at those facts and figures that inspired me to write this piece. 

Leave it to the Aussies to be First 

As of right now it’s the Aussies who most likely will be the ones to ask this solar energy question first. That’s only fitting because they are the world’s leading solar power energy producing country by percentage. This is a condition that has been driven by the long running subsidies that various Australian government agencies have given to those that are installing and producing rooftop solar energy applications. 

What type of growth has Australia seen in the private solar energy sector recently? It all starts with the staggering figure that estimates some 3.5 million solar cell panels were placed on rooftops throughout the country just in 2017 alone. These solar panels are now producing so much solar electric power that 1 in every 5 people that install them are selling their excess solar generated electricity back to the power grid. That 20% solar energy sell-back figure is eye catching to say the least. 

If this trend continues at this pace in Australia you can expect to see some changes in the government’s solar energy policies too. These will most likely be in the form of solar subsidy cutbacks or solar subsidy program eliminations altogether. Australia is starting to produce so much excess solar energy during the hottest part of the day, that it’s possible it may significantly drive down the price that excess solar energy producers get for selling their electricity back to the power grid in the near future. 

What about Solar Power Production in the USA? 

While solar generated power is not capturing as big a percentage of the electrical production grid as solar generated power is in Australia, even small percentage points of growth in solar generated power in America represent a significant amount of electricity produced by solar energy.  

At this time renewable energy sources make up just 17% of America’s energy production and solar energy is less than 2% of this figure but its gaining. Right now hydroelectric power and wind generated electric power are by far the biggest renewable energy production sources. 

The increases in solar energy generated power in the USA may not seem like much but they are actually very impressive figures when you look closer at them.  There is an estimated 30 gigawatts of grid connected solar energy being produced today. That’s more than enough to power some 5.7 million homes in the USA.  

What’s even more impressive is that these figures do not include the some estimated 24 billion kWh of electricity that is generated from small scale solar operations each year that are not connected directly to the power grid. 

So while America is further removed from the question ‘what will it do with all its excess solar generated electricity?’. It can still see that in the distant future that this is a distinct possibility. Especially as solar panel prices remain constant and there are even more gains made in solar energy capturing technologies such as some of the new thin film solar panel applications. 

Don’t Think about It Too Much Now, But Sooner than Later it May Be a Reality 

While this is a question that once seemed impossible to think about it’s a very real and distinct possibility it will be asked in the not too distant future. Especially with the advances that have been made in solar power production and in solar generated power storage. In reality though, this is most likely not a question that will be asked in most of our lifetimes but it sure will be nice if and when it does happen. Using renewable solar power for energy just has so many benefits for us all, and the planet too. 

 

 

Sources: 

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-07/solar-power-what-happens-when-theres-too-much/9522192 

https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=427&t=3 

https://www.energy.gov/eere/solarpoweringamerica/solar-energy-united-states 

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