There have been many trends posted involving solar power but in the US it still only accounts for 1% of the electricity generated. Even though it is getting cheaper the main barrier is still the cost. Although growing investment, technological breakthroughs and lower prices have lead to an increase in sales, which lowers prices further due to economy of scale. According to Deutsche Bank (DB), by 2014, solar-system prices will be competitive with conventional electricity when energy savings are figured in, without government incentives. The solar industry is expected to triple its business in the next three years, powered in part by government incentives in Germany and Japan and in the US, customer rebates given by New Jersey and California.
A few dozen companies say advances in technology will let them halve the price of solar-panel installations in as little as three years. If that happens, solar panels would become common home and business appliances, says Brandon Owens of Cambridge Energy Research Associates. Innovations – led by semiconductor firms and a new crop of “thin-film” solar makers – wring more power from sunlight, use less silicon to make panels and make factories more efficient. Venture-capital firms pumped $264 million into solar companies in 2006, up from $64 million in 2004, research firm Clean Edge says. The start-ups also have benefited from $159 million in U.S. research grants this year, largesse from efforts to reduce power plants’ global-warming emissions.