One of the benefits of renewable energies is the flexibility they allow. We are trying to move away from using oil in this country not only because of its pollution, but also because of security and cost issues from depending so heavily on a single source of energy. For these reasons, I don’t think solar panels will be on all roofs any time in the near future. They are still too expensive, and in some areas of the country, other options may provide all of the energy an off-the-grid house needs (such as wind). In addition, solar panels themselves may be replaced by technology to place photovoltaics in other building materials rather than in the separate panels themselves to increase efficiencies.
Everyone in the industry strives to have all roofs equipped with solar. But right now solar is too expensive and there needs to be more state incentives. Even if solar stayed the same cost, but states gave great incentives for residential homes and commercial buildings solar would have a chance to be on all roofs!
In Hawaii there is a law that says all new homes built, beginning in 2010, need to install solar hot water heaters! So that is a great first start if wanting to build a new home!
Here is an interesting article about Dow’s roof shingles that are also solar panels. This technology is cheaper than others, but it is less efficient at converting sunlight to electricity. While this might be a tradeoff, it will likely improve with more research and could lead to many new homes having solar panels built in.
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