Last year, we raised the question of whether solar rooftop tiles would make a bold impact on the energy industry. Here we look at how the technology has progressed and what impact it’s had around the globe.
Our update comes amidst reports that the United States’ solar industry has slowed dramatically. The increase in other forms of technology, low oil prices and the fracking boom have stalled solar sales worldwide.
Elon Musk’s Solar City announced that solar roof tiles will be launched this year but unfortunately that didn’t seem to light up the industry. The solar slowdown did not bode well for the company during 2016 as it slashed nearly 20% of its workforce and sales became stagnant.
Solar City reduced its workforce by nearly 20% in 2016 after acquisition
Recently purchased by Tesla, Solar City, the largest solar energy installation company in the United States, reduced its staff force in operations, installations, manufacturing, sales, and marketing, but claimed it was only doing so to hold onto its assets. However, critics weren’t so sure.
Despite the dip in Solar City’s fortunes last year, Musk is confident that when the solar rooftop tiles are launched it will be good for business. The company estimates the tiles will be available in mid-2017. However, additional specifications are still sparse and further details are lacking.
Solar City estimates tiles will be available in 2017 but details and updates are lacking
It’s not all doom and gloom for the solar and wind sectors as they are set to grow exponentially in the years to come as natural resources become depleted and oil prices increase.
What’s more, many US-based companies are realizing the potential of the technology early on and are preparing for the future solar energy boom.
Greenheath Corp., one of America leading solar power providers, has invested millions in developing the Curve solar panels. They have labeled it as “the most flexible and lightweight solar rooftop panel in the market to date.”
The Curve has been hailed as the latest technological breakthrough in the industry and is the first to be introduced in the world, with the makers stating that it will contribute to huge energy savings and will revolutionize the market.
Meanwhile, Amazon has announced that it will install solar panels on 15 of its fulfillment and storing centers in the United States throughout 2017. That may sound a small number but their warehouse facilities in Nevada, Delaware, California, New Jersey, and Maryland account for millions of square feet of solar roof space that is capable of reflecting 41MW of installed capacity.
Solar energy will eventually take off, but for now, it must plod along on the back-burner until the world is really ready to embrace such technology.