Photovoltaic technology has a very straightforward value proposition:it converts sunlight to electricity. Its advantages are simple tounderstand: sunshine is free, and the conversion process yields cleanenergy, with no harmful emissions or byproducts.
Solar cellsare long-lasting and non-polluting, typically operating for 25 yearsbefore being recycled. Photovoltaic systems have no moving parts, whichmeans maintenance is minimal as parts do not wear out and requirereplacement, so lifecycle operational costs are low.
According to the NextGen Research study “The Global Photovoltaic Market: Sunny Prospects for Energy Independence Through Solar Power”photovoltaic demand will increase at a CAGR of nearly 24 percent from2008 to 2013, with markedly stronger growth starting in 2011 after theglobal economy rebounds from the ongoing global recession.
Drivingthe installation and use of photovoltaics are concerns over climatechange and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as thedrive for energy independence, which has become a matter of nationalsecurity for many countries.
Additionally, the development ofa domestic photovoltaic industry is seen as a promising means ofeconomic stimulation during a difficult fiscal period, as well as a wayto transition to a green economy.
Larry Fisher, ResearchDirector of NextGen Research, said: "Federal, state and localgovernments provide economic support to help alternative energy sourceslike photovoltaic achieve parity, the point at which the cost ofgenerating electricity from renewable sources equals that ofelectricity generated through the use of conventional sources, likecoal or natural gas.
"That support is crucial, at least untilthe photovoltaic industry can achieve the necessary economies of scaleto compete with standard, greenhouse gas-emitting energy sources.
"Feed-intariffs have been effective in promoting photovoltaic power generationin Germany, Italy, and elsewhere; these tariffs mandate a baselineprice at which the local utility must purchase excess electricity froma residential photovoltaic system.
"The US offers a 30 percenttax credit for consumers installing a photovoltaic system, while manyUS states also offer tax incentives, as well as rebates, grants andloans, to help support the growth and use of photovoltaics."
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