Developing technology is paving the way for greater reliance on clean energy, according to the Renewables 2019 report by the International Energy Agency. Photovoltaics, such as solar panels, are a major part of the push away from conventional energy sources such as oil and natural gas as scientists warn that usage of fossil fuels is driving climate change and feeding extreme weather systems.
Legislation is further accelerating the shift, with energy-efficiency mandates and measures such as a tax on heating oil in the city of Seattle starting next year.
“Solar photovoltaic accounts for 60 percent of the rise," according to the report, which was published on Monday. "The share of renewables in global power generation is set to rise from 26 percent today to 30 percent in 2024.” According to the IEA report, three-fourths of all expected solar installations over the next five years are expected to be in commercial settings.
Residential buildings, however, will remain a strong market. “The number of solar rooftop systems on homes is set to more than double to some 100 million by 2024," with the top markets in Australia, Belgium, California, the Netherlands and Austria, according to the report.
William Kaufman, an architect who specializes in luxury homes and founded the solar company Wattlots, said products such as Tesla’s “relatively attractive solar shingle” can help the push towards sustainability by making the photovoltaic panels more attractive. Kaufman holds several patents for his unique solar parking lot structures, including the Power Arbor.
“While it is true that more and more solar panels appear to be popping up on rooftops in neighborhoods throughout America, the technology and the application is not without its limits,” Kaufman told FOX Business.
“Cost continues to be a barrier to entry for most homeowners," he said, which is they like deals in which they can buy back energy gathered by the panels in exchange for up-front installation costs.
Nonetheless, “these systems are usually the lowest common denominator in terms of their aesthetic quality," he said. "Solar panels are considered a blight in many communities.”