Slowly but surely we’re seeing progress on the renewable energy front. Solar power is gaining traction as a power source for residential HVAC equipment.
Last year LG announced its entry into the U.S. solar market with products specifically designed for residential use. Geoff Slevin, vice president of LG’s Solar Division, said the U.S. is now one of the fastest growing solar markets in the world, partly due to government incentives.
LG’s improved designs for residential applications eliminate several of the flaws and costs of earlier designs. The updated panels claim a lifespan of about 25 years. And it sounds like they’ve taken a cue from the U.S. postal system, producing electricity consistently under harsh conditions – rain, wind and snow (though no mention of sleet and hail).
In February of this year LG announced its collaboration with the University of Delaware to explore development of a high-voltage solar cell. The project will explore solar cell designs that use more of the available bandwidth of sunlight to increase power output while minimizing the size of the solar panel. Reducing the size of PV panels is a key to making solar power more accessible for residential customers. New designs are also bringing down costs, which is essential for solar to really have widespread applications.
It’s interesting to watch this from an HVAC perspective. the question is will residential solar use catch on in a big way? As some comments have shown, and I agree, it will be driven by price affordability to the mass market. There’s no doubt that the technology is getting much more efficient to produce, but there still seems to be so many advances in technology that a standard is somewhat off in the distance still and therefore, the price tipping point is too. No matter what the timing is, our business is certainly in for some changes and we have to be prepared for it.