Whilst everybody else has been off worrying about climate change, something amazing has happened. The price of renewable energy technologies has plummeted.

The process all got going about forty years ago when the first silicon-based, photovoltaic panels were produced. Back then they were extraordinarily expensive and each watt of power produced cost hundreds of times more than coal.

Year after year the price went down, but because solar power was still so expensive, nobody noticed the trend. However, by the time we got to 2010, the price of solar had fallen so much that it was only double the price of coal and gas. Still too much for people to want to adopt en masse, but close enough to conventional technologies for people to sit up and take notice.

Since then the price has declined further and, depending on who you ask, we're roughly at parity. In other words, if you work out all the maths, going solar is about the same price as conventional electricity from a big coal power plant.

When you think about it, that's a big deal. We're at a tipping point that could see the world transition away from fossil fuels and towards renewable technologies. Once the price of solar falls below that of regular electricity, people will start to adopt solar panels. And that, in itself, will drive down the price still further.


Credit: telegraph.co.uk

As prices go down, the market will start to offer a host of home energy solutions to meet consumer needs. We've already seen some companies offering batteries so that people can store solar energy for use at night. And we've already seen huge solar farm projects out in the Nevada desert and across fields in Germany. Now we're seeing an uptick in households installing solar on their roofs, year after year and selling it back to the grid.

But going solar, rather than using the conventional grid, is actually more than mere economic calculation. Going solar means becoming independent. No longer are you beholden to some third party that decides how much your energy costs. No longer do you have to fear unpredictable price rises, as the cost of fossil fuels oscillate. With solar, you can just take what you need from nature. It's between you and the sun; nobody else.

Renewable energy has the potential to transform your home into a more self-contained unit. And being more self-contained, you're more independent and more secure.

Don't forget, there are also ways you can make whatever solar energy you capture go further. Installing better insulation can help retain more of the heat in your home. Remember, about 40% of all the heat in your house escapes through the attic. And installing vinyl windows can reduce any remaining heat loss from windows.

Fundamentally, the game has changed. No longer do we have to choose between having a green home and having money. We can actually do both. In fact, having a green home may mean that in the future we're better off.

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