The solar power industry is not unique in that the ultimate product being created is electricity that is used to power homes and businesses. The production method itself is what sets it apart from other industries that produce the same product. In the past, fuel sources were needed to be exhausted or burned, ultimately turning generators which produced electricity. These types of fuel sources were generally naturally occurring elements that were mined or harvested from the earth. Alternative energy uses naturally occurring fuel sources which do not need to be burned in order to be utilized in the same process, generally consisting of wind, water and sun. These elements are harvested and used in processes which ultimately turn turbines and produce electricity without destroying them or producing by-products like pollution or waste. In the case of solar, the sun’s heat is gathered on technologically advanced panels which heats liquid in tubes attached to the panels. The expansion of this liquid turns turbines to produce electricity. While this is a very basic portrayal of the process, the main takeaway is that the fuel source used is both clean and free.
In the fossil fuel production methods, the fuel source is not free. Instead it is something that must be mined or harvested using actual labor and machinery. It is also in limited supply, creating a situation where the prices that must be paid for that fuel source are dictated by the open market. The combination of the costs of fuel and the associated costs of the synthesis of that fuel into electricity produce the price that customers must pay in order for the company to remain profitable. Alternative energy sources like solar power are different in that the fuel source itself has no associated cost, and the ultimate price paid by the consumer is dictated by the synthesis costs and associated equipment. Solar power is a technologically advanced industry, and as such it uses technologically advanced equipment. This equipment is both sensitive and expensive, and the repair and replacement of this equipment must be predicted and figured into the business plan in order for a solar company to remain profitable. The repair and replacement of equipment is the largest issue facing the solar industry, as there is no shortage of sunlight in most places. Instead, the damage that occurs on a regular basis to the equipment used in the process needs to be reduced in order to drive prices of production down below that of the fossil industry. Luckily, technology advances quickly and solutions are continually being brought to market.
Solar surge protection is one of the most important aspects of cost reduction in the solar industry, because limiting damage done to sensitive electronics equipment attached to solar panels via power lines can contribute to the solar farms longevity and production. Due to their remote and exposed nature, solar panels are continually the victims of the elements, including lightning strikes, and while that damage received at the strike point is unlikely to be able to be mitigated, the damage as a result of the subsequent surge of electricity can be. Through the integration of advanced surge protection devices at critical points, the transients produced by lightning strikes to solar panels can be minimized so they have little to no effect on attached equipment. Through continual advancements in the solar surge protection market, we will eventually see costs of power production reduced, producing a cleaner and more economical energy product.