Solar energy use is on the rise across the world and it's expected to become mainstream as the capacity grows 10-fold within seven years, experts say.

As the population grows, so is the increasing demand for energy. That is why installing solar panels have been a very practical means to save energy as well as money.

One renewable energy source that is not only cheap but also environment-friendly is the Sun. With almost limitless energy coming from the Sun each day, scientists have been trying to harness this resource for the world to use.

"By the end of 2020, the amount of installed solar capacity will be 300 percent higher than today," Dan Whitten, vice president of communications at the Solar Energy Industries Association, said.

"Nationwide, it grew 10 times between 2008 and 2015," he added.

The greatest problem that the solar industry has faced has been the cost of producing energy from solar panels. The installation of solar panels is very expensive and time-consuming than other conventional methods like burning fossil fuels.

In recent years, however, the price of solar panels has been decreasing and the benefits of having solar panels installed will outweigh the cost and process of using them.

In San Francisco, a legislation has been passed that requires all new buildings under 10 storeys high to have rooftop solar panels, the largest one in the United States. Other smaller cities in California have similar mandates but San Francisco is the largest city to adopt the new policy.

Starting January 2017, all new buildings must either have solar PV or solar thermal panels installed on their rooftops.

"In a dense, urban environment, we need to be smart and efficient about how we maximize the use of our space to achieve goals such as promoting renewable energy and improving our environment," said Supervisor Scott Wiener, the one who introduced the legislation.

In the U.S., solar market is expected to grow by as much as 119 percent in 2016. Projections show that 16 gigawatts (GW) of solar will be installed across the United States in 2016, up from the record-breaking 7.3 GW installed last year, the GTM Research's U.S. Solar Market Insight Report 2015 Year in Review said.

Solar energy offers a lot of benefits including the reduced impact of carbon emissions on the atmosphere. As the cost of solar installations becomes lesser by the minute, so is the reductions in carbon emissions from dirtier energy sources that has been linked to global warming.

Photo: Elliott Brown | Flickr 

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