According to USA Today, solar power has been a cost-prohibitive alternative energy source for years, but several companies are working to make it more affordable. Deutsche Bank predicts solar energy system prices will be on par with conventional electricity after energy savings are factored in by 2014. One reason solar prices are becoming more reasonable is the investment pouring into new innovations.

Research firm Clean Edge claims that venture capital firms invested $264 million into solar companies, up from $64 million in 2004. Semiconductor firms also have made solar more efficient, so they pull more power from sunlight and use less silicon. Couple the advancements in development with rising demand, and solar panels are on course to becoming more widely adopted as a business and home appliance.  EC