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The Great Solar Debate - Is Solar Too Expensive?


One of the most common arguments against the expansion of solar energy is that solar power is just too expensive. People feel that there is no good reason to financially support solar energy when there are other perfectly good options that supply the same amount of energy for a lot less money. To be fair, these individuals make a good case with evidence to back it up.

The Great Solar Debate
By Gabriel Toth
 
Is Solar Too Expensive?
One of the most common arguments against the expansion of solar energy is that solar power is just too expensive. People feel that there is no good reason to financially support solar energy when there are other perfectly good options that supply the same amount of energy for a lot less money. To be fair, these individuals make a good case with evidence to back it up. The average production cost of fossil fuels per megawatt-hour was roughly $100 last year, compared to $200 for solar. Critics are certainly right to argue that solar is currently more expensive than other options.
 
The price difference between solar and fossil fuels can understandably be seen as a negative. However, when you consider that solar power production costs are down from $500 just five years before, it can be viewed as a positive, especially since prices will only decrease as technology progresses. Meanwhile, fossil fuel costs will theoretically increase at some point as resources become scarcer. In fact, Green Tech Media predicts that by the year 2020, it will be more economical in 42 states to use rooftop solar panels than it will be to use fossil fuels. It is already the case in 20 states.
 
As solar costs decrease, federal government rebates are available to promote solar energy use. Until the end of 2019, there will be a 30% tax credit available for investment in solar property, allowing customers to take advantage of an already decreasing cost for solar installations, with an added bonus. Sure, solar power isn’t exactly where everyone would like it to be in terms of price, but it is important that the transition to solar occurs sooner rather than later. The government understands that, hence the existence of the credit. This incentive represents a confidence at the federal government level in solar energy.
 
Nobody said that the road to a society where renewable energy is king would be an easy one to travel. Nevertheless, it is a path we must follow, with expected drawbacks along the way, one of which is the cost compared to traditional sources. With advancements allowing solar energy to make as much sense economically as fossil fuels, as well as existing tax credits that make solar less financially burdensome, the issue of cost will soon be in the rearview mirror.
 
Thanks for checking out this edition of The Great Solar Debate, and be sure to tune in next time, where we’ll discuss the environmental impact of manufacturing solar panels.
 

 

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