Why is solar energy so expensive?



  1. 0 Votes

    This question highlights the necessity for economic sustainability as well as environmental sustainability.  Emerging technologies such as solar energy are ultimately aimed at making more efficient use of the limited resources at our disposal.  This means being able to produce more goods and services while exhausting less environmental resources.  In order for technological innovations to serve this purpose, they must be cost effective. 

    Calculating the cost of solar energy is particularly controversial.  The standard formula for projecting the cost of solar energy is called “levelized cost,” a term which describes how much the electricity would have to cost to recoup the cost of building the facility.  Because determining this cost relies on several unknown factors (how long the solar panels will be used, how many sunny days there will be, how well the solar panels will perform down the road), there are widely divergent projections with regard to levelized cost.

    The production of solar panels is expensive because most solar energy relies on silicon cells.  The purification process for creating this solar panels requires a lot of energy.  Basically, the high cost of the energy required to create solar panels currently offsets the benefit in the short term.  Current projections indicate that it would take roughly 20 years for solar panels to pay for themselves in offset electricity costs.  Many investors are unwilling to put forward capital on such a long-term risk with so many unknown factors.  

    At present, building the solar panels would eat up more energy (money) than it would save unless the manufacturers of solar panels can charge a high price.  As technology improves (ie as the manufacture of solar panels becomes cheaper), the cost for producing solar power will become more cost viable.

  2. 0 Votes

    Why not eliminate your electric bill forever?

    SolarUniverse has programs to help you get free solar power with our no money upfront programs.

    SolarUniverse will file for permits, rebates, grants and tax incentives. SolarUniverse will install “Solar Panels” for absolutely no initial costs.

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