Solar energy is seen as a clean alternative to fossil fuels. This is understandable given that it’s an energy source drawing from the Sun and creates zero carbon emissions. Solar is seen as the least environmentally dangerous energy source we have.
On the other side is nuclear. From what we’ve seen of movies and the news, nuclear energy is always on the verge of destroying the world. Many consumers imagine that letting nuclear energy into their homes would be like painting their children’s rooms with lead.
But what many don’t know is that nuclear, another zero-carbon energy source, already provides 63% of carbon-free electricity in the US. Not only that, but, according to James Moss of Energy Northwest, nuclear isn’t as dangerous as we think:
“American nuclear-energy facilities are among the safest places to work, not only in the utility industry, but in all industries. The oversight provided by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission and industry peers is second to none in the world.”
While solar may boast a more natural approach to energy, most solar companies don’t have the oversight that nuclear does. In some areas, this means the rooftop solar being installed now will be inefficient and obsolete within the next couple decades. Since these panels are installed by independent companies, their markup on retrofitting is completely up to them. Solar customers may benefit now from panels, but, when a replacement is required, the fees may be astronomical.
But why argue for nuclear over solar? It isn’t just that nuclear has already proven to be a safe and efficient way to provide the same benefits as solar or that it’s already a huge part of our energy in the US. More importantly, it’s because solar companies continue to benefit from retail-priced government subsidies, paid out in part by the utility users who can’t afford renewable energy.
Solar energy corporations continue to lobby against changes to both the pricing model for energy users and the transparency of their business dealings. Nuclear, with its proven record of transparency and oversight, would better serve Arizonans by helping to alleviate the high price of solar to a community.