Solar Inefficient in the Long Run

Many areas in the world are facing energy crises and responding with calls for renewable energy. While this may seem like a good fix, established countries who are testing out these sources find that they aren’t as useful–and certainly not as cost-effective–as predicted.

A report from The Australian details the ways in which solar is failing to make a better energy market for consumers and governments. The article points to the examples of several major countries participating in renewable energy and shows the lack of benefit these programs have brought about.

While solar is a likable proposal, it seems that it can’t produce effectively enough to replace the power sources its champions claim it’s superior to. According to the article:

The energy supply is not dense enough. The capital cost of consolidating it makes it cost prohibitive. But they are not only much more expensive because of this terminal disadvantage, they are low value intermittent power sources — every kilowatt has to be backed up by conventional power, dreaded fossil fuels. So we have two capital spends for the same output — one for the renewable and one for the conventional back-up.

So while the dream of solar may be a good one, the reality creates more problems than it solves. In the US, those problems come in the form of subsidies paid to solar companies and customers at retail prices. These subsidies are paid for in turn by low-income non-solar utility users who face soaring prices due to mandated solar programs. While these programs claim to introduce cheaper alternatives to fossil fuels, the US Department of Energy reports that electricity prices have risen at double the speed in states with mandates compared to those with no mandate.

In Arizona, APS and other utility companies are fighting to change the pricing model for solar so that the cost of renewable energy won’t negatively affect all customers. Arizonans have the opportunity to avoid the problems that the rest of the world is facing by voting for the demand charges model and fighting against government subsidies for inefficient renewable energy.

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