Solar: It’s not that expensive

We all know how valuable solar energy is, but in order for solar power to compete with other forms of energy, it needs to be cheaper.

It’s not easy to install rooftop solar panels for it can be prohibitively expensive. For individual who wants solar panels, it doesn’t matter whether solar panels will save you money in the long run if you can’t afford them in the short run.

For people who rent for living having a solar panel is not an option. Unless your apartment comes with utilities included, your landlord has no incentive to install solar panels, because you would get all the savings.

But while the average family may be unable to make a costly investment in solar, the government has much deeper pockets — and an entire Department of Energy to work with.

Currently, there are now some state incentives helping to bring down the cost of solar panels for homeowners. But the federal government can do more — starting with powering its own buildings with solar power, yielding savings every year that could make a big difference to taxpayers and help expand the industry, potentially lowering prices for the rest of us.

We all know that solar industry is growing rapidly right? But, still remains a small part of our overall energy grid. One reason it’s not growing quicker is that energy companies and utilities are lobbying against its expansion, especially when it comes to privately owned panels.

When utility providers use coal, natural gas, or nuclear, in other words, they remain the centralized provider of energy and they get the profits. When you put a solar panel on your house, they don’t.

There’s a possibility that the reason solar hasn’t taken off more isn’t because it isn’t a viable technology, or because it’s more costly for consumers. But maybe it’s because it threatens corporate profits.

We didn’t forestall the switch to cars because we wanted to save jobs and profits in the horse and carriage industry. If we choose to give up on solar power because it’s expensive, rather than finding ways to make it cheaper, we’re basically choosing to continue burning fossil fuels.

Do we really want to protect dirty energy jobs and profits while the planet cooks?

Instead of lobbying to continue polluting the planet, the energy and utility sectors could expand their repertoire to include selling and installing solar panels. That would be a win-win for everyone.