Solar economics- A whole new ball game

One of the things that drives alternative energy advocates up the wall about trying to explain the benefits of these energy sources is that some people simply don’t understand the economics of alternative energy. Nowhere is this more obvious than with solar power. The average solar panel is actually an economic asset as much as a planet-saving technology, but naturally the media and its five second attention span never mention this very basic fact.

Getting the solar message across
As the dino-fuels become more expensive and interfere with the bottom lines of more businesses and family budgets, the economic message will eventually sink in. The alternative energy industries, however, could be doing a lot more to get their message across in hard dollar terms. It’s important to recognize that the levels of unfamiliarity about alternative energy sources aren’t so much selective ignorance as a case of simply not getting the facts communicated effectively.

It’s critically important to make sure that the message that alternative energies are costs savers and game-changers for the bottom line gets through to the public, economists and governments. Arguing about environmental principles is too easy. Arguing with figures is a lot more difficult. Solar power can do a respectable job of proving its values at spreadsheet level, so it’d be nice to see some publicists getting to work on the subject, preferably ASAP.

The solar economic overview
In economic terms, solar power as an energy source is almost unprecedented. Being a passive energy source puts it in the same class as old water wheels and windmills, a type of energy technology which doesn’t have an equivalent in modern economics. There simply isn’t an economic model to assess the effect of universal solar power usage. That’s one of the main reasons economics as a science is dragging the chain on assessing the global values of solar power.

Solar power comes with some massive economic benefits
A comparatively short, competition-based supply chain: The logistics of solar are pretty much entirely contained in the assembly process. At end user point, the most that’s likely to ever be required is some maintenance. This short supply chain means that real costs to the economy are very low overall, particularly if assessed over time and in relation to competition for consumer dollars.

  • Flexibility and adaptability: Spreading cities have exposed the Achilles heel of the grids. Real cost factors are building up to the point at which only developers can afford to expand traditional grids. Solar simply doesn’t have that problem.
  • Solar power generation has real community dollar values: Individually, a solar power generation system produces X amount of power at a measurable cost. Collectively, particularly if fed into a grid system, solar power values increase exponentially, across the entire grid. Solar power needs to be seen as a community asset as much as a household asset.
  • Commercially, solar power is a true cost saver: The overheads of running an office or a factory can be colossal in terms of power costs. Anything which impacts those costs positively, particularly on a large scale, directly affects the entire economy. The solar panels springing up in New York’s notoriously thrifty schools aren’t there solely for fashion reasons, either, and this is another commercial/social community solar asset that needs recognition.

When you’re installing solar panels for your home, consider for a moment your own economic issues- If it makes economic sense to install solar in your home, how about the world? Interesting thought, isn’t it?


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