The U.S. Energy Secretary, Ernest Moniz, has stated that he expects residential solar power could be as low as 6 cents per kilowatt hour in the coming years. This would make solar “extremely competitive” compared to other energy sources.
He specifically makes a point of stating that renewable sources of energy like wind and solar power will grow and remain competitive without subsidies. This is a strong and very important statement as critics of renewable energy often cite subsidies given to clean energy as a reason to not support them. Solar power can no longer be avoided for cost reasons.
Of course, as long as the fossil fuel industries continue to receive billions of dollars in tax breaks and other subsidies, so should solar power. From an environmental point of view, we should not continue to support sources of energy that pollute our world and put all of us at risk. Fossil fuels corporations still do not pay their fair share when you consider that they get away with massive amounts of environmental damage.
Going back to the cost conversation – the cost of solar power has, especially after subsidies, been close to 6 cents per kilowatt hour for some time now. This is not news for affordable solar installers and the homeowners that they have helped. The difference between paying 6 cents per kilowatt hour and the nation’s average of about 12 cents per kilowatt hour for conventional energy, over the long term, is many thousands of dollars.
Moniz is doing great work in trying to spread the word that residential solar power is now very affordable. After all, helping to transition America to one that subsists on a much great percentage of clean energy is a very significant part of his job. He can now confidently promote renewable energy for three big reasons; It’s now cost effective, it allows for energy resilience and less foreign dependence, and it’s the right choice environmentally.
Hopefully we can look forward to more solar power promotion from The White House in the coming years. Our transition to a clean energy society could use all the help it can get.