When oil and gas prices drop, as they are doing now, people’s interest in solar energy seems to drop as well. That’s because solar has been more costly.
But that’s changing. In the U.S., solar electricity is on track to be as cheap or cheaper than average electricity-bill prices in 47 US states … in 2016. (That’s assuming the U.S. maintains its 30 percent tax credit on system costs, which is set to expire that same year.) Solar is already coming out ahead in 10 US states.
The reason solar-power generation will increasingly dominate: it’s a technology, not a fuel. As a result, efficiency increases and prices fall as time goes on. The faster the price of solar energy falls, the more viable it becomes as a source of clean power — and the sooner we’ll see it on roofs everywhere.
Solar is also destined to be the world’s biggest single source of electricity by 2050, according to a recent estimate by the International Energy Agency.
Solar energy is unique
Solar is not like other energy sources. There are no moving parts, no large mechanisms and no emissions. Photovoltaic cells are a transformative technology, as explained in this video: