Large-scale Solar Energy is Getting Cheaper

Solar Panels

The gap between the costs of rooftop solar and large-scale solar plants is growing. Industry advocates point to lower costs and economies of scale as the reasons why their facilities generate energy at far lower costs than rooftop panels. According to Reuters, unsubsidized utility-scale solar power now costs $50 to $70 per megawatt-hour (or 5 to 7 cents a kilowatt hour) compared to $52 to $78 for the most efficient type of gas plant.

Utilities want to focus on large-scale plants because, by controlling both the means of production along with the distribution systems, utilities can make a lot more money. That’s why they promote the benefits of large-scale developments while glossing over the collective benefits of rooftop solar. In reality, though, we need a combination of both for widespread solar energy usage.

Rooftop solar still has a crucial role to play in expanding our clean energy system benefits that go far beyond purely financial cost-benefit analysis. Rooftop solar reduces grid stress, utilizes under-used space, and also results in creating more well-paying jobs.

That is why, despite this news, if you can put solar panels on your home, you should still do so. It will pay off for you and the planet.

Nithin is an eecosphere Impact Mill and freelance writer who focuses on cultural, economic, and environmental issues in developing countries with an aim at building channels of communication and collaboration around common challenges. He alternates between a home in California and working on social projects in Africa and Asia.