Solar PV - A Better Source of Energy


    The real question is why solar? Specifically why solar photovoltaics (PV)?:

    What make this form generating electricity better than the current fossil fuel alternatives or even the current renewable alternatives?


    Currently we need all sources of energy to feed the US consumption of electricity. In 2010 it is estimated that almost 26,000 TWH of electricity (that’s 26 million MWH if you are counting) were consumed in the US.  According to US Energy Information Administration in 2011 the fuels used to produce that electricity were:


     11.99 % Crude Oil

    24.49% Petroleum 22.18% Coal  23.51% Natural Gas
     8.26% Nuclear 9.24% Renewables (Mainly Hydro) 2.93% NGPL  


Looking at the list of fuels needed to produce 26,000 TWHs of energy you can see that none of them can be removed from the mix easily or quickly. With that being said, moving towards all forms of renewable energy as a sizable portion of the electrical grid mix makes sense.

Based on today’s economics solar PV will become a larger piece of the renewable energy mix due to these reasons:

1) The price of solar on a $/Watt measurement is dropping fast. Currently large scale solar projects are being built for $2/Watt. That is down from $10/Watt in 2000, and still dropping.

2) Solar PV will be on grid parity with fossil fuel plants by 2016!

3) Solar PV will not be subjected to the new carbon tax programs being develop in current states. California started trading greenhouse gas emission permits in November 2012.

4) Solar PV produces Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs). Besides producing energy measured in kWH or MWH, solar also produces 1 SREC for each MWH of energy produced. Solar will have the exact opposite effect for companies that need emission permits or to offset a carbon tax; solar will produce the SRECs that will offset these taxes.


5) Solar PV needs no additional fuel sources to produce electricity. There will be no one going to war to secure an oil field to keep a solar array in production.

6) Solar PV needs very little maintenance over its useful life. A 1MW solar plant will typically not have any fulltime employees assigned to it. No need, just clean them every so often.

7) Solar PV uses NO WATER for energy production or delivery. Fresh water is a scarce resource; solar is one of the only renewables that need no water to function. As the price of fresh water rises solar will become even more attractive.

8)Solar gives non-desirable areas like landfills a new useful purpose. A solar photovoltaic array can take useless, unproductive land and turn it into a useful asset.  Solar also allows this land to rest or heal for the next 25 years.

9) If you are a commercial business owner this one will appeal to you… solar pv changes your rising unknown variable electrical costs and changes it to a low known fixed cost.


All of the reasons above make solar pv a better source of energy however there is one more compelling reason to install a solar array for your commercial or residential property in Georgia: Once these systems are paid off (typically around 4 years in Georgia) they really do produce FREE energy.

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