how can the electric companies afford to put solar panels everywhere, but not on our houses?
it seems to me that we are just letting the power companies capitalize on a power source that really should be more accessable to us, the ones that have been paying for nuclear and other power sources that we can’t, by law, have installed on our property.
Keep in mind the issues of scale:
Solar panels on a commercial scale cost something on the order of $7.25/watt to install, of which roughly half of that is for the panel itself (retail). This includes inverter technology but not storage. This works out to about $7,250 per KW installed.
A nuclear plant in today’s dollars will run between $5,500 and $6,000 per KW installed.
A 5,000 watt solar system on your house will cost approximately $35,000 to install. Cheaper per watt than commercial as there is no supporting infrastructure to build.
The differences between actual costs and what is paid by the end-user are subsidies provided by state and local governments and utilities.
So, if you are in an unsubsidized area, you are perfectly free to install solar power on your property – if you can afford it.
Now, if full life-cycle costs are included (installation, maintenance, cost-of-operation, and final disposal when done) nuclear and solar are also very close in cost. The difference is that a 480MW nuclear plant may be fit on about 660 acres of ground including cooling towers, access roads, set-backs and so forth – and could be set on less than 100 acres if necessary (many are).
The same capacity solar plant (at 10 watts per square-foot, peak power) would cover 11,000 acres or so, *not* including infra-structure, access roads, set-backs and so forth.
Solar power is a feel-good solution that is pretty impractical on the face of it *UNLESS* there is no alternative solution. But, because it is being subsidized by various sources, is highly visible and has all sorts of warm-and-fuzzy but generally thoughtless advocates it is popular beyond its worth.
We are actually considering it _because_ of the subsidies. But at face-cost nohownoway.
San Diego solar companies, solar power, commercial solar panels