The True Cost of Solar Power

By the numbers, solar energy comes with a hefty price tag in comparison to other sources. But energy experts claim that the overall value to society offsets the initial high production cost.
June 24, 2011, 2pm PDT | Jeff Jamawat
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On a residential scale, the cost of solar energy is approximately 23 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). This number far exceeds the 4 cents per kWh from "wholesale" electricity grid.

However, John Farrell of Renewable Energy World magazine argues that "solar power has a monetary value as much as ten times higher than its energy value."

"State renewable energy policies often require utilities to purchase the environmental value of solar in the form of renewable energy credits (RECs). However, the grid value of solar [...] often goes unrewarded. This value should be captured in the price utilities are willing to pay for solar, but more often the price a utility pays is either the wholesale price [...] or the avoided cost [...]. Neither of these prices reflect the value of distributed solar in reducing peak demand, relieving stress on grid infrastructure or avoiding grid losses," he maintains.

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Published on Friday, June 24, 2011 in Renewable Energy World Magazine
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