Electricity – we are at the crossroads of economical and enviromental and the changes coming down the road are beyond belief.
Economical because among renewables solar has just reached a tipping point where in some places—even without tax credits or other subsidies—solar is now less expensive than electricity generated from coal, nuclear, or even natural gas.
In other locations, tax breaks are currently what makes solar more economical than other generation sources; but as the price of solar continues to drop soon electricity from solar will be more economical – without subsidies – than electricity from fossil fuels.
Solar does have one major overriding drawback – it doesn’t work at night. An often overlooked corollary to the solar industry is the battery industry. Battery technology is growing in leaps and bounds. For example, the smartphone you have today lasts longer on a charge than the first smartphone you ever owned. And today’s phone has a smaller, not larger, battery than the phones of yesteryear.
Today’s solar panels are less expensive and more powerful than previous generations of solar panels. Tomorrow’s batteries will be cheaper and hold more “juice” than today’s batteries.
Here’s my prediction – we are 5 to 7 years away from the cost of solar panels – plus enough backup battery storage to last all night long and more – being less expensive than buying your electricity from your friendly local utility company.
And there is one more leg to this tripod – electric cars. Well before the 5 to 7 year timeframe mentioned above every major car manufacturer will offer electric cars in the same price range as conventional ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) cars.
Som sometime in the next few years you are going to ask yourself, “Do I want to buy a car that I can fill with free unlimited clean electricity using my solar panels, or do I want to buy a car that I have to take to a gas station about 52 times a year and fill it up with smelly polluting fossil fuels?”
We are living in exciting times.