We’ve Been Lied to About Solar Power — It Can Work
20 years ago energy experts predicted renewable energy sources like wind and solar would someday supply up to six percent of our energy needs. That was good, they said, and we'd need it. But six percent was the maximum. We're now learning that was a bald-faced. Lie. Here's my proof:
- This video from The Economist says only 1 percent of America's energy supply is currently from solar, but more panels have been installed in the last 18 months than in the previous 30 years. Last year solar was almost 30 percent of new energy produced. The prices of panels has plummeted (although much of that is from subsidies).
- Idaho inventor Scott Brusaw is designing solar panels that will line roads, sidewalks, driveways and parking lots. The "concrete jungle" will soon become our new power plant.
- Remember when utility companies said they would credit you (maybe even pay you) for the extra energy your rooftop solar panels added to the grid? In Utah, Rocky Mountain Power (which has always bragged about its investment in renewables) is now charging its customers with panels a fee! Arizona and Oklahoma are seeing something similar. Wisconsin utilities down want solar panels connected to the grid.
- The beginning of 2014 saw the largest increase in solar power in history. It can now power 3 million homes. Nearly 75 percent of all new electricity generated is coming from solar.
- Last month Kauai began work on a new solar farm. Electricity will cost half of that from oil. In Oahu the utility company is resisting new energy proposals that would be less profitable but more affordable for residents and produce more energy.
- Utilities in California are refusing to buy solar electricity coming on to the grid.
- Headline: "Rooftop solar power is making coal obsolete in Australia"
This is just a smattering of stories, but do some research on your own and you will discover two things: 1. energy experts are highly optimistic about the future of solar. 2. Utility companies don't want to see solar succeed because it is less profitable for them.
Now there are two sides to every story. Here are a couple facts I'm leaving out:
- solar is only affordable now because of government subsidies
- the precious metals inside solar panels must be mined, which is not good for the environment.
- many of the metals inside solar panels come from a few countries and that could give them more power in the future -- the way oil has funded nations in the Middle East.
- Solar is still small right now so all of this is speculation.
But do your own research and tell me if you agree: we've been lied to about the possibilities of solar (and other forms of renewable energy).