Dispatches from District 48
The economics of large-scale solar projects still don't work without massive subsidies and mandates that consumers pay above-market rates for solar power.
I can't understand this love affair with solar-derived electricity. It cannot be cost effective unless there is at least a three-fold increase in oil and natural gas prices.
The chemical process involved in converting solar energy into electricity is inefficient. This cannot be fixed by improved technology. It's like claiming we can double the energy from burning gas.
Solar energy to electricity sites need acres and acres. They are usually in the middle of nowhere. To transfer the electricity long distances, they must step up the very low voltage of the solar cells to very high voltage lines. That step-up wastes energy, as does the long transmission.
Add in the initial capital expenses and ongoing maintenance (such as cleaning or replacing panel surfaces and repairing mechanisms that keep the panels pointed at the sun), then the costs vastly outweigh the benefits.
I was watching some lecture about renewable energy and they were promoting the idea that we just need to get solar installed and that is it. There was no discussion about the 1% fading of solar panels per year.