Solar Power is quickly becoming competitive with new nuclear, new natural gas, and, soon, new coal. We are starting to realize grid parity in solar all with technologies available today.
It takes decades to install one nuclear power plant. Solar, a modular technology, can be produced and installed at a pace far faster than most energy technologies.
This year, the U.S. industry may install 2 gigawatts of solar. The last nuclear power plant to come online in the U.S., Watts Bar 1, has a capacity of 1.1 gigawatts — but that took 23 years to complete, not two years.
Natural gas peaker plants, which are idle most of the day are an expensive option for utilities.
Over the last few years, 153 coal plants have been abandoned, in large part due to uncertainty over environmental regulations.
So what does all this mean? It means that the notion that “solar is too expensive” doesn’t hold up anymore. When financing providers can offer a home or business owner solar electricity for less than the cost of their current services; when utilities start investing in solar themselves to reduce operating costs; and when the technology starts moving into the range of new nuclear and new coal, it’s impossible to ignore.
According to SunPower’s Tom Dinwoodie: “The cross-over has occurred.”