People still have a tendency to think of solar as alternative energy. Yet today, there is nothing alternative about solar. It is really the energy company that is second choice.
By most relevant measures, solar clearly is the first choice in energy for a home or a business.
First, solar is cheaper than traditional energy, hands down. Whereas you will pay around 20¢ per kilowatt-hour for retail energy, you pay less than 8¢ for solar energy over the lifetime of the system. You may argue that this is only because homeowners receive a 30% tax rebate on the cost of solar, but that would not be the case. First, even without the tax rebate, solar energy is cheaper than utility energy. Second, the fossil fuels industries continue to receive a variety of subsidies that are far greater than solar ever received.
Second, solar is becoming available to the vast majority of homeowners. With financing programs like PACE, you can finance your solar PV system over your property taxes, without incurring debt or affecting your credit score. In short, in many cases you can put a solar PV system on your house without impacting your financial situation at all.
Third, solar is more reliable than traditional energy. Provided you choose the right system components, solar will deliver emergency energy during daylight hours, even when the power grid is down. If you add battery backup, you can run your house at normal activity levels, without ever worrying when the grid will turn back on.
Fourth, solar is truly renewable—with the right system components, you have energy for forty, even fifty years.
The most dyspeptic of solar’s critics bemoan the “excessive” subsidies going to “alternative” energy, conveniently ignoring the vast subsidies going to fossil fuels every year. To catch on, all new energy sources require a little help, so also solar. There is always a bit of a cost involved in switching, although solar only has a very low cost.
Once you get used to running your house or business on pure sunshine, everything else feels like the Dark Ages.