Solar Energy Remains in Infant Source Electricity

The Obama administration selected solar energy, in its infant stage, as a viable industrial source for electricity. Since the selection in 2008, solar energy for the production of electricity has proven to be an embarrassment to the Obama administration. Photovoltaics (PV’s) currently have a low conversion efficiency. As a result, (PV’s) require an excessive amount of vacant land to produce electricity. The direct current (DC) produced by PV’s has to be converted to alternating current (AC). Conversion from DC to AC further reduces the system efficiency and increases electricity cost to consumers. PV’s, without costly energy storage, do not provide steady baseline electricity.

Another common form of solar energy conversion is called solar-thermal conversion. Here the sun’s energy is converted to heat energy. The heat energy is used, for example to make steam. Steam can be used to drive a turbine/electric generator. The Department of Energy has funded several demonstration solar-thermal plants. However the plants have a history of poor performance and are noted for their production of electricity at high consumer prices. U.S. taxpayers have paid hundreds of millions of dollars for PV farms and solar-thermal demonstration plants. The result of eight years of effort: solar currently supplies a minuscule amount of electricity to the grid. Solar produces less electricity than our wind turbines. The consumer cost of solar produced electricity is significantly higher than electricity produced by wind turbines.

For technical and economic reasons, we need to stop subsidizing solar/electricity with our tax money. Let the free market determine the future of solar energy as a legitimate competitor in the energy sector. For information that further supports this story scroll to:

2-26-2015, “A New Solar Farm Sets Wild Birds Ablaze – so what’s new?”
9-2-2015, “Solar Energy Companies Cash in on Tax Credits.”
9-26-2012, “Solar Energy.”