According to Elon Musk, the energy needs of the entire United States could be provided by covering a part of Utah with solar panels. Solar panels have indeed come a long way — both in the advancement of the technology and the reduction of costs. But is solar power truly a viable option in Utah, and how much will it cost?
Utah has one of the highest numbers of residential solar panels in the nation. Advances in technology have made solar panels more efficient in capturing, storing, and transmitting the power of the sun. Modern solar panels are more durable and maintain their efficiency for longer periods.
A solar panel can perform at peak efficiency for more than 10 years before losing a small percentage of efficiency. Most solar panels installed in Utah homes provide enough energy to meet a household’s electricity needs.
If you own an electric car, then even your daily commute is now free. Harnessing solar energy is also the only way to make your electric car truly green. What’s the point of driving an electric car when you charge it daily on an electric grid that still burns fossil fuels?
Solar panels cost money, so is it really free? In a way, yes. Solar panels do cost money, ranging from $12,000 to $40,000, depending on the needs of your house. However, with the right financing, you can limit your monthly payments to around the same price of your electricity bills.
With the right solar panels, you won’t be paying a dime on your electric bills. In fact, your electricity provider might be the one paying you. The money that you would put into paying your electric bill instead goes into your payments for your solar panels. You’ll be paying more or less the same amount, but in eight to 10 years, your solar panels would have been paid for, and you’ll get free electricity. Solar panels have become so durable, you probably won’t need to replace them for 20 years.
Absolutely not. The advancements in solar technology are driven by the free market and not by government policies. Companies are competing to provide the best technology — at the lowest possible prices — to get the largest share of the pie.
Once the government imposes the use of solar technology, competition will fizzle and the technology will stagnate. Change should always come from the people. As better options present themselves, the market will choose only the best. There might come a time when gas-powered vehicles go the way of the VHS or the cassette tape, but the technology must be comparable or better than what it replaces.
Solar energy is virtually free. You can have one for the price of your monthly electric bills, which you won’t be paying once they’re installed. It is a sustainable source of clean energy, so no additional greenhouse gases. Solar technology is a testament to the power of the free market. Companies are striving to meet the demand of consumers, creating better products at more and more affordable costs.