For the US to see increased adoption of solar power, it must be available to the masses and be a cost effective alternative to traditional energy sources such as coal and natural gas-fired electricity generation.
Solar power remains largely out of reach to non-homeowners and those without good southern facing property access, despite the rapidly decreasing installed cost of solar panel systems.
The good news is the stars are beginning to align to bring cost savings benefits to that group.
Rooftop solar grabs much of the headlines. But municipal solar is gaining more traction as it becomes a basic economic decision. The benefit to non-homeowners who will continue to rely on the grid for power delivery is costs can be kept down into the future.
Both solar and wind renewables are surpassing traditional sources like coal with lower kwh generation costs. Government policy and tax incentives will continue to play a vital role while effectively driving increased adoption rates .
Cost-benefit analysis tools for municipalities made available by US Dept of Energy should aid in the decision-making process.
With more stable and predictable cost variables, solar looks attractive today in many instances. Continued refinement of these modeling programs can only benefit large-scale project planning.
With more stable and predictable variables in building these new solar assets, the boardroom discussions are increasingly likely to take a hard look at solar moving forward.
Improved project analysis, continuing cost reductions and rapidly improving storage solutions for off-hours will all aid in the decision-making process.