Foundation Beyond Belief - August 29, 2016
The general public hears a lot about the benefits of solar and other forms of ‘renewable energy’. Solar, in particular, seems like common sense: it’s sunny, we know we can turn the sun into electricity, so why aren’t we doing it?
The biggest issue with the cost of solar versus the cost of non-renewable sources of electricity is scale and infrastructure. Coal, natural gas, and hydroelectric power plants, with their large energy and carbon footprints, are massive industrial complexes and systems that have been developed through decades, often with large subsidies.
As solar power tries to make an impact, the largest challenge it faces is scale. While a small-scale installation of solar to one house will impact the electricity bill of a single household (after the cost of installation), it will not make a dent in the use of renewable energy in the country. The cost of single use solar power is about $3 per watt and is falling at about 10% a year, but solar is less than .6% of energy generation in the United States. Small scale solar now receives federal tax incentives, but not nearly enough to offset the cost. What makes Everybody Solar, our Q3 2016 Natural World beneficiary, a revolutionary step in the process, is their ability to both leverage the benefits of small-scale solar power one building at a time, but also their ability to actualize the benefits of large-scale solar by helping many organizations save thousands of dollars a year with solar energy, which cuts down on their carbon footprint, but also allows those savings to be reinvested in important programs
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