Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 16, 2014

Is Solar Energy Really a ‘Boutique Fantasy’?

Nancy Folbre debunks a common misconception that solar is a niche industry that is not economically viable.

“Solar-generated electricity is turning into a powerful environmental and economic success story. It’s also threatening the balance sheets of electric utility companies that continue to rely heavily on fossil fuels and nuclear energy.”

“The average price of a solar panel has declined an estimated 60 percent since the beginning of 2011, and this year the total photovoltaic capacity in the United States is projected to reach 10 gigawatts, the energy equivalent of several nuclear power plants.”

Roof-top solar projects for residential homes are also gaining in popularity. “With a relatively short payback period, these home-improvement investments are now within the reach of many middle-class families.”

“Solar installations are relatively labor-intensive, helping revive demand in the building trades. The Solar Foundation’s Solar Job Census estimated that there were almost 143,000 solar workers in the United States in 2013, a nearly 20 percent increase over employment totals in 2012.”

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