As solar costs are droppping dramatically; Wal-Mart expands its solar plans; and even the Fox Network is pushing solar in some circles, there is much to be excited about in the world of solar power. But critics are still taking aim at clean tech in general, and solar in particular. And among the most common complaints is its reliance on State and Federal subsidies. Leaving aside the true cost of gasoline and the subject of hidden fossil fuel subsidies for a second, David Appleyard over at Renewable Energy World asks whether solar can flourish without state support, given recent cuts in funding in many countries:
In the U.K. and in many other similarly affected countries, whether this will in fact emerge as a knockout blow in the longer term depends more than ever on industry passing on falling costs to consumers and pushing the long-term cost-of-ownership envelope to below that of conventional energy. It's a tall order even for a relatively mature technology like PV. Without support, that challenge becomes harder still.
Given reports from some quarters that solar will be cheaper than coal in the near future, Appleyard's pessimism may be exaggerated. But it is a useful reminder that in a world where we each pay the hidden costs of fossil fuel use everyday, some collective support for alternatives is only sensible. And we should all fight to make sure that continues.
There is no such thing as a level playing field when it comes to energy. It's time to choose your side.