Solar Energy Facts: What Is The Role Of This Renewable Energy?


A group of people standing on top of a roof

Well, one of the Solar energy facts is, solar costs more than many competing technologies, like wind or natural gas. That is changing, though. Solar may be cheaper than coal now, and it is still falling, so it probably will be less expensive than natural gas in the next few years.

Even though wind and solar are cheaper than coal, coal-fired plants are already there. Economically it may not make sense to close these plants and spend the capital on building new solar. But as time goes on, the maintenance of the plants increases to the point that it will become better economically.

Solar (and wind) are peaky in the sense that they only work when conditions are right (sun shining, the wind blowing). Luckily the demand is highest during the day when solar produces, but there is still demand at night. Right now, that nighttime draw can accommodate by natural gas, coal, nuclear, hydro, and sometimes wind. If we went 100% solar, we would have to store energy during the day for use at night. Today almost all storage is by pumped hydro, which is merely pumping water uphill to use later as regular hydro. There is research going on for ways to store electricity cheaply and efficiently. It will take a breakthrough here to allow the full use of solar.

Solar Energy Facts: What Is The Role Of This Renewable Energy?
Solar Energy Facts: What Is The Role Of This Renewable Energy?

Is Nuclear Energy Better than Other?

Nuclear power is much better for propelling submarines and aircraft carriers.

Nuclear power teaches nuclear engineering allowing the production of atomic weapons. Solar does not do that.

Nuclear power is better for rendering large areas of the planet uninhabitable. Uranium mining creates millions of tons of mining and refining wastes per reactor per year. The concentrated spent fuel must store as it contaminates, then in concrete and steel casks, it infects, then there is no solution for the next million years of required storage. The land used for mining and fuel wastes is unusable for anything else. Solar can’t do that. Solar PV panels can be recycled to use 100’s of times less mined resources.

Solar Energy Facts: What Is The Role Of This Renewable Energy?
Solar Energy Facts: What Is The Role Of This Renewable Energy?

Nuclear Energy vs. Solar Energy Facts

Nuclear power is better at running short of fuel/uranium in the next eight years, according to the IAEA graphs. Solar can’t beat that, solar’s good for a billion years, longer off-planet.

Nuclear is rigid and unmoved by variations in demand. Solar can throttle down maximum instantly, as fast as batteries.

Nuclear power is much better if your utility is allowed to charge cost plus since it costs 5–10 times as much as solar PV.

Nuclear is better at all the wrong things. Solar is better at all the right stuff.

Nuclear is the deadliest because of the threat of proliferation, the disasters, and the radioactive leaks and emissions which cause millions of cancer deaths.

Nuclear is the rarest since, for only 2% of the world’s energy demand(20% of electricity, which is 10% of energy demand), it’s already facing a uranium shortage. Solar will never run out, not for billions of years.

Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter
Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter