Despite the pandemic, Wind and solar generation capacity surpassed new capacity additions in 2020, prompting praise from energy officials and environmentalists, as well as calls to accelerate the pace so that Wind and solar—particularly solar—could become the world’s dominant source of energy before 2030. The storey of the low-cost solar panel is so frequent that few people challenge it, especially when it includes data on the panel’s downward cost curve.
Solar farm electricity is already cheaper than electricity generated by gas-fired plants, according to this narrative. What the storey fails to mention is that this is not uniformly true at this time. The storey also ignores the fact that the cost curve for any product, whether it’s a photovoltaic panel, a Wind turbine, or a barrel of crude oil, is influenced by a variety of factors. And some of these elements aren’t exactly in your advantage.
Solar power has certain limitations, despite its many advantages—cheap, emission-free energy from a seemingly infinite supply except at night and when it’s overcast, raining, or snowing. While these are a popular topic of debate among renewable energy doubters, they rarely receive much attention from the industry. Now, one of the major issues with solar, namely land use, has attracted the attention of an unusual foe: environmentalists.
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that utility-scale solar farm projects are increasingly receiving objections from ecological groups, highlighting the Battle Born Solar Project, which will cover 14 square miles, or 7,000 football fields, according to the WSJ. That’s a lot of area to cover in solar panels, rendering it unusable for anything else. Local opponents of the Battle Born Solar Project are not among the renewable energy naysayers who criticise solar farms.