Graph of the Day: 5 common myths about solar energy | RenewEconomy

Graph of the Day: 5 common myths about solar energy

Solar is getting cheaper and is becoming competitive with fossil fuels. It even works on cloudy days, says our Graph of the Day.


Today’s Graph of the Day comes from PV-Magazine via Solar Business Services, and elegantly and clearly addresses the five most common myths about solar energy.

It makes the following clear points: Solar is getting cheaper, it reduces electricity costs, it generates a net surplus of energy, it still works on cloudy days, and it is becoming competitive with fossil fuels.

So here it is. If some part of the graph of the day is not visible, just click on it and a clearer version should appear.

graph of the day

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  1. Gillian 8 years ago

    Great example of positive messaging – debunking myths without repeating the myth.

  2. colin 8 years ago

    The myth about “more energy to produce the cells” is quite ingrained. I even had one nuclear engineer tell me that.
    I explained that a one watt panel produces about 1.0 kw/hr per annum over a 25 year life span or 25KWHr. Since it costs about 70c to produce the solar panel, then for the hypothesis to be true, even if all the cost of producing the cell was in the electricity consumed, then the producer would need to get his electricity at less than 2.8C/KWHr – below wholesale. I then went on to point out panels have some other expensive stuff in them ….

  3. Peter Bysouth 8 years ago

    Giles, There appears to be an incongruity between articles such as that above that show coal or any other fossil fuel having inexorable price rises while PV/Solar etc progress downwards and recent articles where fossil fuel companies are due to collapse. Surely there will be a tipping point when fossil fuel prices start plateau before trending downwards (?). In future I can see more coal being converted to fuels until EVs achieve higher market penetration, high cost fossil extractors being squeezed thereby being the first to fail and Governments around the world bailing out failed electricity generators to allow “the lights to stay on” until such time as renewals achieve more “base” power equivalent.
    Can you source some articles/have a qualified economist try to put details around the point when fossil fuel prices will turn and how this will match, not match and/or overtake descending renewable prices?

    • Giles Parkinson 8 years ago

      Quick thoughts are this: The big thing underpinning the rising price of fossil fuels is the cost of capital. That won’t change. If the price falls, it’s because a lot of people don’t want to buy it< because it's too risky. And yes, we are heading towards a period when coal and gas fired generators will require subsidies to stay open to ensure a smooth transition to full, or close to full renewables. That is a function of the changing energy markets. Hopefully it comes in the form of well thought out "capabilities" markets - that reflects the ability of generators to supply energy at certain times< their capacity, and their environmental profile - rather than more direct subsidies. Any economists/analysts out there interested in crunching the numbers?

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