final observation

The costs of solar photovotiac panels have dropped a hundred-fold in the last two decades.

However, under present conditions, solar power is still expensive. A single solar panel costs around £250 and has a maximum generating capacity of 50 Wp (this means that under ideal sunlight conditions the panel will produce 50 watts of electricity).

Long term investment in the fossil fuel and nuclear industries has led to their being able to offer electricity to customers at an affordable rate. Solar power has yet to benefit from the advantages of such investment, and therefore the cost of solar energy is, at present, significantly higher than that of "mains" electricity.

In addition to this, the price of electricity does not currently include the massive environmental costs of fossil fuel and nuclear generation. Examples of these costs do not include the costs of acid rain in terms of damaged buildings, depleted fish stocks and unhealthy forests, the costs of decomissioning nuclear power stations and the potentially devastating costs of climate change. If these costs were included in the price of nuclear and fossil generated energy, the cost of solar power would inevitably be far more competitive than it is in the present.

With strong and consistent support from governments and industries, electricity generated by solar photovoltiacs could become as affordable as fossil-fuel and nuclear power. Governments and industry in other countries have already started supporting solar power by investing in the development and distribution of solar panels. With more of this sort of support the cost of solar photovoltiacs could be dropped further.

Some time, when the fossil fuels run out and the problems with nuclear waste cannot be solved, solar power, perhaps, could be one of the most important energy of the future. With regard to acid rain, nuclear waste and all the other effects on the environment (caused by generating conventional electricity) we hope that the time when solar power will become more important than the conventional electricity is not too far away. We need a solar future if our children are to live in an intact environment. They will be grateful to us.


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