Is solar worth the time and financial investment ? How could a few solar panels on a roof make electricity cheaper than PECO?
Despite enjoying a considerable head start in scale and development, conventional thermal electric generators (ie, coal, gas and nuclear) are not saving you any money. In PECO territory, it costs about $0.06 per kW to generate electricity. But generating it is only half the story. It is another $0.07 per kW to distribute those electrons to your house. In theory, PECO is in a competitive, deregulated energy marketplace. In practice, very few entities control the electric market in Pennsylvania. They like it that way too.
To be fair, it made sense in the past for utilities to operate as monopolies. Building our original electric grid was a tremendous engineering accomplishment. The complexity of electrifying large areas required extreme precision and control. It still does. While it remains an engineering marvel, the grid needs to evolve.
There is now a very inconvenient truth in electric markets across the nation: homeowners can safely produce their own energy for less money than their utility company. Even better, the energy produced at home is renewable, non-polluting and quiet. A typical system in Upper Dublin installed today will produce electricity over the next 25 years that costs on average $0.06 per kilowatt. That is six cents per kilowatt or 1,000 watts. That same kilowatt today costs $0.13 from PECO.
Take your pick: small batch solar for little more than a nickel or big, dirty PECO for three times the price?
Some might say that solar power is artificially supported by subsidies. They have a small point but it is definitely not the whole story. There are real credits and incentives today offered by both state and federal governments. Throughout U.S. history, government has used tax credits and incentives to encourage public works such as canals, railroads and industries like aluminum manufacturing, oil, natural gas and semi conductors. These efforts are enacted to speed up private investment in technologies that are considered essential for future economic prosperity and national security.
Simply put, incentives and credits exist today to help make a better tomorrow.
Let's understand and use these tools. Here is a look at how the incentives work for Upper Dublin homeowners using a single dollar: