By David Wojick
I keep hearing that since solar power is cheap it pays to add it to the generation mix. Sometimes this claim is caveated, saying that it only pays up to a certain fraction of total generating capacity. Typical limits range from 30% to 60%. Moreover this claim that it pays to add solar is made by conservatives as well as liberals. We are, after all, just talking about money, not principles.
In reality this “solar pays” claim is like saying it pays to add a small, high mileage car as a second car. It ignores the added cost of buying two cars instead of one. With two car payments to make, you would only save money under very unusual conditions. For example, where you mostly drove the small car, drove a lot, and fuel was very expensive. None of these conditions hold when it comes to adding solar to the grid.
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