Solar Power: What is The Economic Incentive?

For our last research project we are focusing on alternative energy. Today while I was researching we were looking at why solar panels are so expensive? Everybody says that there isn’t an economic incentive for solar energy so why would everyone switch to solar energy? I know saving the environment isn’t on the top of everyone’s list, but we should all be able to do the little things that count.

Here is a link to a diagram explaining how solar panels work

What I found when we were researching was the following:

Costs increase because solar panels aren’t 100% efficient – in fact, they’re significantly less! (at the time of writing, the highest efficiency achieved is 42.8%) This means you need more solar panels to power your home than you would if the efficiency were greater… plus, the more power you need, the more panels you need.

If your panels are going to be located in an area where efficiency is further compromised by shade, wind, and other factors, then even more panels may be required to provide the energy you need. The cost can easily continue to add up.

On the contrary, we also found that:

While it is still rather expensive, it is important to know that prices have dropped over the past few years. In addition, you have to take into consideration the amount of money you will be saving on your electrical bill.


While most people believe that there isn’t an economic incentive I learned that if your solar power panels produced more energy than your house or building need, then the power meter will spin backwards and pay you back for the surplus. People need to think of the long term instead of the short term because the solar power panels pay for themselves.

In the long run the solar panels pay for themselves because it makes such a difference on your electricity bill. You have to look at the long term instead of short term.


4 responses to “Solar Power: What is The Economic Incentive?”

  1. maryt0017 says :

    This was an excellent post! I agree with you that solar panels in the long term would be an excellent use of money. They would lessen electricity bills, like you said in your post, and they would help the environment. The only problem is that most people do not have enough money to take the risk of making such a huge investment. Many people do not have enough money. The people that do have enough money could spend a bunch of money now and then earn it back years down the road, but they do not know what economic position they will be in; they do not know if they will need the money, but after they spend it it is no longer int their hands for a few years. They also do not know if they will really make that much of a difference, as you mentioned in your article; these people may end up paying much more because they have to use so many solar panels. Also, one person out of billions of people cannot do much to the environment.

  2. edwardh0017 says :

    Carolelizabeth0017 this was a very good post. I strongly agree with you when you talk about how solar panels will be an good use of money, because over time you would be saving money. This you also mentioned to say after about how it would lower the costs of the electricity bills. I love how you hit that note about how the Costs increase because solar panels aren’t 100% electric. My overall thought is that yes you are right about the solar panels, but no one is going to actually buy them because they don’t want to or they don’t have enough money to. I also think that most people just don’t even take time to think about it. I think your post was very good and you hit a lot of good points.

  3. christinel0017 says :

    This was a very good post! I like how you talked about how there is no immediate economic incentive for using solar power over coal. People focus only on the immediate results, and if what they are looking at doesn’t produce immediate results, they simply won’t use it. However, just like you said in your post, solar power in the long run will actually benefit the person. People just aren’t patient enough to wait for the panels to pay for themselves over time. Great post!

  4. carolinem0017 says :

    Great post Carolelizabeth0017! However, I was wandering what scientists are doing right now to lower the upfront cost of solar panels. Other than solar panels being cheaper in the long run, and good for the environment we need to find a way to make the upfront cost incentive more appealing. To most Americans the upfront cost is the major deterrent. Therefore, we should be making solar panels in mass production like products such as cars. Maybe you could research what/if they are already doing that.

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