New Delhi, India — One of the longstanding roadblocks to the development of solar power has been a lack of infrastructure. As a result of this lack, solar energy continues to be seen as a costly alternative to fossil fuels, meaning that the needed infrastructure is slow to develop. This argument took a massive hit this week when India announced that solar energy is now cheaper than coal.
The announcement comes on the tail of a long-standing process of development in India, a country where government has made solar energy a priority. Despite access to the sun for long periods throughout the year, this sudden equalization in cost did not occur overnight. For the past few years, the Indian government has been accommodating solar development in the public and private sector, and this action is paying off.
Meanwhile, governments in North America have gone the other way. While fossil fuels and other non-renewable energy sectors continue to benefit from government intervention, solar energy has been facing steeper taxation and fewer subsidies, placing solar and other renewables on the losing end of the field.
Yet with government encouragement, as India is proving, the infrastructure for renewable energies can develop to a point where they can compete against fossil and other non-renewable sources — within our lifetimes.
Even while private and individual purchases of photovoltaics have helped to reduce the overall cost of each kilowatt hour (kWh) of energy produced through solar panels, and the ongoing development of cheaper, more effective and more ingenious technologies, many Western governments seem content to move in the same direction as always: oil.
At least there is hope. With continued promotion, solar power is not the economic black hole many critics say it is. The Indian example proves this. All it takes is a little sunshine, a little investment, and there will be no excuse for people not to jump on board with renewable energies like solar. Either way, if solar panels are cheaper in India, you can always order them online.
This article (The Cost of Solar Power Is Now Cheaper Than Coal) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Chris “Kikila” Perrin and UndergroundReporter.org. If you spot a typo, please email the error and the name of the article to [email protected]. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons/Stephen Codrington