Solar Offers Energy Independence
Over time, solar energy costs are much lower than the cost of purchasing electricity from the utility. Solar energy costs less because a solar electric system is your own localized power plant, freeing you from the utility company’s dependence on the fossil fuel marketplace.
Solar Energy Costs vs. Utility Company CostsThe majority of consumers can’t go shopping for their electricity because in most areas, the electric company is a licensed monopoly. You do not choose who is going to bring electricity to your door or what it will cost. And more often than not, electric rates go up. In New England, the average price of electricity increased 4 percent in 2007. This followed a three year period when the average retail price of electricity across the country increased 17 percent. Electricity prices rise and fall, and there is no way to tell what the utility company will charge tomorrow. However, there is a way to take control of your own power supply by capturing the free energy emitted by the sun.
Solar Energy Costs vs. Fossil Fuel CostsThe 17% increase in electricity rates from 2004-2006 reflected increased fossil fuel costs: during that period average fossil fuel prices for electricity generation increased a cumulative 30.2%. This makes sense: most utility power plants burn coal, natural gas, or oil to spin the turbines that make electricity. While the majority of electricity on the U.S. comes from burning coal, during peak demand – usually the hottest days in summer – the utility system has to use all available resources to keep up. In the summer of 2008, at the height of New England’s electricity demand, more than half the electricity generated in New England came from burning oil and natural gas.
Oil and natural gas prices have come down from the staggering highs of 2008, but reduced prices have not changed what many call the United States’ addiction to oil. We import nearly 70% of our oil, mostly for transportation and heating, but also for electrical generation. By getting nearly 70% of our oil from outside our borders, we have put ourselves in a dangerous position in an unpredictable world. It’s a position that effects both our national security and our economy. In addition to relying on fuels from potentially unfriendly or unstable foreign nations, in 2008 we sent $475 billion overseas to purchase foreign oil. By harnessing the sun’s free energy, a solar electric system unties you from the global fuel market.