Much of the rhetoric against energy legislation of any kind—and at any level—centers on cost. So advocates spend a lot of time explaining why continuing with the status quo is not a low cost option: clean(er) coal is not cheap, and nukes are really expensive. To say nothing of terraforming Mars.
The other half of the equation is the cost of renewables. And when it comes to solar, there are some really extraordinary recent developments: selling prices for photovoltaic solar modules have come down about 40 percent in the last six months alone.
It’s only August, but I’m going to nominate this for the environmental story of the year—any policy advocate will tell you that the biggest barrier to developing new renewable energy programs is cost, and lower costs will in turn result in much larger markets. Cheap solar is big solar, and that’s great news for the fight against climate change.
I’ve got a column up at GreentechMedia explaining why this is happening, why the price drop is durable, and what it means for the future. Check it out here.