The massive blackout of 2003, which affected 45 million people in the northeast United States and 10 million more in Ontario, could have been prevented by just 500 megawatts of distributed solar, says John Farrell of the Institute for Local Self Reliance. For reference, California installed almost 200 megawatts of distributed solar in 2010 alone.

That blackout cost us $6 billion in repairs and lost productivity. At a current cost of about $8.55 per megawatt for small scale (i.e. home) solar, 500 megawatts would cost about $4.27 billion to install. Wouldn't it be nice to have all those solar panels AND the $700 million? Plus, you know what people do in blackouts — we can curb population growth in the bargain!