Originally Posted by Lindsay Richards
The $19,000 came from your friends and neighbors in the form of higher rates and from the taxpayers. Subsidies are not free. It is just shifting the cost to others. I would think that all calculations should be done against the total costs and compared against the time value of the $37,000. These claims are very hard to prove and all of the recent bailouts and bankruptcies have made the existence of these subsidies tentative at best. The wind industry is in shambles and came close to collapse except for a last minute clause in the fiscal cliff deal giving it another year of life via billions in subsidies. I sure wish we had spent more money on research on photovoltaic rather than on installations that can not compete without huge subsidies. When a competitive system is invented, I intend to be the first on my block to buy one. Lets lead the world into these new technologies rather than installing Chinese panels they don't even use themselves.
Being in the computer tech field myself, and a techie/geek in general, I agree. We need more and better innovation, but that does not come without a cost. There have to be investments in startup companies to bring out new tech and at some point, there has to be some market production of things to see what real world feasibility is - and unfortunately neither of those will typically come without investment and subsidies.
In order to bring pricing down where average consumers can afford it there either needs to be subsidies OR mass/massive production that *should* drive down pricing through quantities of scale - assuming the underlying parts and pieces can be purchased a significantly lower costs.
But all that said, it's is a shame that this many years on with solar energy that we're still not more efficient and cost effective. I think there are a number of reasons for this ...
- consumers short term memory. Sure we have had energy crisis' before, but generally they are followed by upswings in the economy that take our eyes "off the ball"
- continued high levels of power use by consumers globally. Larger homes, more a/c, a myriad of electronic devices for everyone. I myself have 2 laptops, a tablet, desktop PC, 5 monitors, ipod, SmartPhone and a couple of TV. I also run a network with hundreds of computers and it's only in the last few years that energy efficient power supplies have been available.
- the high cost of technological research with the high cost of early consumer level trials. See both solar and wind power generation for examples of this
- lack of viable research into alternative power generation by the companies that provide us with power now. If they *really* wanted to seek out alternate power sources instead of coal, oil and natural gas, they would be spending more money on it. But, if big energy were to provide alternate solutions, I still see them as having high entry to ownership costs as they would need to offset future lost revenue somewhere.
Take a look at LED bulbs. They are very high priced versus their counterparts, are relatively inexpensive to make (especially when mass produced), but are still high priced. Why? Because the vendors need to compensate for you just buying one light bulb over 5-8 (or more years) versus replacing that bulb every year.