Solar power solutions have generally been considered to be a reliable source of renewable energy, with a seemingly continuous string of technological advancements being made. While harnessing the sun’s natural power certainly seems like a good idea, a new report suggests it may not be as economical as it seems.
The European Union has published a report stating the economic impact of solar related technologies outweighs the benefits in many cases. Not only is it extremely costly in terms of operation, but also in terms of its economic effect on the climate, resources and pollution among other things.
The report factors in all of these conditions in order to derive an economic cost per megawatt-hour for each of the major power sources. While the study is from 2012, many believe the data is still relevant today despite advancements being made in manufacturing processes and materials.
Based on the analysis, commercial solar power facilities cost far more than other options at $127 per megawatt-hour. Coal and natural gas plants ran just over $64, wind systems were $102 and nuclear power plants cost $115 per megawatt-hour, according to the report.
The reason the cost is so high on solar power options seems to do with the way the materials needed for the process are sourced and manufactured. Not only are the materials used quite expensive, reports suggest much of the solar cell manufacturing is done in China where electricity is extremely carbon-intensive.