If the sun’s an energy powerhouse?theoretically generating so much that what reaches us in one hour could meet our electricity needs for a year?then why aren’t we making more use of it? Why are we still so dependent on other forms of power generation?
Unfortunately, plugging into the sun isn’t as simple as it might sound (for one thing, as the Shel Silverstein poem goes, ?the cord ain’t long enough). The technology for capturing and transmitting solar radiation is often complicated and expensive to develop and produce. And although generating solar power will eventually pay off in terms of electricity costs, it can take 20 years for those financial benefits to show up.
But although on paper solar electricity costs much more, the negative effects of ?traditionally? produced electricity are often costly, and rarely factor into the balance when comparing the two.
This excellent National Geographic article discusses the economics of solar power production in further detail.