As a small business owner who has been designing and building solar power and storage systems throughout the Roaring Fork Valley and Western Slope for over 30 years, I felt compelled to respond to D. Dowd Muska’s Commentary on Thursday, December 15th.
Mr. Muska claims that “solar is a bust,” especially in the Southwest. He claims solar makes up a very small fraction of utility-scale power, but makes no mention of “distributed” generation… ie, smaller than many “distributed” utility-scale systems in the Southwest and the United States.. His sources are also solar. admitting that the intensity is naturally low and the material incentives are high … a lose-lose proposition, in his view.
This is all quite confusing.
First, the sun is far from the bust. Just ask Amazon, Google, Walmart, and the US military, the largest buyer of solar technology in the US. As for poor light intensity, he’s probably referring to the smog factor in Phoenix, Salt Lake, or metro Los Angeles. And where does this fog come from? As for incentives, don’t get me started on the oil and gas subsidies that have generated billions in profits for the industry for decades.
Mr. Muska goes on to point out that “solar power is inefficient, unreliable and expensive when all costs are considered.”
I would argue that when all the costs of exploration, mining, extraction, transportation, processing, distribution, incineration, refining, and addressing the long-term health problems associated with fossil fuels are considered… the cost is greater.
I think we can all agree that there is no silver bullet, but Colorado’s booming solar technology, along with its economies of scale, has brought solar to the fore. The result is and will continue to be clean, affordable, renewable energy generation from the skies above. One of our favorite observations is: Have you ever seen solar energy dissipate?