10 Jan '12, 5pm

Should you put solar panels on your home? Ask the Conservationist has the answer.

Should you put solar panels on your home? Ask the Conservationist has the answer.

It is true that residential solar systems (especially photovoltaic, or “PV” systems) are substantially less efficient than their commercial counterparts. One estimate (admittedly controversial) from UC Berkeley professor Severin Borenstein says that residential PV systems cost roughly twice as much as their commercial counterparts (40 cents/kWh vs 20 cents/kWh)1. Commercial systems have many advantages over residential: they are typically developed in locations with lots of sun, they can take advantage of innovative technologies that don’t work at small scales, they can utilize larger storage cells, and many other reasons. Which brings us back to the question of why so many people love the idea of putting solar panels on their roofs. In talking to friends and co-workers who have solar panels, there seem to be two common reasons: the appeal of being energy independent and a...

Full article: http://www.nature.org/ourscience/sciencefeatures/ask-the-...

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