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Solar is an Asset, Not a Cost — Why Focus on Grid Parity? (Reader Comment)


home solar panels grid parity

Got this great comment on a post on solar and grid parity yesterday and wanted to share it with more eyes:

I’ve been thinking that focusing so much on grid parity is missing half the point of going solar (or wind, etc).

Whenever you rely on grid power, you are always incurring a COST. As long as you’re using it, money is simply flowing out of your pocket and into someone else’s.

But when you install a solar system, you are purchasing an ASSET. You are becoming your own supplier. You can even sell any excess you produce, making it a source of income.

Parity calculations only compare the cost of purchasing the panels to the cost of staying with the grid supplier, which is an important consideration, certainly. But it distracts from the fact that after the (calculated) payback period is covered, what remains is essentially free energy, for the rest of the life of the system.

In the end, focusing on parity is comparing apples to oranges. It implicitly treats the solar purchase as if it were just another cost incurred, instead of the INVESTMENT that it actually is. It also relies on massaging a few key assumptions such as projected cost of electricity and the longevity of the panels. Shift those assumed values a little and the whole outcome changes, because in the end the whole comparison is rather arbitrary.

So how about trying to remove the parity comparison from consideration entirely and measuring home solar on its own terms?

Solar panels on home via shutterstock

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