Solar power is reaching an all-time low–in affordability, that is. According to a new study from Duke University in North Carolina, for the first since the development of photovoltaic cells, solar power costs less than nuclear power. Earlier this year solar power fell to just 16 cents per kilowatt hour, crossing a historic threshold. Thanks to better technology and increased demand, the cost of producing photovoltaic cells has dropped over the past few years, meaning solar power systems now cost just about half of what they used to 12 years ago. Meanwhile, costs to build nuclear plants have skyrocketed.
Although the numbers were pulled only on energy sources in North Carolina, the study still shows promise for the rest of the country–especially considering that North Carolina is not a particularly sunny state. Sunshine-rich states such as Arizona, New Mexico, southern California and west Texas are likely to see even more savings, while states that experience normal amounts of sun will likely see the same benefits as North Carolina. Factor in the development of the latest solar technology, concentrating solar power (CSP), and the future for affordable solar power suddenly looks very bright. With the development of CSP, homes can continue to generate electricity even after the sun has set.
Even if cheap solar power hasn’t reached your state yet, going solar on a budget has never been simpler. Check out the stories of these three people, who all found ways to support solar power, no matter their budget.