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Solar Panels - Energy of the Future

            As mankind begins to venture deeper into the 21st century, the need for energy grows every day. The production of more energy not only brings a financial cost, but with an environmental cost. Historically, coal, gas, nuclear, and hydroelectric power have been used as the most common ways to produce electricity. The current environmental crisis has directed the energy focus into green forms of energy. New modern technology, such as wind and photovoltaic solar power, has been increasingly more common within communities; however, solar energy has been advocated as the best way to reduce the general population's carbon footprint. Claims such as, "it will pay for itself" and "it will help save the environment" have been force fed to the general public not only by solar panel manufacturers, but by the government of the United States as well. Solar panels are neither an effective nor an environmentally friendly way to produce energy because they are not cost effective, the technology is not efficient enough, and the environment is destroyed in mining the needed rare earth metals. .
             Unlike the many environmentalists' claims, solar panels are not a desirable product to replace home energy because they are not cost effective. The first reason solar panels are not cost effective is because it cost more on the base production level. According to the Boston Solar Company, coal, gas, and nuclear energy is produced by electric companies at an average of $0.05 per kilowatt hour while a solar panel's electricity is produced at a cost close to $0.37 per kilowatt hour (Strecker). Therefore, solar panels produce electricity at a cost that is 7 times greater than the production cost of conventional methods. If electric companies switched to all photovoltaic solar energy, the monthly electric bill would have to proportionally rise to maintain profits. Also, the Boston Solar Company reports that the average monthly electric bill in America is $115 (Strecker).

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