Solar Energy is Now Cheaper to Produce than Nuclear Energy
Solar energy recently replaced nuclear energy as the least expensive renewable energy source, according to a paper published by Professor John O. Blackburn and graduate student Sam Cunningham, both of Duke University. The paper, titled "Solar and Nuclear Costs - The Historic Crossover," documents how recent changes in the costs of both solar energy and nuclear energy caused the graphs of their prices to meet at a price of 16 cents per kilowatt-hour, and then to cross.
Nuclear energy had long been the cheapest form of renewable energy production, and currently receives many government subsidies, despite the risks associated with its production and development. Its costs, however, have been steadily rising. In 2002, building a nuclear reactor cost $3 billion; by 2010, this cost had risen to $10 billion.
Recent advances in solar panel technology, on the other hand, have made solar energy cheaper and more efficient to produce. The production of solar energy is also cleaner and far less risky than that of nuclear energy. Blackburn and Cunningham hope that their findings will help guide the U.S. to increase their subsidies for solar energy, which are currently far less than those offered to producers of nuclear energy.