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Solar vs. Coal: How the Sun is Going to Make Fossil Fuels Extinct

Solar vs. Coal: How the Sun is Going to Make Fossil Fuels Extinct

Over the past several years the solar industry has grown by leaps and bounds as people continue to turn away from the use of fossil fuels. Although to most of us the need for this change is obvious, many believe that a full conversion is farther away then it may actually be. Here’s 3 reasons the extinction of fossil fuels may come sooner then you think:

Reason #1 – Cost

The cost of solar is continuing to decline as the cost of fossil fuels sky rocket. Even though oil prices have declined in the short term, this has more to do with market price manipulation by OPEC than anything. It’s just a matter of time before prices go back to peak and beyond.

It’s also worth noting that the current oil prices haven’t impacted coal prices. In fact, between 2007 and 2012 the price of coal used for electrical power rose almost 30%! On the other side, the cost of solar panels – especially in San Diego – has actually decreased consistently over the past 35 years. Since 2010, the average price of a solar panel has gone down by 64%. Even better, the over all cost for residential solar installation has dropped 41% since 2010.

Reason #2 – Jobs

Although coal production (and price) is at an all time high – due mostly to technological advancements – mining employment is a fraction of what it was several years ago. According to the National Solar Jobs Census 2013, over the past 4 years solar employment has increased by more then 50%. More interestingly, the nearly 20% growth that occurred in solar employment between 2012 and 2013 was 10 times faster
then the national average employment rate of just 1.9%. How’s that for an economy boost?

Reason #3 – Environmental Effect

Where to begin? This is really be an entire blog post all by itself, but for now I’ll give you the quick and dirty. According to a report done back in 2009 by PSR (Physicians for Social Responsibility), Coal contributes to 4 of the 5 leading causes of death in the U.S. From air and water pollution the moment ground is broken, to the transport and refining process, coal has devastating effects on not only mine workers but surrounding cities and the entire world alike. To read the entire report click here. Although there is some environmental impact on the side of solar panel production, there is hardly a comparison when compared to the coal industry. As stated in our previous post – Top Reasons San Diego Home Owners Should Go Solar – solar energy produces between 92 and 98 percent less green house gas then most common electricity production methods.