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Solar power is still more expensive and less efficient than fossil fuels.

Solar power is still more expensive and less efficient than fossil fuels. The crude Keynesian might say that solar power is producing more jobs, and surely that is a good thing? But this is only true in the same way that paying people to dig holes in the ground also creates jobs. The problem is that it also creates costs. If more people are employed to produce much smaller amounts of energy, the cost of energy goes up. Put simply, more workers equals higher energy costs. A surge in solar employment isn’t a one-off attempt to stimulate the economy. After all, proponents of solar energy argue that it is the future of energy provision in the US. If this is the case, the average American will end up paying for more expensive energy, either at the point of consumption or through the use of their taxes. While the promise of higher employment rates may sound progressive, increasing the amount of labour required to produce energy is a step backwards. Throughout human history, the quest has been to find sources of energy that reduce necessary human labour, from the early use of waterways to the domestication of beasts of burden to the steam engine and our short-lived nuclear age. Technology might one day make solar energy more cost efficient, but the amount of jobs needed to produce it at the moment suggests that it won’t happen any time soon.


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