When I went on vacation a few years ago, we spent several days in South Jersey near Philly. One of things that jumped out at us since our last visit was the number of houses outfitted with solar panels.
New Jersey is one of a handful of states that provide consumer subsidies for home installations of solar—there’s currently enough solar power in the state to power a quarter of a million homes.
As part of the incentives, you can sell your excess electricity to the grid.
How could a public utility even estimate the payoff of a new coal powered plant over its 40(?) year useful life when energy demand is declining and excess power sales to the grid will only increase?
By contrast, you can build additional wind turbines in two to six months if demand increases (Source). A typical solar farm takes three to four months (Source).
In my part of the Midwest, Rust Belt, Flyover country, what have you, we don’t have the consumer solar incentives that the coastal states like California and New Jersey have. So it’s less common to see solar panels on roofs when you take a drive through your community.
I am totally in favor of more jobs being brought to the Midwest with renewable energy. But not everyone is capable of holding those jobs and good paying non-technical jobs are shrinking. So I’d classify this as good but not great news for flyover country.