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THE UNSEEN COSTS OF SOLAR-GENERATED ELECTRICITY

April 20, 2016
By Randy Simmons, Megan E. Hansen

This report explores both explicit and implicit factors driving the cost of producing electricity from various solar power technologies and installations.

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This report explores both explicit and implicit factors driving the cost of producing electricity from various solar power technologies and installations. The visible costs of solar generated electricity, include the costs of power plant development and construction, roof-top solar panel installation, operation & maintenance, and transmission infrastructure costs. Often overlooked, however, are unseen costs of solar generated electricity, caused by government subsidies, mandates, and regulations that distort the electricity market. Other costs involved include increasing costs related to electric power regulation from off grid supplies, grid unreliability and opportunity costs including alternative uses of taxpayers' dollars. The report doesn't calculate the costs of solar generated electricity, rather it identifies and analyzes factors policymakers should consider when debating policies to inhibit or encourage solar power use.