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To answer the question about what is preventing all of us from generating electricity using photovoltaics (PV), it is necessary to briefly mention the benefits. The generation of electricity with the use of PV does not emit any pollutants into the atmosphere, nor does it produce greenhouse gases, nor require the use of finite fossil-fuel resources (U.S. Department of Energy 1). The misconception that the energy payback of PV takes a lot of time has also been disproven. It was concluded that the production of fossil-fuel energy and the fabrication of PV-systems have a similar period of energy payback. Therefore, there is another reason that prevents PV electricity from being widely used. In my opinion, the answer is simple: politics.
The political system and external relationships of many affluent countries are based on selling fossil-fuel resources to those countries that lack them. Because the political influence of fossil-fuel-producing countries can be successfully achieved through supplying gas and oil, vital for sustaining the energy integrity of the population, it is hard for many political representatives to promote solar power, which has the potential to greatly lessen the authority of fossil-rich countries. While solar energy is not being politically promoted on a large scale, the United States is trying to invest in the SunShot initiative for decreasing the overall cost of solar energy by 2030. The initiative has not brought any fruitful results, yet; however, the White House continues to “throw” more money into it, explaining any failures by the argument that the solar energy sector is too competitive. The issue with political figures trying to unsuccessfully invest in renewable energy is that they do the same thing over and over, instead of analyzing past mistakes and adopting new solutions. To some degree, the inability to achieve success in promoting and investing in solar energy can be associated with a lack of desire for PV to become a new source of energy. For example, the Scottish government is investing in expanding the range of renewable energy sources, including hydroelectric and wind power, instead of focusing on promoting just one source.
Politics is the reason why we all cannot generate electricity using PV, because many initiatives for promoting this type of energy are not based on pure altruism. In fact, the promotion of solar energy has been widely called a “hip-pocket issue” (Graeber par. 18). One of the main reasons why many citizens avoid generating their own solar power is the high cost that comes with it. In addition, this high cost can be bumped up by the government to make sure that renewable energy does not replace fuel, which is one of the most profitable areas of big business. Furthermore, solar energy incentives are not structured in a proper manner. Firms are paid different amounts in different states, depending on the time they entered the business. Early adopters of solar energy are paid much more, compared to those who decided to use solar energy later.
To conclude, the sphere of renewable energy is greatly influenced by political efforts. Despite a range of initiatives aimed at promoting the use of solar energy across all sectors, there is no unified approach that will be beneficial for everyone. There is no reason for politics to promote solar power because they will lose authority over countries that lack enough energy sources.
Graeber, Daniel. Why Is there so Much Political Energy Behind Solar Power? 2012. Web.
U.S. Department of Energy. PV FAQs. 2004. Web.