In order for solar power to compete with other forms of energy, the conventional thinking goes, it needs to become way cheaper.
Installing rooftop solar panels can be prohibitively expensive, after all, and it takes years before the resulting energy savings pay off. For the individual, it doesn’t matter whether solar panels will save you money in the long run if you can’t afford them in the short run.
For those of us who are renters, the decision of whether to go solar is even more irrelevant. We don’t have the option to install panels ourselves. And unless your apartment comes with utilities included, your landlord has no incentive to install solar panels, because you would get all the savings.
But while the average family may be unable to make a costly investment in solar, the government has much deeper pockets — and an entire Department of Energy to work with.