Since Edison’s day, we have largely been generating electricity the same way; with massive, centralized power plants.
Along the way, utilities have become enormous entities with thousands of employees and billions of dollars in revenue. Many of them are public companies that pay generous and reliable dividends, making them a favorite investment for grandmothers everywhere.
But the model now faces two distinct challenges. First, a majority of scientists, policy leaders, the public and business executives and others have come to the conclusion that greenhouse gases need to be reduced.
Second, power plants aren’t cheap and can take years to build.
Besides producing clean energy and a fairly reliable rate, solar panels sport another unique attribute, say advocates: modularity. Solar power plants range in size from the 250 megawatt California Solar Valley Ranch slated for Central California to a 3 kilowatt system on a 1,500 square foot house.
A solar charger for a cell phone is a power plant too, if you think about it. The size of your solar plant depends on your budget and the real estate on hand.