“A smarter land use option is the European model where they are using a decentralized plan of solar panels on individual homes and businesses.”
Depends where you are. Europe is highly built out and most land spoken for. It’s either profitable agriculture land, housing, factories, railroads, roads, etc.
Now in TX, there are millions of acres of essentially desert. Not even suitable for 1 cow grazing over 10 acres. Entire counties with population 5000 or less and 99% barren. Other parts have 1 cow grazing in acres of land it’s so barren. You need 100,000 acres for a herd of cattle.
It makes less sense in TX to spend the money (Lots) on building permits, contracts for very small systems typically 10KW or so, non ideal locations (shadowing, trees), etc, increased insurance rates on those houses, etc, than to install gigawatt solar farm. Probably in half a dozen states in the USA, too. Somehow, places like Death Valley CA would seem to be ideal places as well as much of inland southern CA as you drive through one or two towns in 100 miles of nothing getting out of the state.
“EIA expects another 4.6 GW of solar capacity to be added in 2021 and 5.4 GW in 2022. By the end of 2022, Texas will have 14.9 GW of installed solar capacity.”
"The US installed 17 GW of utility-scale solar capacity during 2021, with 5.9 GW installed only in Q4 2021. Considering new contracts signed during the last quarter, the US solar farm pipeline reached 80.2 GW by the end of 2021.
Considering the current growth rate, the US could add 123 GW of utility-scale solar power by 2027, and 244 GW by 2032. The outlook improves drastically with a 10-year ITC extension, and the growth forecast by 2032 increases to 454 GW."
Now for costs:
The solar industry has also been affected by high inflation, and this is evident when comparing average costs per watt for Q4 2020 and Q4 2021:
Solar Market Segment Q4 2020 Price Q4 2021 Price
Residential $2.97 per watt $3.10 per watt
Commercial $1.36 per watt $1.55 per watt
Utility, fixed tilt $0.80 per watt $0.94 per watt
Utility, single-axis tracking $0.93 per watt $1.06 per watt"
It would seem obvious that the lowest cost, by a factor of 3, is utility scale production of power. So why should the government be subsidizing home systems instead of pushing for ever increasing utility scale (and community scale) farms?
It’s ridiculous to keep promoting home systems at 3 times the cost when the GOAL is increased solar production of energy. Oh, right…Congress…favored interest groups…and financial hucksters making lots of bucks by selling you home solar power installations with giant government subsidies. Nothing down, you get somewhat lower electric bills, and they laugh all the way to the bank.