This is something I wrote back in 2014 – thought it needed a wider audience.
The Solar Power Economy
What amazes me is that it is not mandatory for any new build house or other building with a south facing roof not to have it covered in solar panels as an intrinsic non negotiable part of the design. There is a whole estate of new housing going up near me (on the site of an old hospital) NOT ONE solar panel to be seen.
Yes, sunny deserts like the Sahara would be the most efficient for generation, and one could argue that unlike a lot of human interventions a solar array would actually enhance the local ecology by providing abundant shade. Clever design would also help the panels to help condense morning mists into usable water too. HOWEVER long distance power transit is another big cost. Letting people have local control over their solar power is a far more practical idea. Also many maximally sunny parts of the world are not the most politically stable so a HUGE solar array investment that people thousands of miles away depend on may be risky.
Giving up viable farm land to solar is not ideal (we need to eat too) so the next stage after roofing is the areas that have already been lost to agriculture i.e. roads, footpaths and other paved spaces.
IF this catches the public mood that we get momentum of people that want this and are willing to deploy it on their own land the costs will inevitably fall.
The pitch for the Solar “Freakin” Roadway is that a panel on the roof has one function, to generate power. There is NO other utility to it (it is putting extra weight on your roof, something to worry about in bad weather etc etc.) The road panels have so many secondary uses too.
The really important factor here is that they are ones that still have value even if mass solar deployment pushes the resale price of the power towards zero (which will have a HUGE positive effect on the prospects for the human race as a whole).
Remember it is the FEAR of this affecting their profits that has made the big energy corporations drag their feet over alternative energy for DECADES. They love the people to have the idea that bills only ever go up! WHY should this be the case?