Solar power cheaper than new nuclear plants, study says

Aided by federal and state tax breaks, solar energy will be cheaper than building new nuclear power plants, according to a North Carolina study released today.

Dr. John Blackburn, the emeritus chair of economics and former chancellor of Duke University, said the costs of new nuclear plants continues to rise while electricity generated from solar voltaic panels is only half the cost of 12 years ago.

In a study commissioned by the environmental group NC Warn, Dr. Blackburn estimates that the cost of new nuclear plants is now about 16 cents per kilowatt-hour and headed higher while solar energy can be generated with rooftop panels and solar farms in North Carolina for a comparable rate and solar costs are trending down.

Solar costs are cut by about one-third because of state and federal tax credits, but Dr. Blackburn said the nuclear industry also benefits by federally backed insurance, loan guarantees and research assistance.

"The message is that solar is here and now and not something exotic for the future," Dr. Blackburn said.

For complete details, see tomorrow's Times Free Press.

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