Increasing PV velocity by reinvesting the nuclear energy insurance subsidy in large-scale photovoltaic production
Conference Record of the IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference
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As the debate over the future of energy grows, often nuclear energy production is pitted against solar photovoltaic energy conversion. There is a widespread belief that solar cannot compete with nuclear energy economically without government subsidies. The continued and widespread belief in the economic viability of nuclear energy, however, is predicated in part on government-mandated limitation on the liability of the nuclear industry. To demonstrate the magnitude of this nuclear energy insurance subsidy, this paper considers a shift in policy to reinvest only the premiums of the nuclear energy insurance subsidy into large scale solar photovoltaic production. The current insurance subsidy for a single nuclear power plant in the U.S. is reviewed along with the investment requirements for a one GigaWatt thin film amorphous silicon solar photovoltaic manufacturing plant. The available power and energy are then compared for an ensemble of nuclear power plants and solar photovoltaic arrays produced by the manufacturing plants over a nuclear plant life cycle. The startling results show that only the premiums for nuclear energy insurance would result in both more installed power and energy produced by mid-century if these funds were invested in large scale photovoltaic manufacturing. This study clearly shows that policies to transfer the nuclear energy insurance subsidy to large-scale manufacturing would increase the PV velocity to push the PV industry over 1 TW in under fifty years. ©2009 IEEE.