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The only component that is zero for solar power is fuel. Despite this, most solar facilities have operating expenses that are comparable to coal facilities because the operations and maintenance is actually quite a bit higher than thermal coal plants. The amortised capital of solar facilities is much, much higher than coal or natgas facilities.

Yes, agreed! I thought the 'free' thing was a little odd, too. All energy is free in one sense: wind power is free except for the turbines or windmills to capture it, the exchangers used to convert to electricity, the power lines used to push it out to users, etc.

Even natgas, coal, and oil in this view have no cost since these resources are right there in the ground... except, of course: exploration to find it, purchase/lease of property where it is located, extraction (whose methods vary considerably), processing often based on purity as well as material, and transport - other than that, it's free!

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