Photovoltaic technology is controversial. There are many popular beliefs that it is expensive, produce low amount of energy, etc. Photovoltaic power progress much faster than any other system. You can’t make the coal to produce more heat, you can’t increase the wind speed, but there are people that are working every day to make the photovoltaic cells to produce more and more energy.
Even if you search official papers, you can clearly see that coal or petrol based generators have efficacy very close to 100%, which is true, most part of the heat is successfully transformed into energy. If you read about photovoltaic cells you will see that the efficacy is about 30%. Too bad for photovoltaic. But you can’t judge only by absolute numbers. You should think relative to the amount of resources we have. The petrol and coal resources are limited, while the sun will be here for at least 1 million years. Even if you capture the light with photovoltaic cells or not, that light is still losing into the earth or other objects surface.
The price is another problem. But as I said, the technology evolved and the panels are now cheaper. Even if you ask an expert he will not tell you the current real price but the price he knew last time when he checked, which may be 6 months, a year or 2 years ago. I think that photovoltaic cells prices dropped a lot in the last 2 years.
The today price to produce electric energy with photovoltaic panels is as low as $1.30 per produced watt. This means that if you pay $1300, your system can produce up to 1kw every hour when the sun is up. If you take into account that there is not always sun, and during the winter the light is lower, your panel will produce 40% of the maximum power if it were on all the time. This means that a 1kw panel will produce about 10kw a day on average. I think it is more than a small house can consume. If you have a bigger house you can install 2kw of panels. How much do you pay right now on electricity ?