Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Solar Grid Parity by 2015?

From EE Times:

By 2015, two-thirds of the U.S. will have achieved grid parity, the point at which electricity generated from photovoltaics is equal in cost or less expensive than grid power, an analyst said Monday (July 13). At that point, solar power will be no more than 5 cents per kilowatt hour more expensive than grid power for 99 percent of the country, according to Travis Bradford, founder and president of the non-profit research group The Prometheus Institute for Sustainable Development.
One small caveat, however:
Speaking to a packed ballroom at the Intersolar North America event here, Bradford said the combination of falling photovoltaic system costs and larger government subsidies juxtaposed against the rising cost of grid electricity means that the U.S. is "rapidly approaching grid parity."
Bradford said solar in the U.S. will get a big boost from economic subsidies as part of the financial rescue package enacted by the U.S. last November and from the huge fiscal stimulus pushed through earlier this year.
I certainly hope one would not include subsidies in a calculation to show how economically competitive a technology is. Not to mention that 5 cents above grid power is around 50% more in most locations. Hardly what I would call "parity".

I did some rough calculations last year for PV solar on my home and it was approximately three times as expensive as grid power. I certainly hope new technologies and manufacturing processes can bring grid parity as soon as 2015; just color me skeptical until then.

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