29 June 2008
U.S. report: Solar power to reach cost parity with fossils by 2015
 
Solar power is beginning to reach cost parity with
fossil energy sources. As solar prices decline and the capital and fuel costs for coal, natural gas, and nuclear plants rise, the U.S. will reach a crossover point by  around 2015.

The Utility Solar Assessment (USA) Study, produced by clean-tech research and publishing firm Clean Edge and green-economy nonprofit Co-op America, provides a roadmap for utilities, solar companies, and regulators to reach 10% solar in the U.S. by 2025.

Installed solar PV prices are projected to decline from an average peak watt 15-32 cents kWh today to 8-18 cents kWh in 2015 and  to 4-8 cents kWh by 2025.

The study finds that significantly scaling solar power in the U.S. will require the active involvement of utilities.

They have to take advantage of the unique value of solar for peak generation and alleviating grid congestion; implement solar as part of the build-out of the smart grid; and adapt to new market realities with new business models.

In addition, solar companies would bring installed solar systems costs to USD 3 per peak watt or less by 2018; streamline installations; and make solar a truly plug-and-play technology.

Regulators and policy makers should pass a long-term extension of investment and production tax credits for solar and other renewables; establish open standards for solar interconnection; and give utilities the ability to "rate-base" solar.

In just the past year, a number of utilities and solar companies have announced aggressive programs to deploy large-scale solar power projects.

The study, written by Pernick and Clean Edge contributing editor Clint Wilder, is based on interviews with more than 30 solar, utility, financial, and policy experts and leverages proprietary Clean Edge data on solar PV market size, cost and pricing history and projections, and other key market factors.

Sources and more information:

Clean Edge

The Report

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