NewEnergyNews: SOLAR GROWING AFFORDABLE

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  • MONDAY’S STUDY AT NewEnergyNews, April 19:
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    Monday, June 25, 2007

    SOLAR GROWING AFFORDABLE

    A variety of figures are reported for cost of electricity and cost of electricity from solar. These are in the range of accuracy.

    Solar power costs dropping, nearing competition
    Rebekah Kebede (with Matt Daily), June 21, 2007 (Reuters)

    WHO
    First Solar Inc., Michael Ahern, CEO; Scatec, Alf Bjorseth, CEO;

    WHAT
    The price for solar energy is approximating the price for other sources of electricity, making it nearly price-competitive in the marketplace.
    photovoltaics, the basics (click to enlarge)

    WHEN
    - The price of solar electricity is expected to be competitive with other sources of electricity within “a few years.”
    - The 30% investment tax credit for solar installations runs through 2008 and congress is debating an extension.
    - First Solar’s goal is competive solar energy by 2010.

    WHERE
    - The Renewable Energy Finance Forum, New York City.
    - First Solar headquarters is Phoenix, AZ
    - Scatec is based in Sweden.

    WHY
    - The price fall is the result of 2 factors: increased production of solar cells and increased efficiciency of the cells.
    - New technologies: thin film solar modules and nanoparticles to enhance efficiency.
    - Silicon shortage has and continues to hamper the industry’s progress.
    - Cited solar prices are 20-40 cents/kilowatt-hour (kwh), versus typical retail electricity of 10.5 cents/kwh.
    - Utilities buy coal-fired electricity at 4 cents/kwh, higher during peak demand. With tighter supplies (like CA), prices are 12-23 cents/kwh. First Solar’s goal is 8-10 cents/kwh by 2010.
    a sample case. the numbers are getting better all the time. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - Bjorseth: "If we can hit 8 to 10 cents, I think we're going to open some markets…With power prices climbing and the cost of solar power falling, the outlook for solar energy is bright…In some markets, solar energy is already a cost effective source of power…and that trend is set to expand, especially in larger markets.”
    - Ahearn: “Investing in new solar installations also remained risky because no clear regulatory framework existed to compare how renewables would fare economically over the long-term against more conventional sources, even with federal subsidies…”

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