Cost Competitiveness of Solar Power

Solar energy has been there in use for electricity generation and heating for several decades, though our focus is on Solar Power (i.e. electricity generation). High cost of PV Cells that convert Sun light directly into electricity has meant that PV deployment needed Government subsidies/incentives to attract consumer interest and penetrate the market. Countries like Japan and Germany led the way in offering attractive incentives for PV power causing the demand to grow rapidly since early 1990s, which averaged over 35% per year during 1990s and over 50% per year since the beginning of 2000 as more and more countries started to offer incentives for generating PV power. Increasing manufacturing volumes have led to continuous cost reduction in PV for the past 30 years and for every doubling of manufacturing volume, the cost of PV modules has come down by 20%. This amounted to an average cost reduction of 5-7% per year during the past 30 years, though silicon shortage due to rapid growth in PV demand led to price increase during 2004-2008 which has now gone through a major correction as the demand was adversely impacted due to the current global economic situation. PV costs are now projected to go down even faster over the next few years. PV power is now approaching grid-parity in many “sunny” parts of the world as its cost is rapidly declining while the cost of conventional power sources (e.g. fossil fuels) is increasing. Solar power generation is emerging as potential candidate to start supplying power cost competitively to the grid itself and once that happens, the PV market growth will become sustainable without Government subsidies. The current estimates are that by 2012 or beyond, power from solar plants and peak power from grid will be equal in cost in many countries of the world.

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    • admin

      OK, I like it

      • admin

        I’m done

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