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(40,393 posts)
Fri May 25, 2012, 01:59 PM May 2012

Solar Power MORE Competitive Than Decision-Makers Or Consumers Realize


Solar Power More Competitive Than Decision-Makers Or Consumers Realize

Are the decision-makers entrusted with determining the future of energy infrastructure operating under an outdated understanding of the cost-competitiveness of solar power? In many cases, the answer is yes, according to a paper released last week by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

In “Reconsidering the Economics of Photovoltaic Power,” (PDF) BNEF CEO Michael Liebreich and nine collaborators document the precipitous decline in the price of solar power since 2009. “Average PV module prices have fallen by nearly 75% in the past three years,” they write, “to the point where solar power is now competitive with daytime retail power prices in a number of countries.”

Those facts so quickly upended what had been conventional wisdom (i.e., solar power is prohibitively expensive) that the new economics of solar power apparently caught decision-makers flat-footed. Here are the authors’ conclusions:

• The shift in prices of solar technology carries major implications for policy and investment decision-makers, especially when it comes to the choice of generating technology and the design of tariff, fiscal and other support policies.
• Many observers and decision-makers have yet to catch up with the improvements in the economics of solar power that have resulted from recent PV technology cost and price reductions.
• Recent reductions in PV prices are likely to be sustainable. While overcapacity has caused severe pain for manufacturers, the price falls are primarily a reflection of reductions in manufacturing costs, not solely a reflection of stock liquidation and other short-run factors.
• Commonly used estimates for PV power’s competitiveness – including the concept of “grid parity” – are often misleading, given the complex realities of the electricity system. [emphasis in the above mine]

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Solar Power MORE Competitive Than Decision-Makers Or Consumers Realize (Original Post) G_j May 2012 OP
I've seen a lot of really interesting articles from Forbes recently XemaSab May 2012 #1
Kicked and recommended. Uncle Joe May 2012 #2
Over capacity RobertEarl May 2012 #3
5... 4... 3... 2... Egalitarian Thug May 2012 #4
* G_j May 2012 #6
Thank you. Sam was the radical that actually made change happen in that family. Egalitarian Thug May 2012 #8
Solar is a disruptive technology n2doc May 2012 #5
things should improve G_j May 2012 #7
recently a 31% tariff was put on Chinese made solar cells RedRocco May 2012 #10
We lived off grid with two 280w panels and a small generator for a year. FedUpWithIt All May 2012 #9


(13,685 posts)
3. Over capacity
Fri May 25, 2012, 02:31 PM
May 2012

Yes, the solar manufacturers have over built the capacity.

That is because they forecast that Big Utilities would have done by now what is inevitable.

Big Utilities have fought solar from the first day. Well, those days are over. Fukushima and climate change have beaten them with a clue X 4 and they are finally giving up and going with the sun. Too late, maybe.


Egalitarian Thug

(12,448 posts)
8. Thank you. Sam was the radical that actually made change happen in that family.
Sat May 26, 2012, 11:02 AM
May 2012

Well, he and Abigail, his SIL.


(47,953 posts)
5. Solar is a disruptive technology
Fri May 25, 2012, 04:04 PM
May 2012

Once it goes it, Power companies can't compete with Nukes or even Coal. Their biz plan, based upon charging high prices during the day, gets upended when large amounts of PV are on line then. It's happening in Europe, and it will happen here unless the Koch-roaches ban it/tax it away. In a free market, people will choose to have most of their power supplied by cheap solar just like they choose to put in insulation.


(40,393 posts)
7. things should improve
Sat May 26, 2012, 10:40 AM
May 2012

though America seems quite intent on devolving in many ways, and recent climate change talks found the US again a member of the 'coalition of the unwilling'.

FedUpWithIt All

(4,442 posts)
9. We lived off grid with two 280w panels and a small generator for a year.
Sat May 26, 2012, 12:00 PM
May 2012

The whole solar system cost us $2000 when the charge controller and the inverter are factored in, largely because we acquired some lightly used, very good quality, batteries being changed out by a company. Many companies, like tv stations, cable companies, ups...change out their batteries regularly and will give them away for free.

Our panels cost us a little over $900 ( the price has since gone down and usually runs a lot cheaper still over winter) for the pair and they, with our batteries, gave us about 2.5 KWh a day in the summer. The system was powerful enough to run an average sized LED, three computers, all of the lights we needed and a vacuum (or other medium sized, non-heat generating appliance), at once. There are adjustments needed to live at that level of consumption but we never felt like it was a real burden, in fact, we LOVED the fact that our power was free and clean and made in our backyard. That can be quite an addictive feeling. Our plan, when we move again, is to add in 4 or 5 more panels, as money allows and put up a wind-max or two for wind elec generation during the winter.

Although our way of doing things would probably not work for all, i certainly believe that people could easily and affordably, supplement a large portion of their energy consumption through solar.

Our panels and system...

The best place for cheap alternative energy supplies is SunElec IMHO. We loved working with them and they were always professional, helpful and fast.


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