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Thread: Solar Cell Costs Decreasing

  1. #1
    Havakasha is offline
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    Solar Cell Costs Decreasing

    2011 AT 09:56 PM PDT
    Solar Cell Costs Fell 21% this Year, and May be Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels and Nuclear in 3-5 Years

    Brian Wingfield, of Bloomberg News reports that General Electric says the cost of solar cells has fallen 21% so far this year, and predicts the cost of Solar electrical generation may be cheaper than fossil fuels or nuclear reactors in three to five years.

    Solar power may be cheaper than electricity generated by fossil fuels and nuclear reactors within three to five years because of innovations, said Mark M. Little, the global research director for General Electric Co. (GE)

    “If we can get solar at 15 cents a kilowatt-hour or lower, which I’m hopeful that we will do, you’re going to have a lot of people that are going to want to have solar at home,” Little said yesterday in an interview in Bloomberg’s Washington office. The 2009 average U.S. retail rate per kilowatt-hour for electricity ranges from 6.1 cents in Wyoming to 18.1 cents in Connecticut, according to Energy Information Administration data released in April.

    Because GE, is talking about the free market price for the installer, or owner-operators, rather than for full life-cycle, whole systems cost to society, these cost comparisions exclude the external costs, of managing radioactive wastes, liability caps, environmental costs, such as CO2 production, and global warming, and the hidden "risk-premium" to society of a Fukushima like accident. So, I suspect means solar is probably already cheaper than nuclear, and coal from our total economic and social system viewpoint.

    The combination of increased efficiency and lower cost, combined with environmental, and safety concerns about fossil fuel, and nuclear reactor electrical production is causing a growing boom in purchases of thin-film solar panels, throughout the world.

    GE, based in Fairfield, Connecticut, announced in April that it had boosted the efficiency of thin-film solar panels to a record 12.8 percent. Improving efficiency, or the amount of sunlight converted to electricity, would help reduce the costs without relying on subsidies.
    The thin-film panels will be manufactured at a plant that GE intends to open in 2013. The company said in April that the factory will have about 400 employees and make enough panels each year to power about 80,000 homes.


    Installations may increase by as much as 50 percent in 2011, worth about $140 billion, as cheaper panels and thin film make developers less dependent on government subsidies, Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecast.

    Solar costs are falling rapidly due to innovation and economies of scale. An extraordinary 21% so far this year, and we are not even to June yet.

    The cost of solar cells, the main component in standard panels, has fallen 21 percent so far this year, and the cost of solar power is now about the same as the rate utilities charge for conventional power in the sunniest parts of California, Italy and Turkey, the London-based research company said.
    Most solar panels use silicon-based photovoltaic cells to transform sunlight into electricity. The thin-film versions, made of glass or other material coated with cadmium telluride or copper indium gallium selenide alloys, account for about 15 percent of the $28 billion in worldwide solar-panel sales.

  2. #2
    Atypical is offline
    Great news, Havakasha.



    Just saw this.

    Sanders, Boozman Introduce 10 Million Solar Roofs Bill

    May 27, 2011

    WASHINGTON, May 27 - Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) introduced a bill that would lower the cost of solar power and put the United States on track to install solar systems on 10 million homes and businesses by 2020.

    Sanders and Boozman are the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Green Jobs and New Economy Subcommittee. They were joined in introducing the solar legislation by Sen. Jeff Bingaman, the chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

    Sanders said "This legislation will make it more affordable for families and businesses to install solar, by helping communities reduce the costs associated with solar energy permitting. As we lower the cost of solar energy and increase our use of solar, we can create hundreds of thousands of good-paying manufacturing and installation jobs in this country. This bill also sets strong targets for American solar energy production, to ensure we compete vigorously with China and Europe for solar energy jobs."

    The 10 Million Solar Roofs Act of 2011 would establish a goal of powering 10 million homes and businesses with solar energy by 2020. The measure also would incorporate a Department of Energy initiative called SunShot to make solar more competitive with conventional energy technologies. The bill would provide grants to communities to help them make their solar energy permitting process less costly and more efficient, and would recognize and reward communities that have adopted common policies on solar permits.

    A solar industry report said hassles acquiring local permits add up to $2,500 to the cost of a typical residential solar installation. The Department of Energy also identified local permitting costs as an obstacle to further lowering solar energy costs that declined by 60 percent since 1995.

    Supporters of The Ten Million Solar Roofs bill include the Solar Energy Industries Association, the National League of Cities, and the League of Conservation Voters.

    Read the bill »
    Last edited by Atypical; 05-27-2011 at 11:56 AM.

  3. #3
    SiriuslyLong is offline
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    Joined: Jan 2009 Location: Ann Arbor, MI Posts: 3,560
    Nice but...

    Renewable Energy Corp. Reducing Factory Production Levels, Laying Off Workers

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