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Solar electricity cheap as grid leccy by 2012

plug.jpgIf you think about it (and Greenbang regularly does) so many of the world’s greatest and most unanswerable questions start with the the word when.

‘When was the universe created’, for example, or ‘when’s tea ready?’ or ‘when will there be a harvest for the world?’ or ‘when do the binmen come?’ So many questions, so few answers.

Still, at least one of those head-scratchingly tricky brain teasers – when will solar achieve cost parity with traditional electricity sources? – has been solved by industry analysts iSuppli.

If 40 percent cost reductions in photovoltaic cells come off as expected,well, then parity could come in under five years.

Says iSuppli:

many regions throughout the world will soon reach grid parity—a point at which PV electricity costs the same or less than power derived from the electrical grid. PV grid parity is expected beginning 2012 in nations where sunshine is plentiful and constant, and 2018 in areas of the world with adequate or medium sun exposure.

And there’s more:

Global production of PV cells is expected to rise to as much as 12 Gigawatts (GW) by 2010, up from 3.5GW in 2007. By 2010, as many as 400 production lines in the world that can produce at least 1 Megawatt (MW) of PV cells per year will be in place, representing a four-fold increase from about 90 to 100 production lines in 2007. Factories capable of 1GW of annual PV production also will be established in the future to ensure continued strong delivery of PV cells to the market.

“The market for PV cells is estimated to grow by 40 percent annually until 2010, and 20 percent beyond,” said Dr. Henning Wicht, senior director and principal analyst, MEMS and photovoltaics, for iSuppli. “Nearly all market participants plan to increase their sales by a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 40 to 50 percent during the next few years.” Wicht noted that heavy investments will be required to finance the expansion of PV cell production. Each PV factory will require an investment of $500 million and more, will employ as many as 1,000 workers per site, and will generate annual revenue of $1 billion per year or more, putting them into the size, cost and employment range of semiconductor fabs.


  • rwr
    Posted July 19, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    Hmm? 1 terawatt is 1000 gigawatts. So 15 terawatts = 15000 gigawatts. 400Gw/year means 37.5 years to get to 15 Tw of capacity. Still some time, but a lot more feasible than 2,500,000 years!

  • neil
    Posted July 12, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    the problem with the world is this.It is owned by a handful of people in each country who exploit the rest.The other problem is that they want to sell us their fuels and most people are like sheep and do this ,so long as they can have a car and ars able to drink a few beers.WE need to break down the rulers of the world by educating people to think,to do this we need to take away thier vices.This will happen naturally when evrything runs out.
    An idea of mine is to place large iron thro the earth and then huge magnets on the edge of the atmosphere to produce electricity,using the enrgy of the revolving earth.
    Also crs should have magnets that pas over iron windings in the road and produce electricity.
    The world need sto share more and learn to live without fuels like before this is the other alternative .

  • Steve O'Donnell
    Posted June 26, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    Sorry Dan, this is a pimple on Mount Everest, the Global instantaneous supply of Electricity is about 15 Terra Watts. So for the 400 factories supplying 1 GW of arrays per year = (400 GW in total at the end of year 1) we would need to run production for 2,500,000 years……..

    Can the planet wait that long?


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