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on the following debate:
By 2020 or earlier the installed costs for solar electricity systems will be reduced to US$1 per watt
Background: Due to strong incentives, mainly within the EU, global solar photovoltaic market has significantly grown during 2010, with the whole PV installed capacity having reached almost 40GW, or up 70% from nearly 23GW in 2009. The strong expansion in PV installations was mainly dominated by the European countries, with about 70% of the new solar power installations in 2010, with Germany leading the PV market accounting for almost 7GW and Italy with about 3GW, followed by Czech Republic (1.3GW), France (0.5GW), Spain (0.4), Belgium (0.25) and Greece (0.2). As for the main markets outside Europe, Japan PV market accounted for nearly 1GW, followed by the United States (0.8GW) and China (0.4GW).
The US administration and the Chinese government are both aiming at achieving price parity between solar electricity and fossil-based electricity without additional subsidies. Reaching this goal will establish the country’s technological leadership, improve the nation’s energy security, and strengthen economic competitiveness in the global clean energy race.
President Obama laid down a bold challenge to America in his State of the Union speech January 2011: “get to 80% clean energy by 2035.”
Ms. Eleni Despotou, Secretary General of the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (www.interpv.net): “PV electricity would see its generation costs dropping to a range of 5 to 12 c / kWh by 2020, making it highly competitive with all peak generation technologies, and as low as 4 to 8c/kWh in 2030, making it also widely competitive with most mid-load generation technologies.”
On the other hand we hear every day: “Solar is too expensive” or “Variable costs related to permitting, inspection and interconnection are killing the solar industry’s ability to achieve speed and scale”. .
Mr. Amnon Samid, CEO, The AGS group (www.AGSpower.com): “Encouraging investment only in PV systems will jeopardize the chances to develop a competitive solar thermal mini-grid distributed generation solutions for electricity production, that may enjoy the advantages of PV systems, but offers also storage capabilities and hybrid, co-generation and on-site power production options, occupying less expensive land for extended use, making it competitive with base load generation technologies, representing an alternative for new generation capacity in Sunbelt countries.”
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative aims to restore America’s once-dominant position in the global market for solar photovoltaic (PV), which has dwindled from 43% in 1995 to only 6% today. DOE estimates that if the installed costs for solar energy systems drop to $1 per watt — equivalent to a levelized cost of electricity of 5-6 cents per kilowatt hour — solar without subsidies would be competitive with the wholesale rate of electricity nearly everywhere in the U.S. The DOE intend to devote $200 million per year — to support a targeted roadmap to meet the SunShot goal by the end of the decade.
However, the “64 million dollar question” is:
Is it a realistic goal?
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