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Residential Solar Power: Non-Subsidized Price Parity Within 10 Years
Mar 13, 2012
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Unsubsidized solar photovoltaic (PV) systems for the home will be cost-competitive at the residential level in 13 U.S. states within 10 years - far sooner than many industry watchers and critics had expected, according to a forecast from Clean Edge, Inc.

The 13 states are: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Solar systems have becoming increasingly cost competitive, with the global average system price per watt in 2011 at just half the average in 2007. The firm expects a large increase in providers, including solar installers/financiers of residential, commercial, and industrial installations.

In fact, the firm said, the solar cells, mostly manufactured from silicon, are showing economies of scale similar to those in earlier high-tech products like personal computers and cell phones. Complete systems were being installed in 2011 at a global average of $3.47 a peak watt, or 14 to 23 cents per kWh (compared to 2007 when the cost was $7.20 a peak watt, or 28 to 47 cents per kWh).

The firm forecasts the cost will drop by 2021 to $1.28 a peak watt, or 5 to 10 cents per kWh.

The increasingly cost-competitive nature of the industry is, in fact, making it tough for high-cost providers (such as the ill-fated Solyndra) to survive in the industry.

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