Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The (Near) Future of Solar -- Part 3

Module prices will continue to drop rapidly in coming years.  A few examples:

1.  Sun Edison announcement in October of a $0.40 per watt cost 400 watt module from 2016.  See report of the announcement here.

2.  1366 technologies' kerfless wafer promises more than 50% reduction in wafer costs for polysilicon modules, or overall 20% module cost reduction.  Scaling now to 250MW production facility.  See reports here and here.

3.  Martin Green, the "father of solar" in Australia, conservatively estimates that the cost of producing modules will fall by at least 50% over the next decade, reaching less than 30 cents per watt before 2025 ... a price at which coal (+ sequestration OR recapture OR carbon tax), nuclear and other sources will not be able to compete.  If he is talking in Australia cents (not clear, but likely), then that would be around US$0.26 per watt. ...

4. And it is widely reported that even today large, utility scale solar has a lower levelized cost of energy (LCOE) in many places now for new installations than competing fossil fuels.

5. Now this -- residential solar plus storage is now competitive in Australia among other places.

6. And next this -- an industry report indicates that even in that rain-swept island of Great Britain, the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of large scale solar should fall below that of LNG around 2020.  The LCOE will fall 30% from 2014 to 2020.  Of course, this number -- LCOE -- is the overall cost of providing a kWh, and is not limited to cells/modules, the true the "Moore's Law" components of solar.  As the report notes, solar has a history of beating these kinds of predictions ... unlike some other forms of energy.

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