solar power becomes economically viable
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New advances in solar tech may not be necessary to make it competitive with fossil fuel generation:
It is becoming competitive anyway.
[quote]Australia is embarking on a radical transformation of its electricity system that will see solar PV transition from being “disruptive” technology to the “incumbent” technology, displacing coal and sparking a radical change in the way that electricity is provided.[/quote]
[quote]It was clear, he said, that solar PV has been taken up more rapidly in lower-income suburbs than higher income – because of the attraction for lower-income households to get a lower, fixed rate of electricity.
Now, new financing models – such as leasing and community ownership, as well as models for renters – was likely to spark a third wave of investment in solar PV.
“Further innovation in the business models will potentially unleash still more waves of investment until solar PV has fully transitioned from disruptive technology to the new incumbent technology,” Green says. (You can read the whole presentation here)[/quote]
Goldman Sachs has set an estimated date for when they believe residential solar power becomes competitive with existing electric across the U.S.
It’s relatively soon.
And it’s mostly thanks to Elon Musk.
Here’s the timeline from Cleantech analysts Brian Lee and Thomas Daniels, included in Goldman’s latest note on Tesla:
- First, assuming the Gigafactory — the giant manufacturing facility that will soon begin pumping out lithium ion batteries to be used in both Tesla vehicles and renewable energy storage units — reaches its potential, the cost of said batteries should drop to $125/KWh by 2020, from a current price of more than $200/KWh, and dropping 3% each year thereafter.
- The cost of solar panels continues to fall. Goldman says we can expect an average reduction of 3% annually here as well. That is extremely ambitious — cost reductions have stalled a bit of late — but it does jibe with this famous chart.
Finally, if electricity prices continue to climb in-line with historical increases — something that assumes a steadier economic recovery — prices for existing forms of electricity will increase 3% annually.
“This puts LCOE at $0.20 by 2033 which would be at parity with the US grid price,” Goldman says.[/quote]