Solar energy may already cheaper than coal, at least for New Mexico, USA. To Bloomberg : ” First Solar, the world’s largest maker of thin-film solar panels, may sell electricity at a lower rate than new coal plants earn. “
” El Paso Electric Co. agreed to buy power from First Solar’s the 50-megawatt Macho Springs project for 5.79 cents a kilowatt- hour (…) That’s less than half the 12.8 cents a kilowatt-hour for power from typical new coal plants. “
Having solar at grid parity to coal would be a real game changer, a paradigm shift. New coal plants would totally lose their interest, and thus nobody would build them anymore.
In previous posts we have seen that such an event was forecast to occur around by 2016 or 2018. I guess that today’s news are proof that even those optimistic forecasts were wrong.
On the other side of the world, Chinese leading Solar PV manufactuers believe that by 2015 solar panels will cut their costs by another 30 percent, reaching 42 cents per Watt.
To Greentech Media :
The cost of producing a conventional crystalline silicon (c-si) solar panel continues to drop. Between 2009 and 2012, leading “best-in-class” Chinese c-Si solar manufacturers reduced module costs by more than 50 percent. And in the next three years, those players — companies like Jinko, Yingli, Trina and Renesola — are on a path to lower costs by another 30 percent.
(…) “Clearly, the magnitude of cost reductions will be less than in previous years. But we still do see potential for significant cost reductions. Going from 53 cents to 42 cents is noteworthy,” says Shayle Kann, vice president of research at GTM Research.