Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Is Solar Becoming More Cost Competitive?

A solar energy consulting firm in Boston is predicting that, by 2010, the cost per KW hour of solar energy in California will drop from its 2006 level of $0.22 to $0.13, making it competitive with the delivered cost of electricity from a coal-fired plant.

You really have to drill down on the company's methodology and question some of its assumptions (and motivations--this is a photovoltaic consulting firm, after all), but if the general conculsions are accurate-- that the cost of solar is trending down significantly, then making solar a much bigger part of California's renewable energy portfolio isn't such a crazy idea.

After Monday's "no" vote on LNG, the recent ban on coal-fired energy, and continued resistance to nuclear (I call this the "Lloyd Levine trifecta"-- let's all just sit in the dark!), solar finds itself on the short list of viable options.

Dig through the AP write-up on the survey at your leisure...

Solar electricity to reach cost parity with coal-based power by 2010 [AP]