Solar power for less than a dollar

  • Solar PV energy can now be produced for less than $1 a watt although the public is being kept in the dark about its true viability, according to a new study by Queen’s University.

Solar PV energy can now be produced for less than $1 a watt although the public is being kept in the dark about its true viability, according to a new study by Queen’s University.

“Many analysts project a higher cost for solar photovoltaic energy because they don’t consider recent technological advancements and price reductions,” says Joshua Pearce, Adjunct Professor, Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering. “Older models for determining solar photovoltaic energy costs are too conservative.”

Dr. Pearce believes solar photovoltaic systems are near the “tipping point” where they can produce energy for about the same price other traditional sources of energy.

Analysts look at many variables to determine the cost of solar photovoltaic systems for consumers, including installation and maintenance costs, finance charges, the system’s life expectancy, and the amount of electricity it generates.

Dr. Pearce says some studies don’t consider the 70 per cent reduction in the cost of solar panels since 2009. Furthermore, he says research now shows the productivity of top-of-the-line solar panels only drops between 0.1 and 0.2 percent annually, which is much less than the one per cent used in many cost analyses.

Image credit: Kajano/Shutterstoc

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