Jan 2, 2012

National Solar Parity ... in 15 Years?

Blogger John Farrell (endorsed by Yale360 here) has been attempting to plot the emergence of solar grid parity for some time. He explains his "Solar Grid Parity 101" here and shows the impacts of state market incentives on solar pricing here. His most recent post, an animated timeline of the United States, shows San Diego reaching solar parity next year and a majority of US metropolitan areas reaching parity in 2023.

(Click images to enlarge)

 Costs of solar vary according to differing incentives.

San Diego is projected to reach solar parity by 2013.
Click to see John's animated map/timeline.

But what if today's incentive structures change? Renewable energy market incentivization and subsidization is nothing if not a political battle. Independent analysts Energy Tax Savers recently published a white paper advocating extension of the U.S. Gov's 1603 "solar cash grant" program. The paper highlights Solar P.V.'s rapid growth in the U.S. and imagines the creation of 1,000,000 manufacturing, installation, and maintenance jobs if such incentivization continues:
"The United States is just beginning to achieve major year-over-year increases in commercial solar installations.  Incentives, both state and local, have pushed the U.S. solar industry as far as it has come. In particular, the 1603 cash grant program has been integral to the success of solar. Solar P.V. installations grew by 114% from 2009 to 2010... industry analysts predict these figures to increase... In sum, as of the time this article is being written, 20.3 GW of solar power is either installed, being installed or in their development phase since January 1, 2010."
Department of Energy director, Steven Chu, believes the growth trends in solar P.V. are so strong that U.S. government could discontinue incentivization within 15 years (by 2027). 


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