Author Topic: Solar power now cheaper than grid power  (Read 522 times)

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Offline Stormwarden

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Solar power now cheaper than grid power
« on: February 14, 2014, 12:02:34 am »
http://www.earthtechling.com/2014/02/doe-sunshot-hitting-mark-with-solar-price-plunge/

We're getting closer, ladies and gents. Closer to a lot less reliance on an aging grid system. And maybe some cleaner air, time will tell.


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Offline Ultimate Paragon

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Re: Solar power now cheaper than grid power
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2014, 12:14:09 am »
Here's to a greener future!

Offline Art Vandelay

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Re: Solar power now cheaper than grid power
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2014, 12:20:12 am »
According to the article, it's largely because demand is tapering off just as China dumped way too many solar panels on the market. The price will normalise in the very near future and we'll be back to square one.

Also, solar is not "now cheaper than grid power". Utility solar power (that is solar power plants that supply the grid with electricity) is slightly cheaper than natural gas, which is still more expensive than coal. Microgeneration, on the other hand, is still as expensive as ever.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2014, 01:38:34 am by Art Vandelay »

Offline mellenORL

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Re: Solar power now cheaper than grid power
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2014, 04:11:46 pm »
Art is correct. It's a simple economy of scale problem. It is inherently cheaper per kilowatt hour produced to use large scale systems intended for utility company use. That is what that article was talking about.

For an individual, if you are handy with a soldering iron and wiring in general, have basic carpentry skills, you can buy cheap build-your-own PV panel kits. Install them on your roof, wire for connections to voltage regulators and deep cycle storage batteries and power converters. You can generate and store enough electricity (overnight battery use) to get off the grid. Or, with a grid connected system, it will send any excess, unused electricity generated by the panels back onto the grid via your meter for credit applied to your electric bill. Grid connected systems often don't have battery storage, just an initial setup money saving choice; in a sunny climate, during peak use hours - which are daylight workday hours - the system will make more power than used, assuming nobody is home using appliances (you're at work, at school), and your local utility company pays you for that excess electricity for use on the public grid. People with such systems have lower install costs, and their meters can run backwards during parts of the day, and overall their savings will help pay off the PV installation costs in several years. Contractor installed PV systems cost too much up front ($10,000 per Kw generated). Most of that exorbitant cost is labor and materials markup. A DIYer can do it for 1/5th that price, on average. Still expensive, still takes years to "pay for itself".
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