Solar PV Getting Cheaper, But Press Doesn’t Have a Clue about the Real Story
Read this article by the AP and you would think the reason solar is cheaper is subsidies.
Well, good sources tell us that Chinese crystalline silicon modules are available at $1.4/W; and big systems can be installed with trackers at $3/W (which means $2.5/W without them). These prices put solar in the 10 c/kWh range right now in good sunlight!
The mainstream press probably doesn’t know what these numbers mean. For comparison, modules used to sell for $2-$4/W, so $1.40/W is a huge drop. And big systems went in for $4/W or more, and little ones on rooftops for the outrageously high number of $8/W quoted by the article and out-of-date reports.
Some of this appears to be dumping by Chinese silicon companies. It has big implications. It may put everyone but technology leaders like First Solar out of business. The European silicon companies are especially vulnerable. People speculate that the Chinese have picked PV as their pet future industry and will essentially give it all the money it needs to survive this downturn. But that could be an overstatement from the non-Chinese companies; it’s hard to tell.