$1 Panels to Make Solar Energy Cost Competitive within 10 Years

A report by the consultancy firm Ernst and Young has predicted that the unit cost of solar panels would fall to $1 by 2013. The predicted fall in costs of solar panels suggests that government subsidy for solar panels to make them a more attractive investment may not be needed in the future as solar power becomes cost competitive with fossil fuels.

Organisations such as the Solar Trading Association, who commissioned the report from Ernst and Young, have long argued that solar energy is a low cost and effective way of producing low-carbon energy and diversifying away from the UK’s structural dependency on fossil fuel based power.

One of the keys to the limited amount of success enjoyed by solar energy thus far is partly due to its ease of installation on a wide range of scales. At the top end of the range, there have been major projects to build large scale ‘solar farms’ or Concentrating Solar Power Plants in countries such as Spain. There are plans for enormous solar power plants, big enough to cover Wales, to be built in the Sahara desert. Some in Europe see the potential for these solar farms to be hooked up to a European Union power grid, with up to 50% of the EU power being generated in Africa.

At the other end of the scale, there is an increasing trend for homeowners to fix solar panels to their houses in order to reduce the costs of electricity and contribution to CO2 emissions. This is not only common in the UK and developed world. Around the developing world the slow progress of electricity infrastructure compared to the uptake of personal electronics and technology has meant a proliferation of home micro-solar units. With this latest report from Ernst and Young suggesting further drops in the price of solar panels, the trend for homeowner micro-electricity generation is only likely to increase.

For the same reasons, businesses see solar panels attached to office buildings as a way of saving costs and making cuts in their own carbon emission contributions towards becoming carbon neutral. In fact, the report suggests that the falling costs of solar energy per unit may make it cheaper for companies to install solar electricity than buy from the national grid within ten years, with price differences between solar and other types of electricity expected to level out by 2018.

It is clear that the demand for solar energy and corporate conversion to carbon neutral electricity is becoming increasingly common. The future of electricity supply is also moving towards greater globalisation, with energy potentially being supplied through and EU wide grid and supplies being sources from Africa. It is vital, therefore, that language barriers do not stand in the way of international cooperation on the future of globalised energy supplies. At TJC Global, our extensive network of professional and experienced linguists allows us to supply translators and interpreters specialising in the fields of climate change, carbon emissions reduction, environmental law and the international energy industry. To find out more about our translation and interpreting services, please visit www.tjc-oxford.com or email info@tjc-global.com with any enquiries.

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