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Holy grail in sight

Posted 22/06/2011 by KatieJ

So the ‘holy grail’ of solar energy, $1/W, looks as though it has moved one step closer, according to research by US market intelligence company IHS iSuppli, which suggests that the selling price for crystalline silicon photovoltaic (PV) cell modules will fall to $1/W by the first quarter of 2012. This brings the goal of $1/W of generated electrical power, making solar energy competitive with fossil fuel electrical power a little more likely.

HIS iSuppli believes this unexpected fall in the price of PV modules, following the recent Intersolar trade exhibition in Munich, Germany, will forestall a widely forecast dip in the number of PV installations in 2012 and very likely increase demand.

Various reasons have been suggested for this forecast dip in PV installations, including the reductions announced in a number of European countries in the so-called feed-in tariffs offered to the owners of PV energy installations who are paid to supply electricity back into the grid after satisfying all their own electric power requirements.

Other disincentives have included, in the UK, for example, lack of clarity from government as to which types of PV installations will receive funding to encourage their establishment. After investors had been persuaded that the UK government would fund large scale PV installations or so-called solar farms, it would now appear that such funding is only going to be available for domestic installations, leaving organisations planning solar farms high and dry with bills for land purchases, project plans and so on.

How different is the picture for wind farms, which if successive UK government are to be believed are the panacea for making sure the UK achieves its renewable energy targets? Clearly Germany must have got it wrong. With a climate very similar to that of the UK, PV installations abound across the country along with wind farms it has to be said. And this commitment to a mix of wind and solar power has put Germany into a strong position regarding renewable energy even with, or despite, its recent decision to halt all nuclear power.

As has been said by many observers, including C&I, the UK needs a proper energy policy; one that utilises and encourages all the options available. But solar is one alternative in particular that has few detractors. Solar panels can be integrated into buildings, on roofs and even walls and windows without becoming an eyesore, and while they don’t generate power at night, as long as there is light then current will be generated, even on a cloudy day.

Neil Eisberg - Editor

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  • Anonymous said:
    11/09/2012 12:30

    Great post. This article very informative and interesting.Believe me i have never ever read this type of article, I refer your blog to many of my friends as well. Thanks for sharing knowledge..

  • Anonymous said:
    13/07/2012 11:31

    Well of course you can! You just have to be aware that the cerrunt drain will probably be pretty good, so the battery many not last long.I made a HeNe laser supply using a 9V battery. It required about 4000V to start and 1250V to maintain lase. I sold quite a few of those.