Solar Power System in Nevada Desert Reaches Grid Parity
Not the First Solar plant in question, merely representative... Photo: First Solar
At least according to the calculations of one analyst, a 12.5 MW solar power system installed by First Solar for Sempra Generation produces electricity at a lower cost, without any subsidies, than conventional fossil fuel generated power.
Mark Bachman, at Pacific Crest, concluded that the electricity from the First Solar system cost $0.075 per kilowatt hour to install, while conventional power cost $0.09 per kWh. Here’s how Bachman came to that conclusion:Crystalline Silicon v. Thin Film ComparedAs I don’t have access to the actual research note, I’m going to have to rely on this summary from Greentech Media,
The $40 million system at Sempra is comprised of 168,300 panels, which First Solar installed at a cost of $3.17 per watt, Bachman wrote. (The installed cost is higher because it includes frames and installation, not just the solar module.)
He then used SunPower's installation of a 14.2-megawatt system at the Nellis Air Force base in Nevada for comparison. Bachman said SunPower's crystalline silicon panels cost $7.04 per watt to install.
After figuring out how much electricity the system is generating, Bachman determined that it costs $0.164 per kilowatt hour.
He concluded that for the SunPower system to generate electricity at the same rate (in kilowatt-hour) as First Solar's, SunPower would have to cut its panel prices by 52 percent and sell them at $3.4 per watt.
via: Greentech MediaSolar PowerSolar Power to Reach Parity by 2015, New Study Claims1,280 Megawatt Solar Power Plan Unveiled by Los Angeles Mayor600,000 Square Foot Solar Power Rooftop Completed by Southern California Edison