With the solar industry delivering ferocious cost reductions, falling as much as 11% in just 6 months, it's little wonder that some predict that solar will be cheaper than coal in the very near future. Fascinatingly though, Joshua Hill over at Cleantechnica reports that even many positive reports about grid parity and solar competitiveness are overrestimating solar's true costs. New research claims that many studies are simply ignoring the 70% drop in cost of solar since 2009, for example, and are incorrectly estimating a system's lifespan at 20 years, when the real number is 30 years or more. (Modern panels also lose efficiency much more slowly than older technologies.)
And as Clean Technica notes, this doesn't even take into account the astoundingly high hidden costs of coal and other fossil fuels. Folks used to ask whether we can afford to go solar. Increasingly, the question seems to be whether we can afford not to.