Saturday, August 23, 2014

Where Solar Parity is Here Already

From an article in The Independent: "Oil industry on borrowed time as switch to gas and solar accelerates":
Citigroup said solar already competes in the growing regions of the world on "pure economics" without subsidies. It has reached grid parity with residential electricity prices in Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Australia and the US southwest. Japan will cross this year, Korea in 2018. It forecast that even Britain will achieve grid parity by 2020, a remarkable thought for this wet isle at 51 or 52 degrees latitude....

Roughly 29pc [%] of all electricity capacity added in America last year came from solar. The story is by now well-known. A McKinsey study found that installed solar power in the US across all sectors has dropped from $6 a watt to $2.59 in four years, largely due to the collapse in the cost of solar cells.
It's starting to look obvious that those regions of the world where electricity is scarce, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, will get electricty via distributed solar energy, instead of building up an entire infrastructure of roads and pipelines to deliver fossil fuels. Which will obviate the "we can't stop using fossil fuels because the poor need cheap energy" argument. (That argument also does not prove that the wealthy OECD countries should get a pass on fossil fuels. They're rich enough now to switch to cleaner energy, and subsidize it for their country's poor if need be.)

And as fossil fuels are pushed out of the marketplace, their (cooling) aerosol pollution and the -1.9 W/m2 of cooling will go too.

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