November 19, 2009

Has photovoltatic solar reached grid parity?

It looks like it has.

Daytime grid power sells for more than $.20 per KWH in Southern California. PV has to sell for less than $4 per peak watt to beat that price.

Well, First Solar has been selling it's panels for less than $2.50 per Wp - with Balance of System costs (wiring, inverter, structural supports, installation) that allows installation near the magic $4/Wp.

Now we hear that panel pricing has fallen by more than 50% in the last year:

"China Sunergy’s average selling price of $1.32 per watt was down from $3.48 a year earlier and $1.44 in the second quarter. Wafer costs declined to 87 cents per watt from 96 cents the previous quarter. "

That should allow full installations below the $4/Wp parity point, at least on the large industrial/commercial roofs for which PV works best.

Here's the source.

November 11, 2009

Have EVs and plug-in hybrids reached the tipping point?

I'd say so.

Look at the Volt, around which GM is centering it's future. Look at the dozens of vehicles coming in the next 3 years, like the Nissan Leaf . Look at the explosion of development around them:

" is where the dots connect and the news turns good. For the technical challenge of greening electric cars means entering a commercial landscape that mirrors the transformative industries of the 1980s and '90s: computers and software, switching and networking, consumer electronics converging with cellular technology. This landscape is full of start-ups and medium-size supplier businesses that play to American strengths: entrepreneurship, originality, comfort with the virtual. We ought to stop thinking about the auto industry as a handful of great manufacturing companies superintending large, dependent suppliers -- or, for that matter, cars as standalone objects. Rather, the electric car will be a kind of ultimate mobile device, produced in expanding networks for expanding networks; a piece of hardware manufactured by a burgeoning supplier grid and nested in an information grid interlacing the electrical grid. Building out these three networks will be more profitable, and a greater engine of economic growth, than building the cars themselves."