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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

14¢ solar?

The Cleantech Group posts an interesting article about planned price cuts in PV electricity generation in China:
Solar cell maker … were among the companies that submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Science and Technology to cut the allowance for solar power generation [from $0.584] to $0.146 per kWh in 2012. The government had planned to reduce the allowance to that price in 2015.

The 75-percent price drop by 2015 is feasible, according to the Jiangsu Photovoltaic Industry Association. Industry leaders had predicted last year that it would take until 2020 to reach solar electricity at a cost of $0.146 per kWh.

Part of the reason for the accelerated decline is the price drop for polysilicon, which makes up 70 percent of the cost of silicon solar photovoltaic products. Polysilicon hit a peak of $400 per kilogram in July 2008, falling to less than $100 at the end of the year. Polysilicon is now trading for $30 to $40 per kilogram and is likely to continue dropping.

The 14.6¢ cost is significant because it brings solar in line with fossil-fuel based energy.
If the policy takes effect, this would mark an important milestone on the path to grid parity.

However, I don’t quite know what to make of it: the article is unsigned and no source is given. And from my own research on telecom, when it comes to Chinese industrial policy, there’s always more than meets the eye.

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