The Solar Photovoltaic Price Evolution Revolution

8:39 pm in Uncategorized by BruceMcF

In early December, the Guardian covered ALEC’s latest corporate-written attack on freedom, an effort to penalize households that place solar panels on their roof:

An alliance of corporations and conservative activists is mobilising to penalise homeowners who install their own solar panels – casting them as ‘freeriders’ – in a sweeping new offensive against renewable energy, the Guardian has learned. …

For 2014, Alec plans to promote a suite of model bills and resolutions aimed at blocking Barack Obama from cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and state governments from promoting the expansion of wind and solar power through regulations known as Renewable Portfolio Standards.

[Director of the Energy and Policy Institute Gabe] Elsner argued that after its bruising state battles in 2013, Alec was now focused on weakening – rather than seeking outright repeal – of the clean energy standards. ‘What we saw in 2013 was an attempt to repeal RPS laws, and when that failed … what we are seeing now is a strategy that appears to be pro- clean energy but would actually weaken those pro- clean energy laws by retreating to the lowest common denominator,’ he said.

So, is there a particular reason why ALEC going after rooftop solar photo-voltaic installations now, after having to beat a retreat on its 2013 effort to win wholesale repeals of Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards? Why yes, there does appear to be a particular reason for going after the economics of rooftop solar PV.

Solar Energy Prices and the Tipping Point

Consider the diagram below, taken from a Seeking Alpha article (free reg’n required for full article) on the immediate past and future prospects of the Solar Photovoltaic Energy industry. The labels are, I understand, largely illegible, but it is a plot on a logarithmic scale. This is a scale where the larger the numbers, the smaller the interval given to the same difference, which is quite useful when examining things that proceed by repeated doublings or, for the case of Solar PV energy, halvings. The blue line is a measure of the cost of petroleum (in terms of energy content), the red line the cost of natural gas, and the yellow line the retail price of electricity.

And the green line is the cost of solar PV electricity:

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