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Published on May 29th, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan


GE: Solar Power Cheaper than Fossil Fuels in 5 Years

May 29th, 2011 by  

I reported a month and a half ago here on CleanTechnica that renewable energy passed up nuclear in total installed power capacity in 2010 (worldwide) and has been adding much more power to the world’s supply for years. I’ve also written about the clean economic of renewables compared to nuclear or fossil fuels like coal a number of times. Now, GE predicts another important milestone along these lines in the coming years.

“Solar power may be cheaper than electricity generated by fossil fuels and nuclear reactors within three to five years because of innovations, said Mark M. Little, the global research director for General Electric Co. (GE),” Bloomberg reports.

Well, you can see pretty clearly how much solar costs are dropping in this graph from the recent IPCC report on renewables, shared over on Climate Progress on Thursday.

And you can see from this graph below, which I shared previously when discussing renewable energy compared to nuclear that some studies have already identified a solar-nuclear crossover.

Solar and Nuclear Costs: The Historic Crossover

Now, even without externalities included (which bring the cost of fossil fuels up considerably), solar is on its way to eclipsing other major energy sources.

Bloomberg goes on to note the following:

“The cost of solar cells, the main component in standard panels, has fallen 21 percent so far this year, and the cost of solar power is now about the same as the rate utilities charge for conventional power in the sunniest parts of California, Italy and Turkey….”

Think stories on solar power breakthroughs get redundant? Well, sorry, but that’s because there is so much going on to make them cheaper that there are significant breakthroughs nearly every week. And that’s expected to continue. Solar power offers a tremendously good return on investment (ROI) in many states due to fairly low costs and good government incentives, which means that you can really make good money by investing in solar today.

But cost reductions will make that more and more possible without any subsidies at all….

“If we can get solar at 15 cents a kilowatt-hour or lower, which I’m hopeful that we will do, you’re going to have a lot of people that are going to want to have solar at home,” Little said

Looks like a good plan and good progress is being made. Expect more good news along these lines soon.

Connect with me on StumbleUpon, Facebook, or Twitter @zshahan3.

Related Stories:

  1. Renewable Energy Passed Up Nuclear in 2010
  2. Solar Power Almost as Cheap as Natural Gas in Six States
  3. Solar Panel Film Increases Efficiency 300%, Cuts Costs in Half
  4. U.S. Poised for Wind and Solar Power Boom
  5. International Solar PV Nearly Doubled, PV Growth Doubled in 2010
  6. Full Cost of Coal $500 Billion/Year in U.S., Harvard Study Finds
  7. Cost of Wind Power — Kicks Coal’s Butt, Better than Natural Gas (& Could Power Your EV for $0.70/gallon)
  8. Solar Power Blowing Up in the United States
  9. Historic Report: Solar Energy Costs Now Lower than Nuclear Energy


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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA] — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in this company and feels like it is a good cleantech company to invest in. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort on Tesla or any other company.

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