Clean Power

Published on March 24th, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan


Italy, Spain, & Germany Hit Commercial Solar Grid Parity In 2013

March 24th, 2014 by  

We’ve been writing “grid parity is coming,” “grid parity is coming,” “grid parity is coming,” for so long that it’s sometimes surprising when new regions cross over to grid parity. Some of the latest additions to the grid parity pie are the commercial sectors in Italy, Spain, & Germany. Check out the news below from Solar Love:

The days when solar power was more expensive than other power sources are quickly passing us by. News out of Europe is that commercial solar power is now at grid parity in some major European countries.

A new study, the PV Grid Parity Monitor, conducted by consulting firm Eclareon, has found that commercial solar power hit grid parity in Italy, Germany, and Spain in 2013. Based on levelized cost of energy (LCOE) calculations, commercial solar now competes with retail electricity in these European countries.

“In countries such as Italy and Germany, both at grid parity and with proper regulation, PV systems for self-consumption represent a viable, cost-effective, and sustainable power generation alternative,” said David Pérez, partner at Eclareon in charge of the study.

grid parity germany italy spain

As you can see in the chart above, of the 7 countries studied, 4 are yet to hit commercial solar grid parity. Of them, Mexico certainly looks the best-positioned to hit it next, and France seems to be next in line after that.

You can also see large variation in the solar policies of these countries. For example, Spain is infamous now for its retroactive solar feed-in tariff cuts. It has also made it illegal for people to consume electricity they generate from their own solar panels.

Italy and Germany, on the other hand, have largely cut solar feed-in tariffs as initially scheduled. Overall, their solar policies have been much more stable. They also have policies supporting the adoption of energy storage, which is a good supplement to rooftop solar, especially if costs can be brought down as they were with solar panels.

Of course, Brazil and Mexico are seen as having the most supportive policies for solar PV electricity self-consumption.

Notably, LCOE for commercial solar power has been coming down in all 7 countries a great deal, but, as might be expected, they’ve been coming down slowest in the countries already at grid parity, which have more mature solar PV markets and have less incentive to further cut prices:

commercial solar lcoe

For more details, check out the full PV Grid Parity Monitor.

This was the first commercial solar grid parity monitor from Eclareon. I’ll keep you up to date with changes in the coming ones.

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

    Commercial Sector
    2 nd issue May 2015 –

    In Brazil, high installation prices and a high discount rate still prevent PV from being
    competitive against grid electricity, but the regulatory support (an attractive net
    metering system) is a good example of an effective incentive for market creation.
     Chile remains far from grid parity, mainly due to high installation prices, a high
    discount rate, and low electricity prices.
     In France, high irradiation levels (in the South) do not compensate for low electricity rates in the commercial sector and and the high installation prices for BAPV systems.
     In Germany and Italy, low PV installation prices, a low discount rate, and high retail electricity prices all contribute to reach full grid parity.
     In Mexico, certain commercial electricity consumers (“Tarifa 2”), have reached grid parity. For other consumers, low electricity tariffs still represent a barrier.
     In Spain, grid parity has been reached, owing to high irradiation and competitive system prices, but poor regulatory support is a barrier for market creatio

  • Solar Dimension

    Mexico is the leader in solar power in Latin America, personally I have rooftop PV and is getting cheaper and cheaper in Mexico, plus utility comercial cost of electricity is getting higher since subsidies are being eliminated progressively. Specially in the High Domestic Consumer niche, rooftop in Mexico is already at grid parity and very convenient. Self consume policies are fair enough plus permissions and contracts are getting friendlier everytime. Mexico will reach grid parity imminently by mid this decade.

  • For me, grid parity arrived four years ago already. DiY & cheap panels did the job.

  • sault

    If you incorporate the costs of pollution and climate change that coal, oil and gas cause, I bet most of the world acheived “grid parity” years ago…

    • Bob_Wallace

      Yes, but you realize we can’t acknowledge the external costs of fossil fuels because of Freedum!!!

      • Hans

        Acknowledging external cost is communist and fascist at the same time!

        • SolarEyes

          Seems to me like science, obvious accounting, and law. If the constitution gives us equal protection under the law, then any costs caused by one on another is plenty fair to be counted. The cost of of doing business includes harm to others. Unfortunately, the fine is used as a subsidy. If the real cost of cleaning up Valdez, gulf spill, the thousand other spills, the million other releases, and the whole sale contaminating of the biosphere, etc. Look at the proposed fine for the Duke Energy ash spill in North Carolina. Wow, $99,000. That’s pretty heartless for the other people who depend on the river and the generations that follow. Solar and wind are real solutions to the now totally unnecessary toxins. Once we switch we’ll never go back!

  • Banned by Bob

    I’m surprised that Chile isn’t closer given their remoteness to natural gas supplies.

  • JamesWimberley

    Brazil’s ranking raises a question: if its policies are so supportive, how come there’s so little rooftop solar installed? It’s true that the national legislation provides for net metering. My guess (I travel to Brazil every year and my wife is Brazilian, so I’m a bit better informed than the average tourist) is that the powerful monopoly parastatal utilities are succeeding tin tying up the industry in red tape, of which Brazil is a major producer. Solar is making slow progress at the utility level, with the successful auction in Pernambuco state. So it’s following in the footsteps of wind energy a decade ago.

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