A new report from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, Tracking the Sun VI: An Historical Summary of the Installed Price of Photovoltaics in the United States from 1998 to 2012, shows that the total price accumulated after solar panel installers were done with their jobs has fallen considerably within the past year and a half.
We’ve reported a few times on the price of solar falling so much within just the past few years. It’s one of the big stories of the decade, in the US and worldwide. But it bears repeating, because most people are probably completely unaware of this, and completely unaware of the fact that solar panel manufacturers and solar panel installers have brought down costs s much that solar power can save millions of people a trainload of money.
With falling costs, we have actually seen massive solar power growth. As I wrote yesterday, ⅔ of the solar panels sold around the world were sold within the past 2.5 years. That’s pretty stunning, and its indicative of how much more cost-competitive solar has become in thousands of locations on all continents. But the future is projected to be even much brighter, with global installed solar power projected to double in the next 2.5 years.
We’re in the early part of another technological revolution, one that shifts our power source from massive, dirty power plants owned and operated by semi-monopolies to clean, distributed power plants on the roofs of common people and businesses all across the world.
Rather than use energy from the fossilized remains of plants and animals that originally got their energy from the sun, we will use energy coming directly from the sun itself. Well, we are increasingly doing so.
The solar power cost shift from the past few years or so has been stunning to watch. It’s been very interesting to work in a field that is just at the birth of its revolutionary growth. The phase we are in now is quite fascinating. Solar power has become cheaper than electricity from the grid for millions of people, yet the huge majority of them don’t realize it. It’s simply the stage where the sleeping masses are about to wake up and transform the way we have for decades thought about, purchased, and supplied electricity.
Getting back to the Tracking the Sun report, solar panel installers’ all-in installed prices through 2012 dropped approximately:
- $0.90 per watt for systems smaller than or equal to 10kW (which is a drop of approximately 14%)
- $0.80 per watt for 10 – 100 kW systems (13% drop)
- $0.30 per watt for systems over 100kW (6% drop)