Map shows when solar will be cheaper than grid electricity in North American areas

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16 Responses to “Map shows when solar will be cheaper than grid electricity in North American areas”

  1. techblog says:

    I would like to live in San Diego ! :-)

  2. matisse says:

    $4/watt installed for unsubsidized solar seems low. That would mean a 2.5Kw system installed (unsubsidized) for $10,000 and I think the real numbers right now are roughly twice that, at least in major cities (where labor is more expensive.) The *subsidized* cost per installed watt is probably around $4/watt (that is, after tax incentives, etc.)

    • Cowicide says:

      According to the chart, it’s not the subsidized price.  Cheaper solar is being driven by a lot of factors including:

      Increasing efficiency of solar cells
      (ratio of electrical energy produced to sunshine energy)

      • Dramatic manufacturing technology improvements

      • Economies of scale.
      (The PV solar industry has been growing globally about 25% per year even during the recession)

  3. Jake Boone says:

    Does the map account for climate variance?  I suspect there would likely be some significant differences, bang-for-the-buck-wise, between solar panels installed in, say, Phoenix and those installed in Seattle.

  4. subhan says:

    While interesting in concept, this map is largely useless, as it appears to completely fail to take into account variation in efficiency due to climate factors as well as the effect of latitude.  I can guarantee you that you will get much less electricity out of your solar panels here in Portland than you will in San Diego, which is way further south & gets a lot more sunshine!.

    • Cris Noble says:

      The map DOES take into account the differences in ‘sunniness’ for different localities. Take a look at the following article from the same website to get an idea of how they figure grid parity: 
      http://energyselfreliantstates.org/content/solar-grid-parity-101

      As a side note it is very possible to run a pure solar house in Seattle, my grandfather has done it for at least the last 15 years. Granted it gets less sun so needs more panels / costs more to implement than San Diego, but that is why Seattle doesn’t achieve parity until DEAD LAST at 2027.

  5. Sachmo says:

    A similar article comparing the cost of renewable vs. non-renewable energy in the UK was posted recently in the Guardian: 
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/dec/28/uk-switch-low-carbon-energy

  6. Henry Pootel says:

    Ah Oregon – so green (thanks to the rain).

  7. jaduncan says:

    Let me preface this by saying that I like solar very much, and once solar panel production is entirely solar powered it comes close to free energy. Assuming that solar costs go down 7% a year assumes no physical limits on electron recovery, however, and that seems like something that at the very least demands reasoning to support this assumption over the next 5-10 years.

    • W. Kiernan says:

      In what way?  If solar panels were to achieve 100.0% efficiency and thus they could not get more efficient even in theory, the price of manufacturing them can still go down.

  8. manooshi says:

    I guess I still don’t understand why San Diego will be the first solar grid parity city  in 2013.  Is it because San Diego’s demographics tend to be mostly the wealthy class [conservative/Republican/WASP's] who can afford to get off of the grid sooner than other less wealthy locales?

  9. E T says:

    Continental USA ≠ North America

  10. pjcamp says:

    2023? Dohhhh!

  11. jhertzli says:

    Does this mean we don’t have to worry about global warming now?

  12. JorgeBurgos says:

    No, its highly likely that we have already passed the point where we can save ourselves from the proverbial dangerous 2 degrees of warming, unless we invent something to start sucking carbon out of the atmosphere in great quantities.

  13. Vincent Maldia says:

    “The cost of solar decreases by 7% per year.”.

    Is this supported by at least historical data?

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