LOS ANGELES, June 17 The costs of making
electricity with solar power within a decade will reach parity
with power made with fossil fuels like natural gas and coal, a
study announced on Tuesday by supporters of renewable and solar
"As solar prices decline and the capital and fuel costs for
coal, natural gas, and nuclear plants rise, the U.S. will reach
a crossover point by around 2015," writers of the report,
publisher Clean Edge and environmental nonprofit Co-op America,
said in a press statement.
The statement says solar power can make 10 percent of U.S.
power generation by 2025, or about 255,000 of installed solar
Installed solar power -- both photovoltaic and concentrated
solar power -- has jumped to 3,000 megawatts in 2008 from 600
MW in 2003, the study said. Even that higher number is less
than a tenth of 1 percent of total U.S. power generation.
It will cost utilities between $450 billion and $560
billion by 2025 ($26 billion to $33 billion per year) in
capital costs to reach the 2025 goal.
The study also says utilities must remake market and
business models to allow solar to easily expand.
Among the study's findings is that the average cost for
solar photovoltaic power will drop to 8 to 18 cents per
kilowatt-hour by 2015 from today's 15 to 32 cents per KWh, and
further to 4 to 8 cents per KWh by 2025.
The study was written after more than 30 interviews with
solar, utility, financial and policy experts and a study of
market data, Clean Edge said.
A different study by the U.S. Energy Department and wind
power industry advocates issued in May said it is feasible to
have 20 percent of U.S. power generation from wind power by
2030. U.S. installed wind generation is about 16,000 MW now.
(Reporting by Bernard Woodall, editing by Mark Porter)