08 Dec 2011:
Cost of Solar Energy
Lower Than Usually Reported, Study Says
The cost of photovoltaic solar energy systems is not nearly as expensive as some energy analysts have projected
, according to a new study from Queen’s University in Ontario. In fact, Queen’s researcher
Joshua Pearce predicts that solar photovoltaic systems are approaching the “tipping point” at which they will be capable of producing energy at about the same price as traditional energy sources. In a study published in the journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
, Pearce says that many recent analyses of the costs of photovoltaic solar power — which typically include factors such as installation and maintenance costs, finance charges, life expectancy of the system, and the amount of electricity — have ignored the 70-percent reduction in solar panel costs since 2009. While one 2010 study calculated the cost at $7.61 per watt of electricity produced, Pearce says the cost is actually less than $1 per watt for panels purchased in bulk, although system and installation costs can vary significantly. Pearce also created a calculator to determine the cost of solar power, which is available for download
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
Photographer Robert Wintner documents the exquisite beauty and biodiversity of Cuba’s coral reefs, which are largely intact thanks to stifled coastal development in the communist nation. View the gallery.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.