28 Dec 2011:
Map Projects When U.S. Cities
Will Achieve Grid Parity for Solar
If energy cost trends remain consistent — with the price of retail electricity rising and solar power falling — solar energy could become cheaper than power from the grid
in most major U.S. metropolitan areas
by 2027, according to a recent projection. In a new map published on the Energy Self-Reliant States website
, energy policy analyst John Farrell has predicted which U.S. cities will achieve so-called “grid parity” first — and the order in which other cities will follow through 2027. Farrell, a researcher with the group, Local Self-Reliance, based his projections on recent regional retail rates for electricity, which have seen the cost of solar energy decline by an average of 7 percent per year and the cost of retail electricity increase by 2 percent annually. If that trend holds, Farrell predicts that San Diego will become the first city to achieve grid parity, in 2013, followed by New York City in 2015. By 2020, 17 metropolitan areas nationwide will have reached grid parity; the number will jump to more than 40 by 2027, Farrell projects. According to a recent study, the wholesale price of solar panels dropped 70 percent from late-2009 to mid-2011.
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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.
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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
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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.