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Suntech Power CEO predicts solar market will take off in 2010; will have grid parity by 2012

Published by The Editors | Filed under photovoltaic

Solar power for the home fans can take some comfort in Solar Power Holding’s CEO’s belief that President Obama’s policies to subsidize solar power will cause a ramp up in solar power installations starting in 2010. He also predicts grid parity for solar power by 2012.

What is grid parity? It means getting the cost of producing solar energy down to the point where there is no difference between it and competing fossil fuels like natural gas or coal. For Suntech that means about 14 cents per kilowatt-hour. Currently, Suntech’s cost is about 35 cents, yet Shi says that by 2012 his production line will reach his target.

He plans to do this through a combination of cheaper silicon prices and by increasing the conversion efficiency of the photovoltaic panels. Reaching grid parity also means governments can phase out their current alternative energy subsidies which are currently what make costs competitive with fossil fuels.

Key Stats: Grid parity is 14 cents per kilowatt-hour.
11.1 gigawatts of solar panels are predicted to be produced in 2009, up from 7.7 gigawatts in 2008.

Resources: Fortune - China's New King of Solar

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