• pen icon Complete our simple form
  • quote icon Up to 3 solar companies will contact you
  • thumbs up icon You choose the best quote

Start your quote

Find local, MSC certified Solar Installers

Efficiency gains could make solar half the price of coal by 2030

Posted on 04/01/2013

The dollar cost per watt of solar PV has fallen by 7% per annum over the last 30 years.

An article in Scientific American reports that scientists have observed a principle similar to Moore’s Law at work in solar economics.

Moore’s Law is a concept applicable to computer hardware which stipulates that chip processing power doubles every 18 months due to the doubling of transistors in integrated circuits every two years. Researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory at the US Department of Energy have been studying the processes at work in solar power and are now starting to ask whether a similar concept can be applied to solar panels.

Logarithmic efficiency growth of solar electronics has meant that the price per watt of solar modules has fallen from $22 in 1980 to a current level of $3 while data obtained in 2010 indicates that prices are also ahead of the three decade trend. Experienced manufacturers have achieved consistent cost reductions and improvements in solar cell efficiency with scientists achieving an efficiency level as high as 41% in lab tests. This would have been inconceivable in the 1980’s. In essence, solar cell manufacturers are improving their ability to fabricate solar at a cheaper cost.

The implications are staggering. If the trend continues for another 8-10 years, which seems increasingly likely, solar will be as cheap as coal with the added benefit of zero carbon emissions. If the cost continues to fall over the next 20 years, solar costs will be half that of coal. These predictions may in fact be too conservative given that First Solar have reported internal production costs of 75 cents (46 pence) per watt with an expectation of 50 cents (31 pence) per watt by 2016.

When applied to electricity prices this predicts that solar generated electricity in the US will descend to a level of 12 cents (7 pence) per kilowatt hour by 2020, possibly even 2015 for the sunniest parts of America.

Start your quote

Find local, MSC certified Solar Installers

Latest Job requests posted in the United Kingdom

29 Aug

Wigan (WN6)

Repair/Maintenance of Solar HW System

Repressurisation of system + servicing

29 Aug

Wrexham (LL12)

New Battery Installation (Solar PV)

Solar battery. Unsure on the direction of the roof, pitched and tiled. No shading and no windows. Size system 4KW, located in the loft. Work timescale ASAP.(...)

29 Aug

Peterborough (PE4)

New Solar PV Installation

No description

29 Aug

Market Drayton (TF9)

New Solar Thermal Installation

New build. Looking for Solar Thermal system. Required ASAP. Contact: Anytime.

28 Aug

London (NW5)

New Solar PV Installation

Solar PV. Unsure on the direction of the roof, flat and fiberglass. No shading and has one sky light. Size system - open to advise. Work timescale within 1(...)

28 Aug

Rickmansworth (WD3)

New Solar PV Installation

Solar PV with battery. South west facing roof, pitched and tiled. No shading and no windows. Size system - open to advise. Work timescale within 1 month.(...)

28 Aug

Tredegar (NP22)

New Solar PV Installation

Looking for free-standing panels to power polytunnel and greenhouse. Unsure of size required. Install within 3 months. Contact: Anytime. Chairman of Gardening(...)

28 Aug

Brampton (CA8)

New Solar PV Installation

I work in architecture. I want as much PV as can be installed before the feed-in tariff changes. However, I need panels that replace slates, instead of sitting(...)

28 Aug

Bradford (BD15)

New Solar PV Installation

Roof: On hillside so gets full sun. Pitched. Tiled. No shading to affect panels. 1 small velux window. Wants to discuss size of system required. Install within(...)

27 Aug

Malvern (WR14)

New Battery Installation (Solar PV)

Size of existing PV system: Solace. Make/Model of inverter: Tesla. Would like battery to be located in the loft. Timescale: within 6 months. Contact: Evenings(...)

27 Aug

Banbury (OX15)

New Solar PV Installation

Roof: South west facing. Pitched. No shading to affect panels. Wants to discuss size of system. Looking for domestic use of farmhouse, but also looking to feed(...)

27 Aug

Cambridge (CB22)

New Solar PV Installation

Property in the process of being built. Roof: north and south. Pitched and tiled. No shading. No windows on roof. Open to advice on size system. Install within(...)

27 Aug

Wokingham (RG41)

Repair/Maintenance of Solar PV System

Maintenence or replacment of current solar panels. Replace within ASAP. Contact anytime

26 Aug

Banff (AB45)

New Solar PV Installation

No description

26 Aug

Kilbirnie (KA25)

New Solar Thermal Installation

No description

26 Aug

Orkney (KW17)

New Solar PV Installation

No description

26 Aug

London (SW6)

New Solar PV Installation

E/W facing. Pitched & slate. No shading. No windows. Open to suggestions regarding system size. Replace within 6 months. Contact anytime.

25 Aug

Leicester (LE3)

New Solar PV Installation

No description

25 Aug

Kilmarnock (KA3)

New Solar PV Installation

No description

25 Aug

Carnforth (LA6)

New Solar PV Installation

Solar PV. Roof: West facing. Pitched and tiled. No shading .1 veluxe . Install within 3 months. Contact any time.

25 Aug

London (E11)

New Solar PV Installation

No description

25 Aug

York (YO62)

Repair/Maintenance of Solar PV System

4 bed semi. Put in 7yrs ago by everest and they have stopped doing them. Wants maintenance - wants to be reasured that all is working well. Just has 2 pannels.(...)

25 Aug

Kidderminster (DY10)

New Solar PV Installation

Solar PV: Roof Faces South Pitched and tiled. No shading. Timescale within 3 months. Contact anytime.

24 Aug

Buntingford (SG9)

New Solar PV Installation

No description

24 Aug

Bicester (OX26)

New Solar PV Installation

Call after 5pm. 4 bed detached. Roof: All directions. Pitched and tiled. No windows. No shading - bar 1 tree. Call anytime. Install within 3 month

24 Aug

Exeter (EX6)

New Solar PV Installation

Solar PV: Roof Faces South East. Pitched and tiled. No Shading. Timescale within 1 month. Contact anytime.

24 Aug

Buckie (AB56)

Repair/Maintenance of Solar PV System

I had solar panels installed in December and the " i Boost System " never worked . I had the company return and they took it away . They never came back with a(...)

24 Aug

London (E5)

New Solar PV Installation

Solar PV: Roof faces west East. ·····ed and tiled. No Shading. Timescale ASAP. Contact anytime.

24 Aug

Winchester (SO22)

Repair/Maintenance of Solar HW System

Just not working

24 Aug

Fakenham (NR219PH)

New Solar PV Installation

PV panels on pitched roof to new House to be constructed Preferred panel type to fit flush with external surface of roof tiles