Solar Power May Already Rival Coal, Prompting Installation Surge

Solar Power May Already Rival Coal, Prompting Installation Surge Q
By Ehren Goossens – Apr 6, 2011 12:00 AM ET

April 6 (Bloomberg) — Katrina Landis, chief executive officer of BP Plc’s alternative-energy unit, discusses the outlook for the London-based company’s investments in clean energy. Landis spoke yesterday with Erik Schatzker at the 2011 Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit. (Source: Bloomberg)
Solar panel installations may surge in the next two years as the cost of generating electricity from the sun rivals coal-fueled plants, industry executives and analysts said.

Large photovoltaic projects will cost $1.45 a watt to build by 2020, half the current price, Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimated today. The London-based research company says solar is viable against fossil fuels on the electric grid in the most sunny regions such as the Middle East.

“We are already in this phase change and are very close to grid parity,” Shawn Qu, chief executive officer of Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ), said in an interview. “In many markets, solar is already competitive with peak electricity prices, such as in California and Japan.”

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