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Solar power prices to continue falling (maybe) through 2025, says Near Zero


December 12, 2012
By Anthony Capkun


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December 12, 2012 – A new survey argues that solar power will become much cheaper through 2025, while expanding greatly but, for these trends to continue for the long-term, a commitment to funding research is required.

To get a sense of what future prices for solar power are likely to be, as well as other challenges and bottlenecks the industry faces, Near Zero says it conducted a formal, quantitative survey that drew on from industry, universities and national labs. The survey asked their expectations about future prices for modules, as well as the expenditures for other parts of solar power systems. Respondents were also asked how much solar power they expected would be installed in the coming years.

Respondents expect the price of solar power systems will fall sufficiently that it will be far more competitive than today, forecasting a large expansion of the amount of installed solar power—increasing more than 10 times over the decade from 2010 to 2020 (an expansion that will continue at a similar rate until at least 2025).

However, this success story depends on solar power prices continuing to fall, which will require continued and possibly increased levels of spending on R&D. Were prices to hold steady rather than fall, then the same expansion of solar power over the period 2012 to 2025 would cost at least 50% more, adding up to several hundred billion dollars.