Solar To Achieve Grid Parity In 100 Countries By 2020

Solar panel manufacturer Applied Materials is marking the northern hemisphere’s summer solstice by forecasting that by the year 2020, over 100 countries – representing 98 percent of the world’s population and 99.2 percent of energy-related CO2 emissions – will have access to solar-power sourced electricity at prices comparable to traditional sources.
   
The results of the third Applied Materials solar survey show that the manufacturing cost of solar panels has dropped by 70 percent since 2008, from $4 to a predicted $1 in the next few years. 
   
A statement from the company says significant advancements in solar technology will see solar PV-generated electricity reaching parity with sources such as coal-fired generation in 19 countries, including Italy, Spain and Brazil, by the end of 2011. Australia will reach the same point by 2020.
   
The survey found Americans strongly believe in solar energy as part of a clean energy future, although many overestimate the USA’s position as a global solar power leader. 80 percent of people surveyed would consider installing solar energy systems if it would lead to cost savings and as a long-term investment. 
  
Other motivations for installing solar included: 
   
– Government incentives (65%)
– Increase in the home’s value (54%)
– Ability to sell excess power to an energy company (47%) 
  
According to Dr. Charlie Gay, President of Applied Materials Solar division, if global installations of solar PV continue at the current pace, along with ongoing innovation in technology and manufacture techniques, solar energy will become a genuine alternative to fossil fuels.
  
"We’ve reached a critical inflection point in the cost of solar energy. At the end of 2010, 36 gigawatts of solar PV had been installed worldwide, with 18 GW installed last year alone, thus doubling the total amount of solar capacity installed in the history of the technology. This tremendous growth, coupled with new technologies, has made solar power more affordable than ever before."