Making predictions for the future is tricky, but industry experts believe that, when it comes to solar power, they can clearly see the continuing trend of price reductions up to next few years.
The cost of solar power today varies from one region to another. This is because, while the cost of solar panels are about the same worldwide, interest costs on loans and installation costs vary from one region to another.
As of mid-2015, the cost of an installed rooftop solar power plant (without batteries) in $/W is in the range $1.2/W in India to $3/W in many parts of Europe and US. This cost / W could be 10-20% lower for large, utility-scale solar power plants ($1.25-2.6/W range). Note that this is the total system cost, including all the components and cost of installation.Per kWh, the cost of unsubsidised solar power is in the range 10-15 US cents/kWh in many regions worldwide.
What could the cost of solar power by 2017?
Based on a review of predictions by leading companies, Solar Mango estimates that the cost /W would have come down to $0.75-$1.5/W for rooftop solar power plants, and $0.65-$1.3/W for utility scale solar power plants. That is, we are predicting a 50% decrease of solar power plant costs between 2015 and 2017.
The major investment bank, the Deutsche Bank predicts a slightly more conservative decrease. Their research team have predicted a 40% reduction in solar costs between 2015 and 2017.
Module costs of leading Chinese Manufacturers dipped from $1.31 per watt in 2011 to around $0.5 per watt in 2014.This radical drift in prices within three years could be attributed to the decrease in polysilicon costs and due to improved and efficient technologies. Future cost reductions are expected to come from the reduction in balance of system costs and not from polysilicon costs. Inverter costs, installation costs, cost of mounting structures are all key contributors to solar cost and these are expected to lower overall solar costs by 2017.
Solar energy is one of the cleanest and environment friendly forms of energy we have today. However, cost has been a major deterrent for people to venture into solar power in the past. Solar energy has gotten cheaper over time; this was mainly due to the advancements in PV technology and due to the reduction in installation costs of solar. And it looks like by 2017, the prices would plummet even lower than it is now.