A Price Drop for Solar Panels

Posted on May 13, 2008 

A Price Drop for Solar Panels

The silicon shortage that has kept solar electricity expensive is ending.

Solar electricity is about to get much cheaper, industry analysts predict, because a shortage of the silicon used in solar panels is almost over. That could lead to a sharp drop in prices over the next couple of years, making solar electricity comparable to power from the grid.

High demand generated by government subsidies worldwide and a shortage of processed silicon have kept prices for solar-generated power much higher than average electricity prices over the past few years. Solar power is more than three times the cost of electricity from conventional sources, according to figures from the industry tracking firm Solarbuzz and the United States’ Energy Information Administration. Solar power cost about $4 a watt in the early 2000s, but silicon shortages, which began in 2005, have pushed up prices to more than $4.80

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