Subsidized Solar Power Among Fastest Growing Energy Sources

NCPA Study Finds Solar Energy Must Be Competitive To Succeed


DALLAS - Globally, grid-connected solar power capacity increased faster than any other energy source from 2004-2009, according to a new study from National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA).  However, the study also notes that solar energy still relies heavily on government support.

“The production of electricity from renewable energy technologies is growing much faster than the electric power supply as a whole,” said author H. Sterling Burnett, an NCPA senior fellow.  “However, for solar energy to be truly successful it must be competitive with other sources for electric power without subsidies.”

The study examines if, when and where solar power will be a competitive electric power source.  And Burnett noted that solar power is still substantially more expensive than conventional power sources in most geographic areas, despite federal government subsidies.

“Most analysts agree that if solar energy is to become a significant power source, it must compete with other energy sources – in markets without subsidies to any form of energy, barriers to the entry of new producers of discriminatory price regulations,” said Burnett.  “When customers in a particular market can pay the same price for solar as other energy sources, then solar will have reached ‘grid parity,’ and will be truly competitive.”

The study concludes that, with major technological breakthroughs that significantly reduce the cost of solar power production and the imposition of new environmental mandates that raise the price of electricity generated by other sources, solar could reach grid parity in some areas of the United States by the end of the decade.

Full text of Solar Power Prospects: http://www.ncpa.org/pub/st334

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