Bloomberg News

Solar Cheap as Grid Power in Half of World by 2015, Suntech Says

January 26, 2012

Jan. 25 (Bloomberg) -- The cost of generating electricity from the sun will compete with conventional power delivered on a grid in half the world by 2015, according to Suntech Power Holdings Co., the world’s largest photovoltaic panel maker.

“Solar is getting so cheap,” Chief Executive Officer Zhengrong Shi told Bloomberg Television today in an interview in Davos. “We believe by 2015, there will be around 50 percent of countries that reach grid-parity.”

Prices of silicon-based panels fell 51 percent last year as the world’s top 10 producers, led by Suntech, doubled output capacity. That has allowed solar in some cases to compete without subsidies against fossil fuel-based power in India, Italy, Spain and Hawaii.

The solar development market is moving away from Europe, the world’s largest territory by installations, and is set to expand rapidly in China, the U.S., India, Japan and South Africa, he said. European governments are reducing clean-energy subsidies to control costs amid the debt crisis.

“Solar now is already cheaper than diesel generating electricity in India,” Shi said. “This is not only happening in India but in many countries around the world.”

Installations in China may reach 4,000 megawatts this year, he said.

--With assistance from Natalie Obiko Pearson in Mumbai. Editors: Todd White, Baldave Singh

To contact the reporters on this story: Maryam Nemazee in London at mnemazee@bloomberg.net; Matthew Miller in New York at mtmiller@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net


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