Energy analysts at global investment bank Citigroup suggest that the cost of solar PV modules could fall beyond most expectations in coming years – and reach a cost of just 25c a watt by 2020. The US Department of Energy, for instance, says its Solar Sunshot program aims to get the cost of solar PV down to $1/watt by 2020 (50c/W for the modules, the rest in balance of systems costs) – a situation that would deliver energy at a levelised cost of around $60/MWh, making it cheaper than new coal and gas-fired generation.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance makes a similar forecast. Greentech Media recently lowered its forecast for solar modules to 42c/W by 2015. On the other hand, Australia’s official government forecaster, The Bureau of Resource and Energy Economics, suggests that the starting point is higher than most current estimates, and predicts solar PV will not fall much below $140/MWh by 2020, and then make little progress over the following decade.
Citigroup’s report paints a very different picture in the two scenarios painted by the Citi team led by Jason Channell.