Who told you that the world’s power scenario is increasingly getting dark? Might be that they are still in the dark about the incalculable and perennial possibilities of solar energy. It is now predicted that in seven or eight years solar power will be cheaper than coal, gas, and nuclear power.
‘Grid parity’ is a term often used in articles about solar and wind power. This term describes what clean energy advocates consider as something unachievable – the point where a particular form of renewable energy becomes as cheap to generate as the market standard in a given region. It’s when solar panels produce electricity as cheaply as a coal-fired power plant, for instance. And, in a handful of places around the world (Italy and Germany among them), it’s already happening.
But some say that ‘grid parity’ is child’s play – one physicist even argues that solar power will be flat-out cheaper than any other energy source by 2018.
If his calculations are even anywhere close to accurate, the long-awaited clean energy revolution will be well under way in less than a decade. So, despite red herrings like the Solyndra debacle, the solar power industry is on track to become the most lucrative energy sector in the world.
Dave Roberts argues that this means that policymakers should start gearing up for the incipient seismic shift. They won’t, of course. At least not in the United States, where the fossil fuel industry has a stranglehold on energy production which they won’t loosen until market signals are as obvious as a slap in the face.
But be assured: Solar power will be cheaper than coal, and sooner than you think.