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Rooftop Solar Revolution May Now Be “Unstoppable”, Report Finds

Rooftop solar panels

A new report by European energy analysts at Macquarie Group has concluded that the costs of rooftop solar panel systems have fallen so consistently that the continued drop in prices may now be “unstoppable.”

The study also pointed out that many fossil fuel generators in Germany are at risk of going out of business due to financial issues, and even if steep cuts were made to renewable subsidies, it wouldn’t make a difference.

“Traditional wisdom suggests that steep subsidy cuts can bring the solar build-out under control again,” the Macquarie analysts noted. “We disagree, though, as the ever-increasing prices for domestic and commercial customers as well as rapid solar cost declines have brought on the advent of grid parity for German roofs. Thus, solar installations could continue at a torrid pace.”

Macquarie also mentions key milestones for solar, particularly on May 25, 2012 when it contributed over 20 gigawatts of capacity into Germany’s grid for the first time, followed by September 14, when wind and solar combined and produced more than 31.5 gigawatts. These have made up nearly a third of Germany’s electricity demands, which goes to show that wind and solar are not as far as we think from meeting and exceeding large demands.

Solar has long been known as a renewable source that is expensive and unlikely to provide a decent return on investment, but the declines and comparisons outlined by the Macquarie Group show that this won’t be a long-standing situation. This is great news for the future of the planet and growing clean energy investments.

Image CC licensed by Andreas Demmelbauer

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  • Anonymous

    Anything that replaces the traditional sources in a meaningful way will also tend to bring down the price of the traditional source as demand drops. We may well be in for the long sought after energy revolution and the whole world will change as a result. Abundant inexpensive power is key to economic development.

  • http://www.the9billion.com/ John Johnston

    Possibly, although carbon prices/taxes in an increasing number of countries may prevent the price of traditional sources (coal) from dropping. They should actually go up, driving further innovation and capacity to renewables.