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September 01, 2011

Solyndra bankruptcy and solar power costs

A 2010 article looked Solyndras costs for solar panels against average solar panel costs. (ASP Average Sale price for the panels)

Costs for solar panels fell 42% from that time. Solar panel costs are down about 20% in 2011.

A key differentiating factor that Solyndra claimed was its lower BOS (Balance of System) costs given the lack of rooftop penetration and shorter installation times, which it claims can result in an installation cost of only 50 cents per watt. However, it is not clear how much difference this would make in the grand scheme of things: installation (as opposed to BOS component) costs for its main competitors, crystalline silicon PV and First Solar, are likely in the range of 75 cents to a dollar a watt, given their higher efficiencies (despite the company's claims of 11 to 14 percent module efficiencies, module datasheets reveal an efficiency of only 9.7 percent at present).

First Solar has continued to improve module efficiency and costs

ASP is average sale price for 2009. Average sale price is now 40-50% lower in August 2011


There are many projections that solar power will get to grid parity (same as the cost of energy for other kinds of energy) by 2016.

First Solar reached grid parity in the Nevada desert back in 2008

Photon consulting has a lot of solar industry cost analysis. They project leading solar companies getting to $1/watt in 2012.




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