Sunday, August 21, 2011

Solar will force coal and nuclear out of the energy business

The Conversation has a post on the economics of solar power vs that of traditional energy sources from Andrew Blakers, the Director of the Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems (CSES) at Australian National University - Solar will force coal and nuclear out of the energy business.
A solar energy revolution is brewing that will put the coal and nuclear industries out of business. Solar is already reaching price parity with coal in many parts of Australia. In contrast to coal and nuclear, solar is fully sustainable and safe. Solar is now an established industry that is growing very rapidly.

The CO₂ emissions from a modest four-star house with modern efficient appliances are about 6 tonnes per year. Emissions from a typical car driving 10,000 km per year are 1.5 tonnes per year. Installing a 5 kilowatt photovoltaic panel will fully offset these amounts of CO₂ by reducing the need to operate a coal fired power station. We’re well on the way to grid parity

Photovoltaic power has reached retail grid parity for three out of four Australians – everywhere except Victoria, Tasmania and Canberra. Retail grid parity means that it’s cheaper to get electricity from photovoltaic panels on your house roof than to buy it from the grid.

In Adelaide, photovoltaic power is only two-thirds the price of retail grid electricity. By 2015, grid parity will be achieved in all of Australia, as well as in nearly every temperate country in the world – about 6 billion people.

Eliminating CO2 emissions from electricity production will be easier, cheaper and faster than most pundits predict. The faster that the solar energy industry develops, the less damage from greenhouse gas warming will occur.

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