2012 DEBATE
Beyond 2012 we will have a lot going for us.
Cheap solar power poised to undercut oil and gas by half

2007-02-18, The Telegraph (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2007/02/19/ccview19.xml

Within five years, solar power will be cheap enough to compete with
carbon-generated electricity. In a decade, the cost may have fallen so dramatically
that solar cells could undercut oil, gas, coal and nuclear power by up to half. Anil
Sethi, the chief executive of the Swiss start-up company Flisom, says he looks
forward to the day - not so far off - when entire cities in America and Europe
generate their heating, lighting and air-conditioning needs from solar films on
buildings with enough left over to feed a surplus back into the grid. The secret? A
piece of dark polymer foil, as thin a sheet of paper. It is so light it can be stuck to
the sides of buildings. It can be mass-produced in cheap rolls like packaging - in
any colour. The "tipping point" will arrive when the capital cost of solar power falls
below $1 (51p) per watt, roughly the cost of carbon power. The best options
today vary from $3 to $4 per watt - down from $100 in the late 1970s. Mr Sethi
believes his product will cut the cost to 80 cents per watt within five years, and 50
cents in a decade. "We don't need subsidies, we just need governments to get out
of the way and do no harm," he said. Solar use [has] increased dramatically in
Japan and above all Germany, where Berlin's green energy law passed in 2004
forces the grid to buy surplus electricity from households at a fat premium. The
tipping point in Germany and Japan came once households [understood] that they
could undercut their unloved utilities. Credit Lyonnais believes the rest of the world
will soon join the stampede. Needless to say, electricity utilities are watching the
solar revolution with horror.
ENERGY
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