Chinese solar energy could reach grid parity by 2015

A Chinese newspaper, citing a government-linked think tank, reported this week that the price of solar powered electricity could drop below 0.80 yuan (76p)/kWh by 2015, which would put it on a par with conventional coal-fired power tariffs.

The price drop would be delivered as the worlds largest solar panel manufacturer ramps up installation across the country, said the Energy Research Institute, a body backed by Chinas influential National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

By the end of this year, China is expected to have more than doubled its solar capacity to around 2 GW, up from 900 MW at the end of 2010. The country will also have met 80 per cent of domestic demand for polysilicon in 2011, the think tank said.

Howard Johns, chairman of the UKs Solar Trade Association (STA), said the report showed solar power is not a technology anyone can afford to ignore and he urged the government to boost its backing for solar energy.