Solar module sales price of $1 per Watt no longer theory

07 April 2009 by

"In 2010, our objective is to reach a selling price for solar modules of $1 per Watt,” says Lynn Sha, Vice President of Chinese manufacturer QS Solar. In other words, it will become possible in 2010 to produce solar energy cheaper than the cost of electricity from the grid (“grid parity”), and this is without subsidies.

This revolutionary price level could be sufficient to create sustainable growth in the solar energy market (PV) even without the availability of any government incentives. “The solar industry has always claimed that its goal was to attain this level of $1 per Watt. Reaching this benchmark will be the turning point from which markets will emerge and grow without any government aid. It is the start of the solar future,” says Edwin Koot, CEO of SolarPlaza, the global, independent solar energy platform.

Module prices are currently under pressure. Last year’s enormous growth of the solar industry and market by more than 100% was caused by a generous feed-in tariff in Spain. Many new companies started production of solar modules. This year, support in Spain has been decreased and capped. “This could not have come at a more dramatic moment. The simultaneous loss of Spain as a major market, the inevitable industry oversupply, and the financial crisis have pushed down module prices since Q3 last year,” says Koot. “Good for customers, challenging for the industry.”

QS Solar started production of its amorphous silicon thin-film modules last year. “We will bring down the sales price to our goal of $0.75/Wp through the continuous expansion of our production capacity and process optimization.” The company currently has 3 production lines with an installed capacity of 95 MegaWatts, and it plans to increase another 4 lines by 2009, which will lead to a total capacity of 235 MW by next year.

The $1 per Watt level is already sufficient to achieve grid parity in many markets. A lower level might not even be needed to serve an infinite global market potential for photovoltaic solar energy.
Lynn Sha and CEOs from the world's leading PV companies (such as Q-Cells, Suntech Power, Applied Materials, and Akeena Solar) will be discussing the above topics at "The Solar Future" conference organized by SolarPlaza on May 26th in Munich.

About SolarPlaza
SolarPlaza, based in Rotterdam, Netherlands, is the independent global platform for knowledge, trade and events for the photovoltaic solar energy (PV) industry.