No. of Recommendations: 1
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates an average cost of $156.90 per megawatt-hour for solar

Because solar energy is free, the average cost of solar power is zero.

To arrive at a $/mw-hr figure you must assume a service life for the equipment and presumably an estimate for sunlight per day.

You wonder if any of these estimates are realistic. Do we have sufficient data? Is efficiency improving as the technology improves?

We continue to read that the photovoltaic industry is in chaos just now because the Chinese are producing ultra low cost panels that are giving Western players a run for their money. The two big ones in the US, Hemlock sub sid of Dow-Corning jv of Dow Chemical and Corning Glass Works and MEMC, spin off decades ago of Monsanto. Both are busy restructuring trying to refocus on solar and figure out how to compete.

Installation costs are still way too high. So subsides are still needed to be practical.
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