First Solar Foresees Installed Cost of $1 Per Watt by 2017
First Solar is poised to deliver solar electricity at an installed cost of $1 per watt by 2017 and peak electricity at 3¢ per kilowatt-hour within a decade, CEO Jim Hughes told the Edison Electric Institute annual meeting earlier this month.
Installed costs per watt ranged from just under $5 to about $7 as recently as 2010.
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Hughes called the gradual expiry of the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) in the United States “irrelevant,” asserting that First Solar will only need 18 months to overcome the price difference resulting from a reduction in the credit from 30% to 10%. ” It actually opens up new markets,” he said, “because you’ll see an increased interest in utility generation once the distortion of the ITC is behind us.”
Hughes added that concern for price stability, not climate change, is driving major corporations to favour solar electricity. “When you look at data centres, when you look at electricity-intensive industries, they are all interested in locking in a significant cost as a fixed cost rather than a commodity-priced variable cost,” he said. “That’s driving a whole lot of procurement on a global basis.”