This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

Solar Parity Arrives Early

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- When asked when the cost of solar power might equal that of other grid power, I used to say it would happen in 2015 or 2016.

Turns out I'm wrong. The correct answer is now.

The continuing shakeout among Chinese solar panel makers will drop the price of panel power to 48 cents/watt this year, according to GTM Research. It's assumed that grid parity is found at 50 cents/watt.

As I have said many times, you ain't seen nothing yet. The GTM report estimates costs will drop to 42 cents/watt in two years. That's not counting the many breakthroughs being found in other materials, some of which could reach the market by that time.

All this is enabling the production of solar "mega projects" like one SunPower (SPWR) is building for Berkshire-Hathaway's (BRK.A) MidAmerican Energy in Antelope Valley, Calif., which will be delivering 579 Mwatts to the grid.


The Reiner Lemoine Institute in Germany, which has backed a number of solar projects in the past, adds that when wind and solar projects share space, barely 2% of the potential solar power is lost, twice the amount of total electricity is generated, and that this power is complementary -- wind power is primary on winter nights, solar on summer days, as CleanTechnica reports.

This architecture limits the amount of storage required for around-the-clock power, the Institute says, meaning that reliable, low-cost and abundant power is here to stay. It's big news for General Electric (GE), which makes wind turbines. Solar and wind energy can live and work together.

If you want to know why shares in SunPower and First Solar (FSLR) are rising, this is it. When renewable energy can compete on price with other forms of grid energy, it puts a thumb on the scale of energy costs. That thumb grows larger, and more powerful, over time as the amount of cheap renewable energy increases and costs continue to fall.

1 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,172.68 -107.06 -0.62%
S&P 500 1,994.29 -16.11 -0.80%
NASDAQ 4,527.6890 -52.10 -1.14%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs