Grid parity reached in Spain23rd Oct 2012
Obtaining grid parity is one of the solar industry's often cited aims, and now it seems a restaurant proprietor in Spain has become the proud owner of such a system.
German solar company Conergy built the technology, which consists of an eight kilowatt (kW) project on the eatery's roof.
And while naysayers may criticise the smallish size of the system, Giles Parkinson of Reneweconomy.com.au said the development could be seen as a tipping point for the industry.
"It's an installation that highlights the fact that the game has now changed from an investment-driven market to a genuine energy market," he stated.
Luis Jimenez Gutierrez, the head of Conergy Spain, also defended the project, saying that it provides the perfect solution for the needs of an individual.
"The objective is no longer for the plant to be as large as possible, but for it to be matched precisely to the customer in order to optimise electricity generation and consumption behaviour," he explained.
For anyone not familiar with the term, grid parity means when alternative methods of generating electricity become as cheap or cheaper than getting energy directly from the grid.
In this case, the owner has gone from spending around 19 to 21.5 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), to approximately 12.7 cents.
Mr Parkinson claimed this has interesting repercussions for the Australian market, including the fact that solar PV can cost under 13 cents/kWh - around half the price it is currently.
Not only this, but grid parity can be achieved in countries where retail electricity prices are around 25 per cent cheaper than in Australia, he said.
The pace of solar power development worldwide is speeding up, the expert continued, with Saudi Arabia, Chile and China exhibiting a willingness to heavily invest in such technology.
It still remains to be seen how Australia's utilities companies will tackle solar power in terms of the threat it poses to electricity demand, he added.
Posted by Mike Peacock