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Solar PV costs 'declining worldwide'

3rd Dec 2012

The price of solar power systems is coming down - and that's not just in Australia, it's across the board.

Or so says Michael Barker, analyst at Solarbuzz, who highlighted a number of trends that are emerging in the global solar sector.

"The one trend that is common to all countries regardless of location is consistently declining installed system costs," he said.

Although, that's not to say there aren't regional differences when it comes to the average cost of a system.

For example, Michael noted that Japan is the most expensive place in the world to invest in solar technology.

And this is because Japanese citizens prefer to buy local - purchasing solar panels that have been manufactured specifically in the country, despite the higher cost.

Following closely behind is the US, but for a different reason. While the price of solar modules is not particularly high there, extra regulatory cost burdens exist.

So where's the cheapest place to get a solar power system? According to Michael, it's China - beating off competition from India at the lower end of the scale.

Closer to home, Andrew Blakers of the Australian National University's Centre for Sustainable Energy said that cost reductions in solar PV are changing the entire energy landscape in Australia.

He remarked: "Changes to distribution infrastructure, tariff structures and the business models of utilities will all be required."

His comments came after Australia surprised many industry experts by installing the most solar panel systems (in terms of capacity) in the world during 2011.

One trend Barker was also quick to point out was the potential for economies of scale with commercial solar operations.

"It is widely known that PV installations benefit from economies of scale, with large systems typically achieving bulk discounts ranging from ten to 40 per cent," the analyst claimed.

Posted by Mike Peacock

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