Another reason to move to Italy: Solar power is expected to be cost-competitive there by next year, according to a report from the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) and A.T. Kearney. The European solar industry does hope that the cost of solar power will fall to under 15 euro cents per kilowatt hour for residential systems from its current high of 40 euro cents per kilowatt hour, but solar’s cost-competitiveness also has a lot to do with the rising cost of fossil fuels.
Italy isn’t the only European country with solar potential. The EPIA’s report claims that the European Union could get 12% of its electricity from solar sources by 2010. It’s a big leap–the E.U. currently derives less than 1% of its power from solar–and one that will require significant policy changes (read: government subsidies). If the E.U. wants to dramatically up its solar power use, it will have to support more feed-in tariffs and finance research and development. And if the E.U. follows the EPIA’s recommendations, solar could be cost-competitive in 75% of the European electricity market by 2020. At that point, solar could compete with fossil fuels without help from subsidies.
One project that could increase solar’s prospects in the E.U.: Desertec. The world’s largest solar pipeline, spanning from North Africa to Europe, could cover 15% of Europe’s total electricity needs if built.
[Via Green Inc.]