According to a report released today from the independent consulting firm Ernst & Young, the price of solar energy per watt is expected to fall to $1 by 2013, down from $2 in 2009. The association says in a recent report that the price per watt of solar energy is already down to $1.50 in 2011 and should continue to fall in the near future reflecting reductions in the cost of materials and advancements in efficiency. The report notes that though the price of solar power may be high right now, if governments around the world invest in the infrastructure to support solar power they will be ready to take full advantage of the sun’s energy by the time it becomes more affordable.

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Though the report was compiled specifically by Ernst & Young for the Solar Trade Association (STA) and mostly reflects trends for solar energy in the UK, it holds promise for other solar-focused countries as well. The report notes that solar energy should attain grid parity — meaning it will align in cost with other traditional forms of energy — by 2020 in the UK and that is all without taking into account any future subsidies the government might set in place.

It seems that STA asked Ernst & Young to compile the report in response to a decision from the Committee on Climate Change which said that government investment in solar energy did not make sense because of the current high price of solar. Today’s report from Ernst & Young all but negates their statement by saying that though it may be expensive now, the cost will come down and any government that doesn’t assist in its installation will fall behind. “Being a laggard has never been very successful in terms of capturing the greater share of the value added for the economy,” Ben Warren, the lead author of the Ernst & Young report, told Guardian UK, “if you create a sustainable market, you will achieve cost savings and drive economic benefits in terms of tax income and job creation.”

+ Solar Trade Association (STA)

Via Guardian UK