Solar Power is One Step Closer to Grid Parity


We hear a lot about grid parity, don’t we? That’s the point at which the cost of energy generated by solar, wind, and other renewables is the same as that generated from conventional sources. The author of this article on Sharp Electronics new 43.5%-efficient solar cell writes: “Sharp shattered the efficiency record with its concentrator triple-junction compound solar cell, which uses a lens-based system to focus sunlight directly onto the cells in order to generate electricity.” Then he adds, “This latest breakthrough puts solar power one step closer to grid parity.”

I’m not complaining, btw. The mere fact that the term is rapidly becoming a part of the world’s everyday lexicon is proof that more people are tuning into this important discussion.

And let’s not ignore the elephant in the room: In energy, cost is a very big deal. 2GreenEnergy Associate Dr. Peter Lilienthal, whose software is used to integrate renewables onto grids in more than 80 countries, once told me, “If you don’t care how much you pay for it, I’ll find you all the clean energy you could use in a thousand lifetimes.” The guy has a way with words.

In any case, grid parity here we come.

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.


  1. So how do we assess “cost” to fossil fuels vs “solar” energy. If the scenario that Malcolm Light posits in a post that he wrote for the Arctic Methane Emergency Group at the Arctic-News.blogspot comes to pass (namely the near term extinction of mankind along with most of the other life on the planet)how much more expensive, then, are fossil fuels compared to clean solar energy. How much shall we say that we paid for a gallon of gasoline? or a KWH of electricity?

    Please, I’d like to know the answer…


  2. What solar continually neglets to add in the parity issue is that even when solar becomes cheaper than fossil there is STILL the substantial cost of installation, equipment, materials, etc that puts it over the top once again. Until the entire system cost is reduced, most folks will ignore it as an alternative.