Southern Italy, with it abundant sunshine and high electricity tariffs from coal-generated power plants, could by 2010 produce solar power that is economically competitive with conventional power. That’s the assessment of Winfried Hoffmann, president of the European Photovoltaic Industry Association, who also predicted that solar power could meet 12 percent of Europe’s electricity demand by 2020.
Hoffman said that the cost of producing power from photovoltaic cells is steadily declining, so much so that by next year solar power in southern Italy could be produced as cheaply as the 25 euro cents ($.35) per kilowatt hour that residents there now pay for coal-generated electricity. Hoffmann asserted that 12 percent of the continent’s electricity could come from solar power by 2020 if the European Union enforces rules on renewable power quotas and continues state-subsidized programs that pay generators of renewable power a premium for channeling their electricity into centralized power grids.
This article originally appeared on Yale Environment 360 at http://e360.yale.edu
[photo credit: Paolo Tonon]