GE Sees Solar Power Becoming Cheaper Than Fossil In Five Years
GEs news came at a time when the nation is up in arms against power generating companies. The cheap solar cells open up the real possibility of a paradigm shift in power generation.
GE is based in Fairfield, Connecticut, where the retail rate per kilowatt-hour for electricity is 18.1 cents. In a recent announcement they revealed information on the thin-film solar panel that would boost the efficiency of converting sunlight to electricity to 12.8 percent. This could reduce the cost of solar power to 15 cents a kilowatt-hour or lower.
The cost of solar cells have dropped 21 percent only in this year, which have made the cost of solar power in California, Italy and Turkey, and other sunny places in the range of utility charges for conventional power.
This is the kind of news that warms my heart any day, any time. Having spent a lifetime in power generation and distribution, I learnt, however difficult power generation may be, distribution of electricity is even a larger problem. The perception of true magnitude of this problem is beyond people outside the industry. Therefore, the opportunity of distributed power production is God-send.
As a nation we are in a dilemma at this time about what to do with power generation. The hatred of fossil power generation is so deep now, that last Wednesday, in the severe inclement weather, a group of people scaled the Stack at Fisk power station in downtown Chicago. They ignored rain and cold to climb up the 400’ high stack to paint large words on it—kill coal.
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Despite President Obama’s initiative, our zest for nuclear power has considerably cooled after Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. And if people were aware that the spent fuel rods, which are used for nuclear fusion, are stored in the generating plant (because no other place would accept them), their fervour would be reduced further.