Department of Energy stated that it is going to invest 27 million U.S. dollars in hopes of reducing the costs of solar energy by 75%, a level close to fossil fuel. Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu calls this project “Sun Shot”, as an imitation for “Moon Shot” by John F. Kennedy in the 60s.
Steven Chu pointed out that if the decrease in solar price reached 75%, the price of solar energy would be equivalent to $1/watt, about $0.06/KWH. It is possible for solar to become the true alternative energy, economically speaking.
According to GlobePV.com, the cost of PV installation is well above $0.22/KWH, through federal and state governments’ subsidies, most mega installation projects went down to $0.15.
Many American manufacturers think that Chinese counterparties receive enormous financial support from their government and have posted great threat to American market. Suntech Power, for instance, has entered into American and European markets and indicated recently that the sales of module totaled 250 MW, accounting for 25% of the domestic market share. Among all American manufacturers, First Solar incurs the lowest manufacturing costs.
As the number of solar manufacturers increased, the price of modules which account for half of that of a system, dropped dramatically in the past 4 years.
The total PV installation in America is estimated at 1000 MW in 2010, doubled from 2009. However, solar generated electricity is still less than 1% of national consumption. Coal power accounts for the majority, about 50%, while both nuclear and natural gas account for 20% and other energy sources such as hydraulic and wind power take up the rest.