The last decade, solar power has slowly become more competitive, thanks to steady reductions in the price of PV-panels. Suddenly, the prices have started to drop at an astounding rate. Chinese producers are flooding the market. In an interesting article in The Guardian Western competitors complain they are driven out of business through a concerted effort of Chinese industry and government.
One positive effect of the price cuts is that solar power becomes a much more profitable investment. Even in the North Sea Region, the pay back time for a household PV-installation (average investment now around € 5.000) is dropping to 8-10 years, nearing the magical threshold of 5 years. Since a PV- system has a lifespan of more than 20 years, more and more businesses see an investment opportunity. In the Netherlands, several start up companies now ‘lease’ solar systems to consumers. They follow the example of American companies like Sun Run and Solar City.
In warmer regions, the profile of electricity production by solar panels fits nicely in the consumption pattern (when the sun shines, the air conditioners start to work), as this interesting blogger shows. His conclusion: Solar is ready now!