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Grid-Parity Thin-Film Prices

Swiss-based Oerlikon announced at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi this week that the company will soon offer advanced fab design for $0.70/watt. In other words, Oerlikon will offer thin-film PV at grid-parity levels. Part of reaching the grid parity benchmark by the end of 2010 revolves around Oerlikon’s goal to reduce overall cost of the modules by 30 percent by the end of 2010. This past year, without creating new manufacturing capability, the company upped their generating capacity of PV panels from 40 MW to 100 MW.

The primary focus for Oerlikon is the United Arab Emirates, specifically Abu Dhabi, which passed a plan in 2006 to derive 7 percent of the region’s electricity via solar by 2020. Over the past year, the region has increased the incentives to go solar, which bodes well for Oerlikon and its strategy of capitalizing on these emerging markets. “Oerlikon Solar’s goal is to make solar power economically viable around the world,” said company CEO Jürg Henz. “We see Abu Dhabi as a key market in helping us reach that goal and commend the United Arab Emirates for their commitment in helping bring thin-film PV manufacturing to the forefront.”

Given that arid regions are key to the development of worldwide PV capacity, Oerlikon’s strategy of making the most of the UAE’s burgeoning interest is bound to be a good move. Beyond that, the fact that oil-rich regions are beginning to embrace the potential of solar harvesting shows a swing in the right direction. While Abu Dhabi’s goal of 7 percent by 2020 is well below that of other nations, it is far from just a drop in the bucket. Most excitingly, Oerlikon’s goals for grid parity are much sooner than industry forecasts predicted.

If Oerlikon achieves its goal, the stage will be set for the PV future many have been hoping for. Perhaps, assuming grid-parity is achieved, even large utilities will be more willing to enter into the world of PV production at unprecedented levels. I, for one, would love to buy power from a solar farm, and am cheering Oerlikon (and the PV industry in general) on in their goal to reach grid-parity.

Via RenewableEnergyWorld.com

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