Wu Dacheng, the Vice Chairman and Secretary General of the China Photovoltaic Society, has predicted that, in China, the price of electricity generated by solar PV will reach parity with commercial and industrial supply from coal-fired power plants in 2014.
Chinese households pay less for their electricity than commercial users. Wu Dacheng believes that the price of electricity from solar PV will achieve parity with household prices from coal in 2018 and it they will be lower than the wholesale price of electricity from coal-fired plants by 2021.
In Australia, Professor Martin Green, the Executive Research Director of the Photovoltaic Centre of Excellence at the University of New South Wales, says that the cost of electricity from solar PV is likely to fall below the wholesale cost of electricity from coal before the end of the decade. He points out that electricity from solar PV is already down to just over $1/watt and will likely halve again to 50c/watt by 2020, while the cost of fossil fuels continues to rise.
Dr David Mills, the founder of solar thermal technology firm Ausra, .has pointed out that much of the current, and planned, spending on on the electricity grid is based on the assumption that it will continue to be built around large central fossil-fuel power plants but, with the decreasing price of renewables, we should be planning for the possibilty of a much more decentralised grid.