Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Bernstein Sheds Some Light on Solar

In our 2011 post, "Sunset for U.S. Solar Industry?" , we wrote about the fact that there was no conceivable way a solar investment could show a reasonable payback, citing a local example in my city, which couldn't work even with generous subsidies. 

Catherine Wood, Chief Investment Officer of AllianceBernstein, has a fascinating post that updates solar's lack of competitiveness with natural gas fired plants, even with the gas plant being burdened with a carbon tax!  Here is the answer to the big question,
"So when is solar going to become cost competitive without subsidies? In three to five years? Try never. But if it did, society would have to pay out trillions of dollars to get there."
Wood also cites Germany's much publicized, heavily subsidized and failed experiment with solar. 

If we were serious about continuing to meaningfully reduce carbon emissions and building a better power grid to support our data-centric economy and a manufacturing renaissance, then we would be subsidizing investment in the grid and a faster conversion to natural gas.   

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