Potential to make solar power as cheap as fossil fuel on a cost-per-watt basis within five years

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After years of over promising and under delivering, the solar industry is finally starting to show some interesting developments which have the potential to make solar power as cheap as fossil fuel on a cost-per-watt basis within five years.

Getting us to that state, called grid parity, would require solar companies to produce power for around $1 a watt. Is it possible anytime soon?

Many analysts think so and the target date being touted around is 2015. The reason for this fresh optimism is a mixture of technological development and simple economics.

Traditional conductive materials make up 40% to 50% of the cost of a finished module. Newer conductive materials (including, amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride and copper indium diselenide) only need to be about one micron thick, so material costs are significantly reduced.

But thin film solar cells are just the beginning. Here are a few more examples of the most cutting-edge and interesting advances in solar energy and the companies behind them.

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Source: BusinessWorld Online

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