By Max Clarke
The generation game has changed so much over the last decade that electricity generated from solar energy will be cheaper than electricity generated from the proposed new nuclear plants according to UK Market leaders — mO3 Power.
“The cost of generating power from solar photovoltaic (PV) systems has steadily fallen over the last ten years while the projected costs of constructing the new nuclear plants have ballooned,” said Ken Moss, CEO of mO3.
“The cost of producing and installing PV cells has been steadily dropping for some years,” he said. “A PV system now costs about half of what it did in 1998.”
Developments in solar technology and manufacturing processes combined with a steady increase in demand are causing the reduction in costs and mO3 expect that decline to continue. The average price of a PV module in 2010 was $1.50/kW and by mid- year that figure is expected to drop to a maximum of $1.10kW.
Research from Duke University in America concluded that the costs of solar power had reached the point of ‘Historic Crossover’ with the nuclear industry in North Carolina. The price of nuclear is expected to be 16-18c/kW as compared to solar PV at 14c in 2011.
“It can be predicted with some confidence that the same will be true in the UK by the time that the new nuclear reactors have been built,” said Mr Moss.
“Nuclear electricity’s strength is being able to provide CO2 free base load electricity to the grid, as nuclear is not flexible and can only operate 24/7.
Therefore the future requires a mix of technologies with renewable and nuclear being able to provide a sustainable solution.”
“Solar PV’s time is now coming of age with predictions of 30% of the World’s energy coming from PV by 2050. By which time economic storage of electricity will be possible and we will no longer need base load power stations or possibly even a grid!” he said.
“With its fuel for free, the Sun, Solar electricity will be the mainstream clean energy for our, and our children’s, future!” said Ray Noble, Director at mO3.
It is inevitable that future power bills in the UK will rise as new technologies conform to Britain’s carbon reduction commitment.
“The safety of our power production is a huge issue,” said Mr Moss. “An accident at a solar park would be a small local affair but an accident at a nuclear plant is a global affair. We have to ask ourselves if we want to be subsidising the building of so many new nuclear plants.”
mO3 Power plans to generate a Gigawatt from renewable power from solar parks in the UK and is prepared to invest £2.3 billion. It proposes to site its parks on industrial land, brown field sites and grade 3 & 4 farm land all discreetly hidden from public view by screening or natural hedgerows but providing clean sustainable electricity with zero emissions.
“Solar power companies like mO3 could dramatically help the government with the massive ‘catch-up’ from renewables that they shall have to embark on,” said Mr Moss.