New technology could reduce the cost of making solar panels to 52 cents per watt
The report, from researchers at MIT led by Tonio Buonassisi, a professor of mechanical engineering and manufacturing, identifies early-stage technologies that, if employed together, could reduce the cost of making solar panels to 52 cents per watt. Currently, the cost is over a dollar per watt. At 52 cents per watt, assuming similar cost reductions for installation and equipment such as inverters, solar power would cost six cents per kilowatt-hour in sunny areas of the U.S.—less than the average cost of electricity in the U.S. today. Solar power in sunny areas now costs roughly 15 cents per kilowatt-hour, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, although the cost can be sharply higher in small installations or in cloudy areas where solar installations generate less electricity.
Source: Kevin Bullis, "Making Solar Power Competitive with Coal: A study identifies early-stage technologies that could be combined to cut the cost of solar panels in half," Technology Review, Feb. 22, 2012. http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/39771/?p1=A6 [verified 4/25/14]