Solar Panel Costs Set to Drop by 10% Per Year a New Study Says

Here’s some welcome news for supporters of solar power: Recent research from Oxford University revealed the costs of installing solar energy systems may drop dramatically in the future.

The study, which was published in the journal Research Policy, discovered that solar panels have continued to become cheaper by roughly 10 percent every year. In addition, the research team concluded that solar energy will provide 20 percent of the world’s power requirement by 2027.

In a statement, study co-author Doyne Farmer said the results of their study could play a significant role in putting people’s minds at ease when it comes to renewable energy use. “Sceptics have claimed that solar PV cannot be ramped up quickly enough to play a significant role in combatting global warming,” Farmer said.

The research was conducted by using a mathematical model that uses past data from more than 50 existing technologies. From the historical information, the model drew up a forecast of the costs that may be incurred in using the technologies. “We put ourselves in the past, pretended we didn’t know the future, and used a simple method to forecast the costs of the technologies,” Farmer expressed.

By using a solid and trustworthy model, the researchers believe that sound forecasts should be able to provide better foresight on things to come in the field of renewable energy. “In a context where limited resources for technology investment constrain policy makers to focus on a few technologies… the ability to have improved forecasts and know how accurate they are should prove particularly useful,” Farmer added.

This study received support from the U.S. Department of Solar Energy Technologies Office and the European Commission.

[Photo courtesy of FutUndBeidl on Flickr]