Solar panels will be cost competitive with energy from Europe’s power grid for half that region’s homes by 2020, according to new report from the EU Energy Institute.
That’s due not only to the greater-than-expected robustness of the panels, but simple market realities – greater sales volume means lower production prices.
Recent testing has shown 90 percent of existing solar panels will last 30 years, rather than the estimated 20 years and incentive programmes have increased demand to the point where up-front costs have fallen by up to 30 percent. That means countries like Italy, which has both sunny weather and relatively high electricity prices, should reach grid parity as early as next year.

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