Solar power could be the world's number one electricity source by the end of the century . . . production of solar panels will double both next year and in 2009, according to U.S. investment bank Jefferies Group Inc, driven by government support especially in Germany and Japan. . . . costs are dropping by around 5 percent a year and "grid parity", without subsidies, is already a reality in parts of California. Very sunny countries could reach that breakeven in five years or so, and even cloudy Britain by 2020. . . . General Electric Co's Chief Engineer Jim Lyons told the Jefferies conference in London; "The solar industry will eventually be bigger than wind." . . . But all the growth is from a tiny base. The sun supplies just 0.3 percent of electricity even in market leader Germany, says Jefferies. "It doesn't even register statistically outside Germany," said Jefferies analyst Michael McNamara.
This article totally agrees with the consensus of what I have been reading over the past year, actually a little more pessimistic than the claims of some companies. The technology is so close to being there now, the only thing holding it back is the scaling up of production facilities of the right technology to the gigawatt scale - in a single location. Some form of thin-film PV solar will be the dominant technology, if not more than one. Even though a lot of the technology is being developed by U.S. and German companies, don't be suprised if a Japanese company with manufacturing in China is the first one to take the big leap.
See complete Reuters article here.