Generating electricity from photovoltaics is perhaps the most expensive conversion technology. However, the attractiveness of this technology very much depends on the location (and thus the local solar irradiation) as well as the prevailing rates for electricity at the location in question. Incidentally, current demand for photovoltaics comes from not-so-sunny countries like Germany where government have introduced generous subsidy schemes.
With falling costs for solar, which places will become attractive for photovoltaics without subsidies? Despite being the Top PV country, it won’t be Germany: Freiburg, one of its sunniest cities only receives 1,100kWh per square meters per year. In comparison, Siciliy enjoys 47% more sunshine while electricity prices are also higher. Also very appealing could be the Atacama Desert in Chile with 60% more irradiation than in Sicily. On the other hand, despite sufficient irradiation, we won’t be seeing photovoltaics in South Africa any time soon, because electricity prices in that country are very low.
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