The price of solar energy remains high compared to fossil fuel energy. This is no mystery. Solar still has a long way to go before it becomes a truly competitive alternative to traditional fossil fuel-based electrical energy feedstock. With that said, the price of solar power has plummeted dramatically in a relatively short period of time. A lot of this is due to mass manufacturing in China.
While it seemed that solar is still declining in price, its price is not dropping as fast as many alternative energy advocates would like it to. Maybe this is due to a stabilization of market forces in China, as well as manufacturing consolidation. Regardless, the pace is rather measured.
With that said, it appears that more and more Chinese consumers are worried about the air quality in China, thanks to the popularity of an anti-pollution documentary called “Under the Dome”. This movie has been seen online 200 million times and it has seized the Chinese imagination. Expect a government response to this recently awakened Chinese concern for environmental health. The Chinese government has already been pouring money into its local solar industry. If it is paying attention to popular sentiment, expect it to step up its investment levels. This can all translate into even lower prices for solar energy in the midterm to long-term future.
Any decline in solar prices is definitely a welcome development. This is going to go a long way in making solar energy more economically feasible. If given a choice, most consumers would rather use solar energy. However, the main sticking point is of course the price tag. If the price of solar power drops dramatically enough, even if there is still quite a bit of premium to be paid by consumers, many would not hesitate to pay that small premium in exchange for environmental benefits and better air quality.