Re-mapping Solar Grid Parity (with incentives)

Within a decade, 100 million Americans could get cheaper electricity from rooftop solar – without subsidies – than is provided by their utility.  This finding from our new report – Rooftop Revolution: Changing Everything with Cost-Effective Local Solar – inspired our popular animated map, showing when major metropolitan areas reached this crucial solar crossroads.

The only complaint was, “what about the 30% federal tax credit?”  We think the former argument – without subsidies – is stronger, but for those who really wanted to see the solar future based on the existing tax incentive (and assuming it is extended, as is, after 2016), this map’s for you:

The difference is an acceleration of the grid parity moment by two years for most cities, with 100 million Americans reaching this crossroads by 2019 instead of 2021.  Here comes the sun!

We used the following assumptions in the construction of this animated map:

  • The cost of solar in 2011 is $4.00 per Watt installed.
  • Grid electricity price is the average residential retail rate reported by PVWatts for the core city of the metropolitan area.
  • The cost of solar decreases by 7% per year.
  • The grid electricity price increases by 2% per year.
  • The federal 30% tax credit is used by solar projects and is extended through 2024.

Google Maps/Fusion Table mash-up developed by Eric James