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Sonar panel prices 'falling fast'

The price of solar panels is dropping so quickly that in two years time they will cost half of what they were in 2009, says a recent research report.

Conducted by Ernst & Young, a report has claimed that the one-off cost of installing solar photovoltaic (PV) panels currently stands at $1.50 (92p) per unit of generating capacity, compared to more than $2 in 2009.

The report has predicted that prices will continue to decline so that by 2013, it will fall to around $1 per unit.

Government subsidies provided through feed-in tariffs make solar PV a viable option economically for UK homeowners, businesses and investors. But a recent change to the scheme has seen the Government support for large solar systems dramatically reduced.

The report was commissioned in response to this move by the Solar Trade Association (STA) from Ernst & Young’s energy and environmental infrastructure advisory unit.

It found that within the next 10 years, falling costs of PV panels and increasing prices of fossil fuel could result in large-scale solar installations becoming cost-effective even without government support - a time scale that is quicker than expected.

The report has also suggested that solar electricity could play “an important role” in meeting the UK’s renewable energy targets.