Solar electricity schemes could be economically viable without government subsidies within the next decade, a report has said.
The cost of solar panels is falling so quickly that by 2013 they will stand at half the price seen in 2009, according to Ernst & Young.
Industry analysis shows that the average one-off installation cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels has decreased from more than $2 (£1.23) per unit of generating capacity in 2009 to £0.92 this year. That figure is expected to continue falling, with prices approaching the £0.62 mark by 2013.
Ernst & Young, who compiled the report on behalf of the Solar Trade Association, said that the price falls could lead to solar electricity playing a key role in meeting UK renewable energy targets.
The study concluded that a combination of falling PV panel prices and increasing fuel costs could soon make large-scale solar installations cost-competitive without Government support.