The power sources square up, scenically

We’ve had dreamy musing on the subject of solar panels soaking up the Med’s ideal climate in these parts before, thanks to our travelling energy correspondent Rob.

But now solar dreams are looking to be very close to being hard economic reality in those parts.

Figures from the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) suggest that larger solar PV installations such as those on businesses will reach grid parity in terms of cost effectiveness as soon as 2013 in Italy and Spain – with the UK following suit in 2017 rest of Europe catching up by 2020.

This is good news – and it’s not pie-in-sky thinking either. The figures factor in gradual reduction in government incentives like Feed-in Tariffs while taking account of projected rises in electricity cost and falling cost of solar equipment.

And as for home-sized solar arrays, the picture is also a sunny one, despite the fact they do trail behind the larger installations due to homes using less of the volts they generate – people can’t be hanging around at home all the time, of course.

Homes with a typical 3-KW installation will reach dynamic grid parity, or DPG, by 2015 in Italy, 2016 in France in 2016, 2017 in Spain and Germany, and 2019 in the UK.

Payback is key whether you’re trying to get householders to take up technology offers at home or if you’re looking very much at the macro level – as part of the greater economic machine. There comes a time where every new entrant to the market has to be able to hold its own.

Very few technologies arrive and immediately are cost-competitive with similar offerings out there – but solar appears to be fighting the good fight not only in cleaning up our energy sources, but also speedily arriving at a point where arguing against its viability now and in the future is becoming very difficult indeed.