Not yet. European makers of solar panels have been largely wiped out by a combination of the financial crisis and competition from cheaper Chinese rivals. Q-Cells of Germany, once the world’s largest solar manufacturer, went bust in 2012. SolarWorld, Germany’s largest remaining maker, begged successfully for investors’ patience to avoid bankruptcy late last year. The EU, like America, is bringing anti-dumping complaints against Chinese firms, but even if these were to succeed it is clear that the future of solar-panel manufacturing lies beyond Europe.
Last month, alternative energy analyst Gordon Johnson at Axiom Capital crunched the latest numbers out of the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and published a report on his findings.
The upshot: When it comes to "alternative" ways to generate electricity, solar energy is just about the most expensive form of energy you can get.
Calculating the cost of generating a kilowatt hour of electricity by tallying the cost of building a facility, operating it, and paying for the fuel it consumes -- then amortizing all this...