China’s solar power has reached price parity with coal

Enlarge / All that’s missing are some batteries.Jia Yu / Getty Images

The incredible plunge in the price of photovoltaic systems has made solar power an affordable option for much of the world. And, as long as solar is providing a small fraction of the power on a given grid, there’s little holding back the addition of new photovoltaic facilities. But as the fraction of solar power grows, managing the fact that it only generates electricity intermittently becomes a significant grid-management challenge.

At that point, factors other than price become significant in determining how much solar energy makes sense. And

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