Two recent articles shed further light on the advantages of setting up or beginning to plan to set up your own system for generating solar power.

From LaserSolarWorld comes the news of two grad students in England heralding the impending affordability of solar panels. Sooner, rather than later, these two claim solar power will actually be less expensive than conventional power by the year 2014.

“Both researchers believe that it is time for consumers to think seriously about installing solar panels. Sean believes that the most common argument against using them is the initial capital outlay needed. “The average system today in 2008 costs approximately £3,000 including grants, with a payback time of just six years, and this period will reduce significantly over the coming decade,” he says. (As of July 2, 2008, £3,000 = $5977.50.)”

If you’re geeky and interested like me, follow the link to read the entire article:Photovoltaic cheaper than solar by 2014. There’s talk of amorphous silicon – less expensive, less toxic, and more efficient ways to build solar panel cells, and exactly how these two plan to make it happen.

In related news this article illustrates how a couple of U.S. ‘think green’ tanks believe the cost of solar will match that of fossil fuels by 2015. The study …

“… predicts that the cost of energy produced from solar photovoltaic cells will decline from today’s average of $6 per peak watt to an average of just $1.5 in 2025. This, together with the advantages of solar energy (zero carbon-based emissions, energy delivered at source, zero fuel costs), should make solar a “ubiquitous” energy source in the future …”

This June 2008 study was compiled by compiled by clean-tech research and publishing firm Clean Edge and green-economy non-profit Co-op America and can be read in its entirety here.

I find it very encouraging that timelines on this matter are beginning to converge and further, that regular people are beginning to understand the urgency and need to pay close attention to this kind of science. The sooner people tune in and realize our comfy way of life is partly to blame for the current woes of the world, the sooner we can all join together and make a positive difference.