The U.S. government is investing our tax dollars to, it claims, foment a grid-parity level, free-market (no subsidies) Solar PV market for utility-scale solar. It’s “Sunshot” May 17, 2011 Mission Statement claims that it is “[r]educing the total installed cost for utility-scale solar electricity to roughly 6 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWhr) without subsidies will result in rapid, large-scale adoption of solar electricity across the United States. Achieving the SunShot goal could enable PV penetration levels as high as 8% by energy production by 2020, 14% by 2030, and 18% by 2050.
I doubt this will work, but hope it does. Absent mass electrical storage, we’re by definition talking partial peak-load (when the sun shines!) power, not the base load power that one can’t run an electrical utility without. Still, read this piece on the economic benefits of integrating Solar PV into the Texas grid.