This cool, if wonky, chart from 1366 Technologies shows just how close solar energy is to the current electric grid costs.
After reading this New York Times piece on new big venture funding for 1366 Technologies ($20 million to commercialize a new "breakthrough" technique that will cut the cost of solar panels 40 percent, which alone is worth posting about), I started poking around 1366's site and found the chart above.
There are plenty of charts out there showing how the cost of solar is falling over time, but I like how this one adds the levels of natural gas and wholesale coal costs. As you can see, we're right on the cusp of having the installed cost of solar equal the average cost of natural gas electricity for the consumer. Within the next 10 years, it should match the cost of coal.
Of course, this all depends on reliable R&D support from the government, and would be greatly assisted by making dirty energy providers pay for their pollution.
But with every bit of news like this 1366 venture funding, and Google's ongoing RE<C (Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal) campaign that includes their recent offshore wind transmission investment off the mid-Atlantic, I feel a little bit better about the fact that our government has been utterly incapable of pushing any broad climate and energy initiative.