In the original blog I tracked electric rates. One of the sites I linked was this one: Michael Blue Jay's "Saving Electricity." I see that blog is still around, and this particular link has not been updated since 2004. But I don't think electric rates in this country have changed a whole lot. All-source electricity in this country is probably about 8 cents/kWh depending on the make-up of the source: coal, natural gas, nuclear, solar. So, let's call it a dime/kWh.
Look at what the Germans are willing to pay for going solar: about thirty cents/kWh.
The Japanese appear to have just announced, if I understand the story correctly, that "they" will be paying about 53 cents/kWh for solar, again, compared to a dime in the US for electricity generated from all sources.
I see that the site I used to follow all the time for solar energy is still posting. These are their rates for solar. In North Dakota, a sunny climate state, solar would cost about three dimes/kWh; in a cloudy state like Washington State, it might cost up to six dimes. (Washington State has "dirt-cheap" hydroelectric power, but I digress.)
The following is from SolarBuzz, linked above.
For comparison, Cape Wind, the proposed wind farm off Martha's Vineyard, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, agreed to pay more than double the rate for "conventional electricity":
The price, 18.7 cents per kilowatt hour, is similar to the price National Grid agreed to pay when it signed a contract in 2010 to purchase half the power generated by Cape Wind. NStar will purchase 27.5 percent of the wind farm’s total output.I always get in trouble when I talk about things I don't know a whole lot about, and when I talk in averages and generalities, but this is how I understand it.
The utilities pay about 8 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity and NStar originally balked at becoming a Cape Wind customer, arguing the wind farm’s cost was just too high. That position changed last month when, after nearly a year of negotiations, state energy officials agreed to endorse a proposed merger between NStar and Connecticut-based Northeast Utilities if NStar made several concessions, including buying power from Cape Wind.
Electricity from natural gas must be down to four or five cents/kWh, here in the US (a lot higher overseas), and Japan is willing to spend over 50 cents/kWh using solar power. Japan needs to ask Spain how solar power / wind power worked out for them. Spain suspended all renewable energy projects earlier this year.