Advances in photovoltaic-cell technology, along with rising prices for fossil fuels, are allowing solar power to progress faster than many expected, according to two consultants. They write that while experts have estimated that grid parity, in which solar electricity matches or becomes cheaper than conventional energy sources, wouldn't come until 2020, some now say parity could be achieved as soon as 2015, with thin-film technology replacing conventional technology for the cells.

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