I am not sure if companies are so generous that they will reduce the prices for environment benefit sake. Most of the companies are in this business just to make profit. May be government can give some tax breaks to these companies so that they can pass on that benefit to the end customer.
I feel this is temporary phenomenon. After Nuclear crisis in Japan demand for renewable energy has gone up. Even countries like France and Germany have decided to move away from nuclear energy. Ultimately this will lead to huge demand for solar modules.
Definitely! I used to work for a PV manufacture and I raised the point at an all hands engineering meeting that our competition was not any one specific company, it was China, more specifically the Bank of China. This was 1.5 years ago and the response I got was a blank look and a retort that it was an unsustainable business model. I replied that it doesn't have to be sustainable, just last long enough to drive the non-subsidized competition into bankruptcy. Again the blank stare and a change of subject. I bailed from that company! People need to understand the rules of the game as they are, not as they wish them to be. Free market in a global environment is wishful/magical thinking. Need to adapt to the current paradigm of a fusion of state sponsored "free market" or perish when your industry comes into the cross hairs. Good luck to those that remain!
The first crunch comes when oversupply forces price drops, which is what we are seeing here. The second one comes when all of the low-hanging fruit is taken in terms of installations. Remember that these things have twenty years or so of (admittedly declining) production. Unless there are significant technology breakthroughs that can increase that obsolescence we won't be seeing the first replacements for a decade or more.
could the low prices be due to dumping by the state-funded Chinese vendors to drive out the VC-funded companies? (such things have happened in the past with memories for example.) Consumers may benefit short term from the lower price, but the prices will go up once the competition is gone. And consumers lose even more longer term as there is no competition to push technology improvements for a competitive edge.