Solar's big heyday may be just three years away as the unsubsidized cost of panels plus storage is set to become cheaper than retail power supply in several large markets, Bernstein said.

"The math would work in: Australia, Japan and Spain. Brazil and parts of California will become economic shortly thereafter," Bernstein said in a note last week. "At that point, solar without subsidy and without kid-glove regulatory treatment, would - if combined with energy storage solutions - be capable of supplying electricity ('on' and 'off')."

It expects solar will reach a cost below $0.40 a watt by 2018, leading to a combined cost of the solar-plus-battery electricity supply of $0.24 a kilowatt hour on an unsubsidized basis in select markets, including Australia, where residential retail power averages $0.26 a kilowatt hour.

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