Here’s what, courtesy of Anne Polansky, the new Executive Director of the Maryland-DC-Virginia Chapter of the Solar Energy Industries Association (MDV-SEIA), based in Washington, DC:

Not 16 years old, of course — but 16 seems to be the magic number (in today’s energy economy at least) at which photovoltaic power becomes competitive with new nuclear power.   The crossover occurs at 16 cents per kilowatt-hour, to be exact.
This is real news, and is a “fun-fact-to-know-and-tell” when, for example, lobbying for solar with your favorite political candidate or elected official, or when raising awareness of solar energy amongst electric utility execs.
The crossover is documented and backed up in a new report from Duke University, concluding that  “Solar photovoltaics have joined the ranks of lower-cost alternatives to new nuclear power plants.”
Some of us will recall the days of the nuclear industry’s slogan:  “too-cheap-to-meter” — that is, until Three Mile Island, and a
growing awareness of the many problematic safety issues, not to mention the intractable and still-unsolved problem of where to put all of that highly radioactive nuclear waste….  The nuclear corporate interests have lobbied hard to reduce the financial risk by transferring the burden to rate-payers and taxpayers — in other words, the American people.
To quote the report: 

“….the nuclear industry, well aware of the economic and financial disasters of the 1980s, already has successfully transferred some costs and risks to consumers. It will not proceed without federal loans, or at least loan guarantees, for the enormous borrowing that would be  necessary. This is because the financing institutions, “Wall Street” in the popular press, will not lend for nuclear projects without taxpayer backing. This risk transfer is necessary due to scores of project cancellations and loan defaults experienced during the first generation of reactors.” 

While we’ve all known that solar is much cheaper (and of course SAFER) than nuclear when the externalities (such as federal indemnification in the event of an accident or federal loan guarantees or the exorbitant cost of construction, etc etc) are factored in — now PV can match nukes dollar for dollar straight up, says a new report issued by Duke University.   
Anyway, for those of you headed to the beach or your favorite cabin in the woods, and for those of us die-hards working straight through August, add this to your summer reading list.  It’s only 18 pages long, has plenty of charts and graphs, and promises not to disappoint.  

You can find the report here: