12/07/2011 11:09 EST | Updated 02/06/2012 05:12 EST

Cost of solar falling according to study by Queen's University professor

KINGSTON, Ont. - A Queen's University professor says the public is being kept in the dark about the viability of solar energy.

Joshua Pearce of the Kingston, Ont., university's department of mechanical and materials engineering says many analysts project a higher cost for solar energy.

But Pearce says they aren't considering recent technological advancements and price reductions.

Pearce says he believes solar systems are near the "tipping point" where they can produce energy for about the same price of other traditional sources of energy.

Pearce makes the comments in releasing a study co-written by students published in the December edition of Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews.

Pearce has created a calculator program available for download online that can be used to determine the true costs of solar energy.

Analysts look at many variables to determine the cost of solar systems for consumers, including installation and maintenance costs, finance charges, the system