The latest figures released by BloombergNEF show new solar and onshore wind power plants have reached parity with average wholesale prices in California, China and parts of Europe. The technologies are winning the race to be the cheapest sources of new generation for two-thirds of the world’s population.
Recent investments into 11 GW of new coal generation capacity may result in reduced operating cashflows of $71 billion. That will occur, according to a report from the Carbon Tracker Institute, because solar and wind will become cheaper than coal in Japan by 2025 at the latest, despite high renewable energy costs at present.
Research has found even short-lived, 10 to 15-year solar panels could provide enough return for bankable projects. The researchers believe panel costs, coupled with an industry mindset now fixed on the final solar energy price rather than costs per kilowatt installed, may open opportunities for PV products currently snubbed because of a short lifecycle.
Renewables investment may by hit by rising interest rates despite the falling cost of clean energy tech just as fossil fuels avoid the impact of rising base rates.
The levelized cost of energy produced by large scale PV projects ranges from €24/MWh in southern Spain to €42/MWh in Finland. New research states that is already cheaper than the average spot market electricity price and that the figure for big facilities in southern Spain may fall to €14 in 2030 and €9 in 2050.
The head of Mercom Capital says solar has a long way to go before it can stand without policy support. Effective grid parity will only be achieved when the cost of PV electricity factors in the expense of grid upgrades and the storage systems its intermittent nature requires, says Raj Prabhu.
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