It’s no secret that solar power is cleaner and more renewable than burning coal. The sun offers a near-unlimited amount of power that we can harness can convert into usable electricity. One of the most common complaints about solar, however, is the cost. Up until now, solar power has cost more to produce than coal power.
There’s new evidence, however, suggesting that solar power is now cheaper to produce than coal in many parts of the world. And the places where solar power still costs more to produce, well it’s expected to get cheaper and cheaper in the years to follow. Reports indicate that many countries, including the United Arab Emirates and Chile, produced solar power for less than 3 cents per kilowatt-hour. To put that number into perspective, that’s roughly half the average cost of coal power.
Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Mexico have also announced plans to optimize their production of solar power, with a goal of further reducing prices. Of course, these new low prices didn’t happen overnight — it’s been a long time in the making. Since 2009, prices for solar power have declined by 62%. Manufacturers have worked to lower costs at every available sector, including materials, labor, loan and more. A recent report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance suggests that solar power will be cheaper than coal power on a global average by 2025, which is a pretty bold prediction to make.
“These are game-changing numbers, and it’s becoming normal in more and more markets,” said Adnan Amin of the International Renewable Energy Agency ’s director general. “Every time you double capacity, you reduce the price by 20 percent.”
Researchers believe that China, which is currently the largest market for solar power, will experience the greatest cost-reduction savings in the years to come. New Energy Finance published a report in which it cites China as experiencing cheaper-than-coal-solar prices by 2030. China has already passed Germany in terms of solar power capacity, but it’s yet to optimize production for cost-savings.
Researchers also believe that “Sunbelt” countries will pave the way in cost-savings for solar power. Auctions platforms, for instance, are being used to award solar production companies with contracts to build solar panels and solar farms.
Who knows where solar power will be in ten years from now. What we do know is that it’s getting cheaper and cheaper to produce. Perhaps it will soon be the preferred choice of energy for countries throughout the world.No tags for this post.