Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Solar Power Forecast: Record-Low Costs Expected to Keep Plummeting as Technology Improves

Renewable Energy
Solar Power Forecast: Record-Low Costs Expected to Keep Plummeting as Technology Improves
The Masdar Solar Hub in the United Arab Emirates is a state-of-the art solar testing and R&D hub for photovoltaic and solar thermal technology. Masdar

The already-plummeting costs of installing solar power could fall an additional 60 percent over the next decade, the head of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said Monday.

IRENA director general Adnan Amin told Reuters that the organization expects an additional 80 to 90 GW of solar capacity will be added worldwide each year for the next five to six years, and that improvements in technology, including batteries, will help drive down costs.


Earlier this month, a new solar project in Saudi Arabia set a record for the lowest bid prices ever recorded for solar energy at 1.79 cents/kWh. An Oct. 4 report from the International Energy Organization hailed a "new era" for solar, naming it the fastest-growing source of new energy in 2016.

As reported by ThinkProgress:

"Prices for new solar power projects are falling so fast that the cheapest prices from 2016 have become the ceiling price for solar today.

In April 2016, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) reported that the record low unsubsidized solar energy price was 3.6 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), in a March 2016 contract in Mexico.

This month, every single bid that Saudi Arabia received for its 300-Megawatt (MW) Sakaka solar project was cheaper than that.

The lowest bid price was 1.79 cents/kWh. For context, the average residential price for electricity in the United States is more than six times that, 12 cents/kWh.

The jaw-dropping price of 1.79 cents is not about to become the new ceiling for solar bids—since the market conditions in Saudi Arabia are fairly unique and it's not clear the bidder, Masdar (owned by the United Arab Emirates) and its French partner EDF would actually make money at that price.

But, still, seven of the eight bids were below three cents—and the two lowest bids were 'the lowest prices ever recorded at a global level,' as PV magazine noted."

For a deeper dive:

IRENA: Reuters, PV Magazine. Saudi Arabia: Bloomberg. IEA: Reuters, The Guardian, Bloomberg, Mashable. Commentary: ThinkProgress, Joe Romm column

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for daily Hot News.


JasonOndreicka / iStock / Getty Images

Twenty-five years ago, a food called Tofurky made its debut on grocery store shelves. Since then, the tofu-based roast has become a beloved part of many vegetarians' holiday feasts.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Protestors walk past an image of a Native American woman during a march to "Count Every Vote, Protect Every Person" after the U.S. presidential Election in Seattle, Washington on November 4. Jason Redmond / AFP / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

A leading environmental advocacy group marked Native American Heritage Month on Wednesday by urging President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Kamala Harris, and the entire incoming administration "to honor Indigenous sovereignty and immediately halt the Keystone XL, Dakota Access, and Line 3 pipelines."

Read More Show Less

Trending

Marilyn Angel Wynn / Getty Images

By Christina Gish Hill

Historians know that turkey and corn were part of the first Thanksgiving, when Wampanoag peoples shared a harvest meal with the pilgrims of Plymouth plantation in Massachusetts. And traditional Native American farming practices tell us that squash and beans likely were part of that 1621 dinner too.

Read More Show Less
Former U.S. Sec. of Energy Ernest Moniz listens during the National Clean Energy Summit 9.0 on October 13, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Isaac Brekken / Getty Images for National Clean Energy Summit

By Jake Johnson

Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.

Read More Show Less
Climate change can evoke intense feelings, but a conversational approach can help. Reed Kaestner / Getty Images

Anger, anxiety, overwhelm … climate change can evoke intense feelings.


Read More Show Less