Fossil fuels have been definitively ousted as the world’s cheapest source of electricy with solar energy prices falling to an all time low. Solar is now the least expensive way of generating electricity costing half of the price of coal, the cheapest form of fossil fuel energy.
In May 2016 there was a record solar price bid of $29.90 per megawatt hour (MWh) in Dubai or 2.99 cents per kilowatt hour (KWh). This August solar prices fell by 80 cents a MWh with a bid bid from Spanish developer Solarpack Corp. Tecnologica of $29.10 in Chile. This means that electricity costs are 2.90 per KWh. As explained in Think Progress, the average residential price for electricity in the US is 12 cents per kilowatt-hour.
“Solar power delivers cheapest unsubsidised electricity ever, anywhere, by any technology,” BNEF Chair Michael Liebreich said on Twitter after this contract was announced.
Solar is declining in price in large part due to the declining costs of solar technology. As reported by Bloomberg at the beginning of the summer of 2016, the International Renewable Energy Agency solar generated electricity could grow sixfold by 2030. With solar prices expected to fall as much as 59 percent by 2025, natural gas and coal-fired plants will not be able to compete. Solar will account for 8 percent to 13 percent of global electricity produced in 2030, compared with 1.2 percent at the end of 2015.
“The renewable energy transition is well underway, with solar playing a key role,” Irena Director General Adnan Amin said in a statement. “Cost reductions, in combination with other enabling factors, can create a dramatic expansion of solar power globally.”
The rapid growth of solar is being supported by smart grids and the declining costs of stationary energy storage.
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