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Solar Energy Is Now the Cheapest for Electricity Production

22 Dec 13:00 by Steve Walia

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New research has shown the solar energy is becoming the cheapest method of producing electricity across the world. A team of analysts from Bloomberg New Energy Finance demonstrated that the costs of generating solar power in 58 countries with a 'lower income' - such as India, Brazil and China - had plummeted to around 30pc of 2010 levels. As a result, solar is now marginally less expensive than even wind power - the previous winner on the cost advantage front.

The increasing competitiveness of renewables was highlighted in August, when the Chilean government held an electricity supply auction and offered it for a bid price of £23.30 per MWh - a low previously unseen and around 50pc of the bid price offered by a coal producer.

Renewable energy is already cheap and becoming cheaper, making it competitively viable without subsidy systems, Already, almost 50 countries have signed up to a pledge to become 100pc free from fossil fuels by 2050.

However, although renewables are particularly cheap in developing nations, in richer countries where renewable operators have to compete with existing coal power stations the cost of clean power can be higher. The huge plunge in costs has been partially due to economies of scale, with huge national buyers such as China investing in solar capacity on a vast scale.

The Chinese government has also been extending financing to other countries to help them to invest in solar power.

The news will be heartening to those operating in the renewable energy industry and remind the British government of the need to commit to its renewable energy pledges, especially in the wake of Brexit, when EU targets may no longer be legally enforceable despite being agreed to during the UK's membership.