Solar On Its Way to Being Cheapest Power Source Everywhere


| 1/10/2017 10:05:00 AM


Tags: solar power, electric utilities, electricity rates, home energy, Kayla Matthews, Pennsylvania,

 

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Solar energy has been making serious gains in recent years. Increased awareness of the environmental effect of fossil fuels, improvements in solar technology, rising investments and more widespread adoption have all led to a drop in the price of solar energy. Now for the first time, solar is en route to becoming the cheapest source of power available.

More Countries Using Solar

According to a report by the World Economic Forum (WEF), solar energy is now cheaper than or the same price as fossil fuels in more than 30 countries. WEF also estimated that, within only a few years, two-thirds of countries will reach the same point.

In 2016, the U.S. added about 9.5 gigawatts (GW) of solar power to the grid, making solar the biggest source of added capacity that year. The year 2016 was the first that solar became the power source with the most additions. The number is even higher — 11.2 GW — when including solar installed for homes and businesses, as opposed to only utilities. Countries around the world from Chile to Saudi Arabia to China are adding solar capacity at record paces and energy companies are bidding on solar contracts in auctions at unprecedented lows.

Solar Prices Falling

Ten years ago, generating solar energy cost about $600 per megawatt-hour (MWh) compared to around $100 for coal and natural gas. Today, solar costs about $100 per MWh. The price is expected to keep dropping. By 2025, solar will likely be cheaper than coal across the globe. Solar may be getting cheaper for a number of reasons.




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