The Cost of Solar Power Is Expected to Decline 50% Over the Next Decade
Bloomberg reports that the trend of solar power getting steadily less expensive is set to continue over the next decade — and is getting close to being competitive with coal.
Large photovoltaic projects will cost $1.45 a watt to build by 2020, half the current price, Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimated today. The London-based research company says solar is viable against fossil fuels on the electric grid in the most sunny regions such as the Middle East.
Chinese companies such as JA Solar Holdings Ltd., Canadian Solar and Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. are making panels cheaper, fueled by better cell technology and more streamlined manufacturing processes. That’s making solar economical in more places and will put it in competition with coal, without subsidies, in the coming years, New Energy Finance said.
I think that there are two trends working in solar’s favor as the primary power source of the future. The first is, as the Bloomberg article notes, relentless reductions in the costs of solar. But the other trend is that the price of coal and other fossil fuels are going up. It’s a combination that is amenable to solar.
My colleague Osha Gray Davidson has some more numbers showing the growth trends of the solar sector. Personally, I just think that solar makes the most sense as an energy technology, and the tech innovations in solar power are such that I expect it to be the most common source of power before the century is out.