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Disclaimer. After nearly 40 years managing money for some of the largest life offices and investment managers in the world, I think I have something to offer. These days I'm retired, and I can't by law give you advice. I do make mistakes, but I try hard to do my analysis thoroughly, and to make sure my data are correct. Remember: the unexpected sometimes happens. The expected does too, but all too often it takes longer than you thought it would.

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Saturday, January 10, 2015

Germany: solar power costs fall 25%

From this piece in PlanetSave:

Prices for German solar power storage systems have reportedly fallen 25% since the spring. The data come from the German Solar Industry Association (BSW-Solar).

Also according to BSW-Solar, approximately 15,000 German households now use battery storage combined with solar power, and that number has been growing faster and faster as the costs have come down. As an example of that, KfW, Germany’s development bank, approved 32% more funding applications for home storage in the third quarter of this year than in the second. Needless to say, I think word is getting around that this is a smart move for many now that storage costs have fallen.

Solar costs and the costs of storing sun power to use later are going to continue to slide fast. At a 20% per annum compound rate of decline, they'll fall 60% in 4 years. This will be devastating for coal.  The coal price has already more than halved over the last 4 years; it is now lower than it was during the GFC.  Note also that every year-end for the last 5 years (in the northern hemisphere winter) the coal price has had a seasonal rebound.  Not this year.  That augurs very ill for coal prices during 2015.  And the explosion of solar (and to a lesser extent wind) is a key ingredient in this collapse.  Of course, China's slower growth is a factor, but that turn to slower growth is itself driven by the extreme air pollution in China.  As solar and wind prices collapse, no new coal-fired power stations will be built, and old ones will be pensioned off.

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