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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Dirt cheap solar, even in Denmark

(Source)


Even in Denmark, latitude 55 deg N, solar is cheap.  We've got used to cheap solar in places like Dubai or the US south west or the Atacama desert in Chile.  But there the insolation is high, the sun shines for most of the year, and the winter days aren't short.  But now, even in Denmark, solar has fallen to 5.4 cents per kWh.  Remember that the capital cost of the solar panels and associated hardware has to be spread over much less sunshine.  In winter the sun often doesn't shine, and when it does it's low in the sky.  Yet despite this, solar in Denmark beats all other power sources except wind.  Wind is still cheaper than solar--Danish wholesale prices are so low because of abundant wind resources.  (Those hostile to renewables say that Danish electricity is expensive, but that's because it is taxed at the retail level.  At wholesale, it's as cheap as the US.)

Denmark couldn't rely on solar alone, without significant seasonal storage,  But it's a useful diversification of generating resources.  And it shows just how cheap solar could be, even outside low latitude deserts.  10 degrees further south, say in Bordeaux or northern Italy, the cost of solar wouldn't be 5.4 cents/kWh.  It would be less.

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