A blog about climate change, economics and politics.
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. While I do make mistakes, I try hard to do my analysis thoroughly, and to make sure my data are correct (old habits die hard!) Also, don't ask me why I called it "Volewica". It's too late, now.
BTW, clicking on most charts will produce the original-sized, i.e., bigger version.
Saturday, April 14, 2018
Solar: 1 cent/kWh in sight
This chart, from Electrek, shows a remarkable decline in solar costs. It shows signed contracts (PPAs, or Power Purchase Agreements) in different countries from 2013 to 2017. (Note that the US data may include the 30% tax credit. If so the decline is even greater, as there are no subsidies in the other countries in the chart.) These places are also places with high insolation--desert or semi-desert at low latitudes. In other places, the cost per kWh would be higher, because output would be lower. All the same, the costs have fallen from over 8 cents/kWh to 1.8 cents/kWh. This year it looks as if solar costs have fallen another 20%, taking costs for these favoured regions to 1.4 cents/kWh. Another 20% decline during 2019 will drive that down to 1.1 cents/kWh. 1 cent/kWh or $10/MWh is within sight. Which means that even in higher latitudes and less favourable climates, $20/MWh or $30/MWh will be reached. This is irresistibly cheap. Lazard estimates new coal costs at $102/MWh, BNEF at about $100. In the US, where gas is cheap, Lazard estimates gas combined cycle at $60/MWh.
With wind also declining in price (especially offshore wind, which has high capacity factors), plus plunging battery costs over the next few of years, the decline in coal can only accelerate.