Solar Power Costs (Next to) Nothing

While it’s true that the sun doesn’t issue an invoice, everyone who owns a photovoltaic system knows that you have to invest quite a bit of money before you can take advantage of this inexpensive renewable energy. However, price trends show that initial investments continue to drop: The average costs per kilowatt of installed capacity for these kinds of small systems fell from EUR 5,100 in 2006 to EUR 1,658 in 2014.

On rooftops or large-scale photovoltaic power stations - prices for solar power are falling, Picture: Fotolia
On rooftops or large-scale photovoltaic power stations – prices for solar power are falling, Picture: Fotolia

Costs Fall by Around 80 Percent

The changes in the cost of solar electricity sourced from large-scale photovoltaic power stations are even more significant: Between 2005 and 2014, prices fell from 43.4 to 8.7 cents/kWh, which is equivalent to approximately 80 percent. Cost developments outside Germany demonstrate just how quickly prices for solar power are falling worldwide.

Solar Power for Less Than 3 Cents/kWh

There have been three records to report in 2016 alone, beginning with Dubai, where in May a call for bids proposed generation of solar power for less than 3 cents/kWh (to be specific: 2.6 cents/kWh). The next record came from a solar auction in Chile, where a 120-megawatt park is being built for 2.5 cents per kilowatt-hour. But prices continue to fall. In September it was announced that a solar park in Abu Dhabi is being built for around 2.15 cents/kWh.

Renewables in the Fast Lane

And experts expect prices to continue falling – some even predict 50 percent lower costs within the next one and a half years. This means that private solar power, preferably in combination with a battery, is becoming more and more worthwhile for consumers. And conventional power plants can no longer keep up with renewables.
Incidentally, one of the bidders for the solar park in Abu Dhabi was EDF. The French energy company wanted to work with a partner to build the park for around 2.26 cents/kWh. EDF will also build the new Hinkley Point nuclear power plant in the UK – for around 10.71 cents/kWh.

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