Recently, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) released the 2019 Renewable Energy Generation Cost Report. Report data shows that since 2010, photovoltaic costs have dropped by 82%.
IRENA said that the cost reduction in the past decade was due to technological advancement, economies of scale, supply chain competition and the growing experience of developers. "Compared with ten years ago, the same amount of capital invested in renewable energy now generates much more new capacity.
According to IRENA data, from 2010 to 2019, the global solar capacity increased from 40GW to 580GW, an increase of 14 times. During the same period, component prices fell by 90%, and system (BoS) costs also fell.
At present, the average levelized cost (LCOE) of large-scale solar energy is US$0.068/kWh, compared with US$0.378/kWh in 2010. Between 2018 and last year alone, the cost dropped by 13.1%.
During this period, the national weighted average cost of large-scale solar power in India fell by 85%. Other significant declines include China, Italy and South Korea, where solar prices fell 82%, as well as Spain (81%), Australia (78%), France (77%), Germany (73%) and the United States (66%).
The report pointed out that from 2010 to last year, residential solar costs fell by 47-80%, depending on different regions.
The IRENA study shows: “Compared with existing coal-fired power plants, new projects that use renewable energy to produce energy are becoming cheaper today. On average, commissioning new photovoltaic and wind power generation facilities is more cost effective than maintaining many coal-fired power plants. Operation is cheap."
Nearly 56% of the large-scale renewable energy plants that went into operation last year have electricity production costs lower than the lowest-cost alternatives to fossil fuels. IRENA said that the cost of solar power in large projects in 2010 was 7.6 times that of fossil fuels.
IRENA said that although the epidemic is expected to slow the deployment of solar and wind energy this year, the public health crisis has not shown signs of slowing down the trajectory of renewable energy costs.
The latest tender and power purchase agreement (PPA) indicate that the average price of solar projects that will be put into operation next year is $0.039/kWh, which will be 42% lower than last year, equivalent to one-fifth of the cost of the cheapest fossil fuel electricity.
IRENA added: "The record figures from solar photovoltaic auctions conducted in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Chile, Ethiopia, Mexico, Peru and Saudi Arabia confirm that only a price of $0.03/kWh is possible."
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