Global solar LCOE could fall 40 – 55% by 2030, bp report says

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email
BP’s net zero scenario forecasts that there would be almost 21TW of deployed solar and wind by 2050. Image: Lightsource bp.

The levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) generated from solar power could fall by as much as 55% globally by 2030 as technology and production costs decline, new research from energy major bp has revealed.

A rapid projected expansion of solar is underpinned by continuing falls in costs and supported by increasing module efficiency and larger projects scales, bp said in its latest Energy Outlook report, which provides a guide as to how the global energy system may evolve over the next 30 years.

The LCOE of solar, including integration costs, falls by 40 – 55%  by 2030 across the three scenarios included in the report. The global average LCOE for utility-scale PV in the first half of 2021 was US$48/MWh, according to research organisation BloombergNEF.

bp said the pace of cost reductions slows and eventually plateaus in the final two decades of its outlook as falling costs of generation are offset by the growing expense of balancing power systems with increasing shares of variable power sources.

The declining role for fossil fuels is offset by the rapid expansion of solar and wind, with the share of renewables in global primary energy increasing from around 10% in 2019 to 35 – 65% by 2050 in the three scenarios.

Supported by increasing electrification, combined installed solar and wind capacity by 2050 increases more than 15-fold from 2019 levels in bp’s accelerated and net zero scenarios and by nine-fold in the new momentum path.

Emerging economies would account for more than three-quarters of the increased deployment of solar and wind capacity in the accelerated and net zero scenarios by 2050, with China contributing around a quarter of the increase.

By 2050, the net zero path forecasts that there would be almost 21TW of deployed solar and wind capacity. That figure is slightly lower than the 22.7TW of solar and wind that the International Energy Agency projected would be deployed globally by 2050 in its net zero scenario included in its latest World Energy Outlook report, published in October.

bp’s rapid acceleration in solar and wind installs is dependent on a range of enabling factors scaling at a similar rate, including transmission and distribution capacity, availability of key materials, planning and permitting, and social acceptability.

In addition, the growth in solar and wind requires a substantial increase in the pace of investment in both new capacity and enabling technologies and infrastructure.

The report said that although government ambitions globally have grown markedly in the past few years, pointing to new, increased momentum in tackling climate change, there is “significant uncertainty” as to how successful countries and regions will be in achieving those aims and pledges.

Read Next

May 23, 2022
Australia’s new prime minister, Anthony Albanese, has pledged to make the country a renewables “superpower” following his Labor Party’s victory in Saturday’s federal election, which ousted predecessor Scott Morrison’s conservative coalition.
May 13, 2022
The global solar community has called for “robust and fast policies” alongside increased international cooperation to accelerate PV deployment and the energy transition.
April 6, 2022
Large-scale solar deployment in Australia jumped 38% year-on-year in 2021 as its three largest PV plants were commissioned, but financial commitments for new renewables projects in the country fell, according to a new report.
March 30, 2022
European solar developers hit by rising module costs are scrapping tariffs secured in auctions and are instead looking to sign power purchase agreements (PPA), according to a speaker at today’s Large Scale Solar event.
March 17, 2022
Last month, PV Tech and ‘Solar Module Super League’ member JinkoSolar co-hosted a webinar which explored the benefits of TOPCon PV modules in relation to utility-scale solar LCOE. Here, JinkoSolar’s Roberto Murgioni TÜV NORD’s Shawee Wei answer some of our attendee’s most popular questions.
March 16, 2022
France should take “radical and immediate measures” to transform its energy system and rapidly accelerate solar deployment, the country’s PV trade association has said.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
June 7, 2022
Leonardo Royal London City, London, UK
Solar Media Events
June 14, 2022
Napa, USA
Solar Media Events
June 22, 2022
Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol, Austin, Texas