NREL: US utility-scale solar PV could be as cheap as US$16.89/MWh by 2030

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email
The Techren 2 sola project under construction in the US. Image: Nextracker

Utility-scale solar PV in the US could be as a cheap as US$16.89/MWh by the end of the decade, new analysis published by the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) has shown.

Research institute NREL has published its 2021 Annual Technology Baseline (ATB) report which provides electricity generation technology cost and performance data to inform the US electricity sector.

It has highlighted how the levelised cost of energy (LCOE) in 2019 for utility-scale PV ranged from US$31.32/MWh for ‘class 1’ solar PV, effectively NREL’s most cost-effective class, to US$50.23/MWh for ‘class 10’.

It expects LCOEs to fall to between US$29.39/MWh and US$47.14/MWh for class 1 and class 10 projects this year, with a central ‘class 5’ estimate of US$35.98/MWh, before tumbling to between US$16.89/MWh and US$27.10/MWh by 2030.

While costs will continue to fall out to 2050, NREL’s analysis shows a levelling off of cost reductions. According to this year’s ATB, class 1 solar PV will be able to generate at US$15.06/MWh in 2040 and US$13.35/MWh by 2050. The below graph shows NREL’s cost trajectory for solar out to 2050, while also highlighting the narrowing of the differences in LCOE between class 1 and class 10 utility-scale solar PV over those years.

Utility-scale solar PV LCOE will continue to fall dramatically out to 2030, NREL’s analysis shows, before tailing off. Image: PV Tech.

The ATB collates current and projected data into one format for energy analysts, modelers and system planners. It is based on original projections for the renewable and storage technologies and scenarios for technologically-based innovation for fossil fuels.

“Comparisons of possible future power systems depend on assumptions and scenarios,” said Laura Vimmerstedt, NREL energy analyst and ATB project lead. “The ATB provides critical cost and performance assumptions for energy analysis, including studies at national labs and beyond.”

Read Next

September 26, 2021
A 10.5GW solar-plus-wind project is under development in Morocco’s Guelmim Oued Noun region, with 3.6GW of this to be exported to Great Britain.
September 23, 2021
A project that bids to combine up to 20GW of solar PV with the world’s largest energy storage battery and a 4,200km-long subsea power cable has moved a step forward after Indonesian authorities greenlit its proposed transmission cable route.
September 23, 2021
Arizonan utility Salt River Project (SRP) and renewables company Clēnera have signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) for the CO Bar Solar project that is expected to deliver between 440-480MW of power
September 17, 2021
US utility company Dominion Energy Virginia has proposed 15 new energy projects totalling 1GW of power for the state, which Dominion Energy claimed was the largest group of projects to be submitted to the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC)
September 16, 2021
Energy engineering firm Babcock & Wilcox is to enter the US solar market through the acquisition of a majority stake in Illinois-based solar contractor Fosler Construction.
September 14, 2021
The US solar industry is set to continue breaking annual installation records in the coming years despite supply chain constraints that have led to higher prices as well as disruptions caused by the government’s withhold release order (WRO), according to new research.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
October 6, 2021
Solar Media Events, Upcoming Webinars
October 6, 2021
Solar Media Events
October 19, 2021
BRISTOL, UK
Solar Media Events
December 1, 2021