The cost of solar power is falling faster than any other technology, a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has found.
Power from utility-scale PV plants has fallen 50% since 2010 while the cost of installation fell 65% between 2010 and 2014. IRENA noted the recent tender process in Dubai which will see a 200MW plant developed in the emirate at a cost of less than US$0.06/kWh.
The cost of residential solar installs fell 70% since 2008, according to the report, launched to coincide with the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi.
“Renewable energy projects across the globe are now matching or outperforming fossil fuels, particularly when accounting for externalities like local pollution, environmental damage and ill health,” said Adnan Z. Amin, the re-elected director-general of IRENA. “The game has changed; the plummeting price of renewables is creating a historic opportunity to build a clean, sustainable energy system and avert catastrophic climate change in an affordable way.”
The report, 'Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2014', found that biomass, hydropower, geothermal and onshore wind are now competitive with or cheaper than coal, oil and gas power, without subsidy support.
IRENA estimates onshore wind costs at US$0.06/kWh in Asia, US$0.07/kWh in North America, US$0.09/kWh in Africa and US$0.05/kWh in Europe.
While the study also found that concentrated solar power (CSP) and offshore wind were not yet competitive, the combination of future technology cost reductions and lower financing will close the gap.