Global wind and solar PV costs fell by 23% and 73% over 2010-2016

16 Jan 2018

According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the costs of onshore wind power and utility-scale solar PV fell by around 23% and 73%, respectively, between 2010 and 2017, down to US$6c/kWh for wind (with wind projects now routinely commissioned at US$4c/kWh) and US$10c/kWh for solar. Wind and solar projects are now competitive with thermal power generation, whose costs are higher and range between US$5c/kWh and US$17c/kWh. With every doubling of cumulative installed capacity for onshore wind, investment costs decline by 9%, while the resulting electricity becomes 15% cheaper. In developed countries, solar power has become cheaper than new nuclear power.

Renewable costs have fallen thanks to three main drivers. Renewable technologies have improved since 2010, with more efficient manufacturing and reduced installed costs. Moreover, project developers have gained experience. Finally, competitive procurement is becoming more common, with record low auction prices for solar PV in Dubai, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia and for wind power in Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Mexico and Morocco: wind and solar projects are now offering prices as low as US$3c/kWh.

The IRENA expects solar PV costs to halve by 2020 so that the best projects could deliver power for around US$3c/kWh. All renewable energy technologies will compete with fossils on price by 2020 and offshore wind and concentrating solar power (CSP) projects commissioned in the period between 2020 and 2022 will cost in the range of US$6-10c/kWh.

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