The declining cost in producing solar energy, outlook for 2017

Lets explore a few trends in solar energy growth around the world as we observe the declining cost of producing solar energy and the outlook for 2017.


Trends today, indicate that solar power is now cheaper than coal in most parts of the world. Projections from various sources indicate that in less than a decade, solar power would most likely be the lowest-cost option almost everywhere.

The solar supply chain is experiencing “a Wal-Mart effect” from higher volumes and lower margins, Sami Khoreibi, founder and chief executive officer of Enviromena Power Systems, an Abu Dhabi-based developer told Bloomberg.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance
Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance

Bloomberg reports that just last year, 2016, countries from Chile to the United Arab Emirates broke records with deals to generate electricity from sunshine for less than 3 cents a kilowatt-hour, half the average global cost of coal power.

pvbuzz media also reported that Canada and the United States recorded the largest installs to date. Adding that the U.S Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects solar capacity to continue growing, anticipating an increase of more than 30 percent in 2017.

Here is the list of forecasts for 2017:

1. GTM Research expects some parts of the U.S. Southwest approaching $1 a watt today, and may drop as low as 75 cents in 2021, according to its analyst MJ Shiao.

2. The U.S. Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Lab expects costs of about $1.20 a watt now declining to $1 by 2020. By 2030, current technology will squeeze out most potential savings, said Donald Chung, a senior project leader.

3. The International Energy Agency expects utility-scale generation costs to fall by another 25 percent on average in the next five years.

4. The International Renewable Energy Agency anticipates a further drop of 43 percent to 65 percent for solar costs by 2025. That would bring to 84 percent the cumulative decline since 2009.

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