Solar Prices Keep Getting Better
US installs record solar capacity as prices keep falling; It's often cheaper to build and run solar than to buy gas for an existing plant.
John Timmer, September 21, 2022 (Ars Technica)
“…The annual Energy Department analysis found solar energy was nearly half of new U.S. 2021 generating capacity partly] because costs have dropped by more than 75 percent since 2010…[and] it's now often cheaper to build and operate a solar plant than it is to simply buy fuel for an existing natural gas plant…[Incentives and tax breaks in the Inflation Reduction Act] should expand solar's advantages…[Over 12.5 gigawatts of new utility-scale capacity was built] last year, bringing the total installed capacity to over 50 gigawatts…
Combined with residential and other distributed solar installations, solar alone accounted for 45 percent of the new generating capacity added to the grid last year…[The] expansion has largely been driven by falling costs…[T]he price of building a solar plant has been dropping by an average of about 10 percent a year…[Prices averaged] about $1.35 for each watt of capacity in 2021. Large-scale plants benefit the most, with projects over 50 megawatts costing about 20 percent less…
…[It is] becoming increasingly economical to install large facilities in states that don't get as much sun…[making the median capacity factor of solar plants in the US was 24 percent…[With the drop in construction costs, solar’s LCOE without federal tax incentives has dropped 85 percent since 2010, from $230/MWh to $33 per MWh] and utility-scale and distributed solar growth is forecast to] triple by the end of the decade, reaching about 75 GW in 2030, and continuing to grow from there…” click here for more
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