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PV costs could drop by 50% by 2020

A recent cost study by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) shows that renewable energies are becoming increasingly competitive. The study presents the latest trends for each of the most important renewable technologies, on the basis of the most recent data on the costs and auction prices of projects around the globe.

A significant finding is that power generation costs continue to fall, with competitive procurement (auctions) in particular quickly driving down costs, especially in new markets. In industrialized countries, solar energy is already cheaper than energy from new nuclear power plants. Between 2010 and 2017 the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for new PV power plants fell by a good 73%, putting them within the cost range of fossil fuels. According to IRENA a further 50% reduction in costs could be achieved by 2020, resulting in a LCOE of around 0.03 USD for large-scale solar power plants.

As deployment accelerates, the costs for renewable energies should fall even more rapidly (learning curve effect). The IRENA Renewable Cost Database contains project-level cost data for around 15,000 projects from around the world, representing a power generation capacity of over 1,000 gigawatts (GW). An additional Auctions Database includes more than 7,000 projects with nearly 300 GW of capacity. (Source: BSW-Solar, January 2018)