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Published on October 26th, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan


LCOE of Utility-Scale Solar Power Getting Really Competitive

October 26th, 2014 by  

solar power cost

Before we shared this chart in an article about the extremely low cost of wind power, one of our readers actually sent it along to me with the dashed red line inserted as above (click on the chart to see it more clearly). It’s exciting to see wind power at such a low price, but it’s been there for awhile, and solar power has been much more expensive for awhile, so it’s really exciting to see utility-scale solar getting as cheap as gas combined cycle power plants (and cheaper than coal or nuclear energy).

Of course, CleanTechnica readers know that we’ve seen some extremely low solar power prices in New MexicoTexas, and Minnesota, already beating low-priced natural gas. But seeing a report showing the LCOE of utility-scale solar power beating natural gas, coal, and nuclear power is still something.

Lest we get carried away looking at the cost of wholesale electricity, however, I think it’s also important to note that rooftop solar power doesn’t typically compete with wholesale electricity prices. Rather, it competes with retail electricity prices, which is why rooftop solar is already cheaper than other options for hundreds of millions of people.

Let’s also remember that, on the society scale, the costs of natural gas, coal, and nuclear power above do not include massive externalities, which actually make them much more expensive than solar (or wind) power.

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. He's also the CEO of Important Media. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA] — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in this company and feels like it is a good cleantech company to invest in. But he offers no investment advice and does not recommend investing in Tesla or any other company.

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