KPMG has released a report stating that by 2020 solar power in India could cost about 10% less than coal power, saying “Solar power price declines have beaten the expectations of most analysts since the beginning of 2015. In the ongoing NTPC solar park tender, solar prices have breached the INR 5/kwh and this is a landmark for the energy sector. Today, in India, solar prices are within 15% of power prices on a levelized basis. Our forecast is that by 2020, solar power prices could be up to 10% lower than coal power prices.” You can read the full report, titled ‘The Rising Sun – Disruption on the Horizon‘ here.
2020 is not that far away, and if it does come to pass that solar power is cheaper than electricity generated by coal in just a handful of years in such a huge country that consumes tremendous quantities of the stuff, it certainly would be quite a milestone.
“We need to re-engineer our process to create energy efficiency and conservation to give India an affordable energy access. A holistic vision is the need of the hour in order to reach 200 million people at a faster rate. I am personally convinced that any amount of investment in this sector will have a quick pay back,” explained energy minister Piyush Goyal.
We’ve already seen that solar power in Chile can be cheaper than electricity produced by coal. Who is paying attention to these developments though? Critics and cynics could say that Chile is a nation of only 17 million with exceptional solar power potential, and therefore is not indicative of a larger solar power trend.
However, India’s population is 1.25 billion, so it can not be dismissed as too small to count. In fact, its population is several times that of US, and India doesn’t have the same wealth or technological development. The US should be able to achieve something along similar lines, if India can in five years.
It doesn’t seem that long ago that naysayers were saying grid parity wasn’t possible with renewables – especially for solar power. Now, it seems we are moving towards a reality where solar power could be cheaper than coal power, in some cases.
Image Credit: Karunakar Rayker, Wiki Commons