US utility-scale solar PV costs plummeted 17% in Q3 of 2015, and declining PV costs are fuelling greater demand.
According to an EnergyTrend report, US utility-scale solar costs fell in the third quarter of 2015 to $1.38/W, compared to $1.66/W twelve months earlier.
Patrick Lin, an analyst with EnergyTrend, said the average cost for a global utility-scale system could drop an extra 15% on a year-to-year basis within 24 months. The average cost of a utility-scale solar PV system could reach $1.15/W this year, Lin said. Declining installation costs will push levelled costs of electricity (LCOE) in some areas to $0.07/kWh and under. This makes solar cheaper than coal plants and natural gas.
Factor in continuing efficiencies seen in solar PV products, and you can see LCOE prices will push further down. This, along with declining installation costs, will help fuel greater demand globally, EnergyTrend noted.
Since the start of 2015, utility-scale solar installed capacities in Chile, India, and the Philippines are 750 MW, 827 MW, and 134 MW. In 2016–2017, utility-scale solar will see increased demand returning to Southeast Asia, Latin America, and India.
Overall, this is another report which proves solar is gaining traction. Consider now that US utility-scale solar is 31 times greater than in 2005. It accounts for half a percent of US electricity production. Last June, US utilities reached a record for solar electricity, with 2,765 GWh — an increase of 35.8% from 2014.
Based on EnergyTrend’s report, it would not be surprising to see more record solar electricity generation and solar capacity additions from the US this year as prices fall, as well as around the world.