In Brief
  • The cost of building solar plants has declined by 25 percent in just five months, according to two recent bids in China and Dubai.
  • The reduction in price follows a broader trend of solar affordability brought on by cheaper solar panels.

It seems that we have truly entered a new era in energy production—in renewable energy production, that is. Over the past new months, the cost of solar power has plummeted, and it seems that things are going to stay this way. Indeed, “there’s no reason why the cost of solar will ever increase again,” former Masdar Clean Energy director Frank Wouters noted in a recent interview with Electrek.

If governments and innovators continue to invest in these energy sources in the way that they have been, Wouters statements are easy to believe.

In just 5 months, prices have dropped some 25%. This development is shown in the recent, and staggeringly low, construction bids on solar projects in China ($0.46/W for 500MW of solar power) and Dubai ($0.023/kWh for 1.2GW of solar power).

Several factors have driven these relatively inexpensive bids. In China, solar power is incentivized. To that end, decreasing hardware prices have largely fueled the drastic drop—solar panel costs, for instance, have declined remarkably since the first quarter of this year. And in Abu Dhabi, solar panels produce more power than usual because the city enjoys some of the best sunlight exposure in the world.

Still, Abu Dhabi isn’t the only location with ideal conditions.

Last year, Costa Rica powered itself purely with renewable energy for 299 days total. This year, they already surpassed 150 days. The success, as is true in the other recent successes, isn’t just due to the country’s size or location. The government is serious in its effort to eliminate the use of fossil fuels.

And other countries are also stepping up to the plate. Thus, this most recent drops herald a notable trend that is, at the present time, showing no sign of slowing.

Credits: NINA
Credits: NINA

In Nevada, a 100MW solar project is expected to deliver electricity at $0.04/kWh. Chile and India are also experiencing similar efficiency.

Now, we need to really invest in renewable grid storage solutions. Fortunately, a number of companies already have such solutions in the works.

From the moment it was launched, the Tesla Powerwall was a massive success. The device, which was introduced last year is already sold out, and it is speculated to have already reached some $1 billion in sales.

Basically, the massive battery allows you to stock solar energy and use it to run your home’s electricity after dark.

The batteries are designed to tap into backup power when the grid goes down, or to be used in tandem with solar panels to access solar energy in the evening, making it a smart and reliable source of power during the harsh winter seasons or other chaotic times.

In any case, one thing seems to be certain: Technology for developing renewable sources of energy gets better through time. And while it does, the cost of an energy efficient world becomes more and more affordable.