In more of the US than ever before, wind and solar power are proving the cheapest source for electric generation in more of the country. That’s forcing more power companies to move away from coal. Meanwhile auto companies are looking into using solar panels on vehicles, most recently Hyundai.
The latest update from the University of Texas at Austin’s Energy Institute found that across the US, solar, wind and natural gas are now the cheapest sources of electric generation. The report, which builds on it previous research found that solar power is now the cheapest form of electric generation in a larger swath of the US and not just in the Southwest anymore. It’s also becoming the cheapest form of energy in more of the eastern and northern parts of the country.
The institute’s findings are being born out across the US as more coal-fired power plants are closing and bering replaced by renewables and natural gas. Case in point, as Washington State’s TransAlta Centralia Coal plant is set to close by 2025, more solar power is coming online. The TransAlta Centralia Coal Transition Grants Energy Technology Board (CCTGETB) recently announced 18 proposed solar projects that it will help fund with $3.2 million in grants. It’s part of $55 million the power company set aside to hep transition away from coal in Washington State.
Another utility that continues to push for more solar power is Duke Energy. In both Carolinas it has offered numerous incentives for homes and business owners to go solar. Now it has filed to become a lessor. If approved by the state’s commission, it’s unaffiliated Duke Energy Clean Energy Resources (DECER), could offer leases and loans to companies, allowing them to go solar with little up-front costs. It already has a similar capability in South Carolina.
As the cost of solar has fallen and the efficiency of solar panels have increased auto manufacturers are also looking incorporate solar panels into their vehicles. Toyota first included them on its Prius to run a ventilation system in the car. But in 2017 Panasonic announced it was working with Toyota and potentially other auto manufacturers to develop solar panels that can help power cars. Last week Hyundai and its brand Kia will start incorporating solar panels into its vehicles as soon as 2019. The company will first introduce them on hybrid vehicles, then its internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles and ultimately its fully electric vehicles.Tweet