It’s now cheaper to install solar and wind power—without subsidies—in the US than it is to continue running fossil fuel power plants. That topped the news in the renewable energy world but it was a busy week. Tesla also announced that it will drop the costs of its solar panel roofs by up to 25 percent.
Yes, solar and wind power are now cheaper to install than containing to operate coal and even natural-gas fired power plants. That’s according to the latest Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) analysis from Lazard, which found that the unsubsidized costs of solar power are now as low as $36 per megawatt hour (MWh) in the US. That’s as cheap as the marginal costs of power from coal-fired power plants and less than the cost of power from natural gas fired power plants. When considering subsidies, the costs of solar power fall to $32 per MWh and wind as low as $14 per MWh.
As if to illustrate how much solar power can help save its users money, The University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) announced that it’s installing a new solar power system and an energy storage system that will save it $6 million in energy costs over its lifetime. The university will install a 2 megawatt (MW) solar carport and a 1.2 MW hour energy storage system. It’s part of a larger effort for the university to install 4 MWs of solar on campus.
The battle for installing solar on rooftops looks to be heating up again, too. SolarCity once dominated the rooftop solar market, but after Tesla bought it and instituted marketing changes to reduce the costs of acquiring new customers, its new sales dropped sharply. Now the company said that thanks to the marketing changes made its able to drop the costs of its solar panel rooftops by up to 25 percent. The company stated that that would create savings between $3,000 and $5,000 per rooftop for an average home.
Currently the solar industry is dominated by rigid silicon solar panels but there’s also a host of new, flexible solar technologies the will make solar usable in more fields, like transportation and charging. A new report out from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) showed that those industries, as well as aerospace will benefit from flexible solar panels and help them lower their costs as companies begin increasing production.Tweet