Last week the cost of solar power fell to new lows internationally as new solar projects in Mexico fetched average prices of $20.57 per megawatt hour (MWh) in a new round of bids. While the US isn’t seeing prices that low, prices continue to drop and solar is becoming more accessible and gaining popularity even in midwestern states like Michigan and Wisconsin.
The newest round of accepted renewable energy project bids in Mexico have broke multiple records for low-cost bids. While the average bids for solar projects were at $20.57 per MWh—neatly $10 per MWh below the $29.10 per MWh reported in 2016 in Chile, the least expensive bids came in at 17.7 per MWh. Those bids were from Enel. The projects also show that solar will continue to to provide lower cost alternatives to coal-fired power plants throughout the world.
To that end, 27 country and state governments have now pledged to end their use of coal-fired power plants and even the export of coal. The new Powering Past Coal Alliance was launched by Great Britain and Canada. With numerous state and national governments signing on, including Oregon, for instance, the coalition aims to reduce use of coal internationally to help meet the goals of the Paris Accord on Climate Change. The coallition also aims to grow rapidly and anticipated that by the end of 2018 it would grow to 80 or more members.
Stateside, solar continues to grow in more locations than ever and new programs are coming online to help speed growth of solar power. In Michigan, for instance, the state’s public service commission introduced new renewable energy avoided cost rates last week that will entice more private investors to invest in renewable energy projects. The move was made to help bring the state into compliance with the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) and rewards renewable energy projects for lowering emissions compared with fossil fuel plants.
A recently launched program in Wisconsin, “Solar for Good” has proven more popular than expected. The privately funded grant program was designed to help nonprofits go solar by helping pay for some of the costs. It was funded with $125,000 and designed to provide up to 20 percent of the costs of a solar array for entities like nonprofits, churches and more. However, the program already received more than $222,000 in qualifying requests for funds. Now seed-funder, Componex, and program administrator, RENEW Wisconsin, are seeking additional funding to help all the institutions that applied go solar.
As the end of the year approaches, predictions and projections for the growth of solar power throughout the world will start to crop up. While solar power is still expected to expand internationally, things in the US may slow down, particularly if the Trump Administration decides to impose tariffs on solar panel and cell imports. SolarReviews will keep tracking the news to bring you the latest.Tweet