The Continued & Rapid Decline in the Cost of Solar
It’s official – the cost of solar is declining at a record pace.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) recent report showcases the rise in affordability of solar. In 2016 Solar was the world’s fastest growing energy source, but critics were suspicious of such rapid growth. Those fears have been put to rest, as the EIA report shows a 33 percent decline in the cost per kilowatt of solar power from 2013 to 2016.
The other primary sources of clean energy didn’t show nearly as much of a change in cost over the same period. Wind saw a respectable decrease of just under 15 percent, but natural gas stayed almost level to it’s prior cost. Meanwhile, solar dropped from a cost per kilowatt of $3,700 in 2013 to less then $2,500 per kilowatt in 2016. Additionally, the real cost to utilities could possibly be even less (thanks to government incentives at the local, state and federal level to construct new solar plants).
These incentives, combined with the drastic reduction in cost, could explain the sudden growth of solar farms. The EIA report shows that in 2015 there were three gigawatts of new solar power built in the U.S. This grew to eight gigawatts in 2016, an almost three-fold increase. This allowed solar to surpass natural gas as a leading energy source for the first time ever.
While costs are rapidly declining, there is still progress to be made. Certain parts of the Country lack the endless sun of California and will always need to be more reliant on alternative forms of energy. However, this report from the EIA clearly indicates solar will continue to become more affordable in the future. This trend will certainly lead to a cleaner environment, which sounds like a shift the entire nation can get behind.
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