One megawatt-hour of solar-produced electricity in North America currently costs $50, compared to $102 for coal-originating power, according to new analysis.
New solar installs are contributing the same amount of electricity as building one new coal-fueled power station annually in Australia, according to the head of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).
“We are essentially seeing the [equivalent] of a new power plant being built every season,” AEMO chief Audrey Zibelman told the Sydney Morning Herald.
One reason rooftop adoption in Australia is exploding, the paper wrote, is because of government subsidies. However, there’s another financial driver of alternative power globally, which is the full-lifecycle cost of building and operating — it’s now lower.
Alternative power generation is much cheaper now over the lifetime of a plant than when working with traditional fuels like coal, according to a report by investment bank Lazard.
Lazard says the cost of producing one megawatt-hour of solar-produced electricity in North America is currently $50, compared to $102 for coal-origination. It says that in 2009 it would have cost $359 to produce that level of power with utility-scale solar arrays, and $111 with coal-fired power stations. Wind-power comes in even cheaper at $45 per megawatt-hour today.