Solar photovoltaics (PV) have become one of the cheapest sources of electricity. Lazard’s estimate of unsubsidized levelized cost of energy (LCOE)
In paragraph 2 below the chart, should “megawatt” be “megawatt-hour”?
"As the market for solar PV expanded, the cost of it fell. Between 1956 and 1971, the cost of solar PV electricity dropped 300 percent, to $100 per watt."
No, it didn't. Costs can rarely fall more than 100 percent because anything falling 100% ends up at a cost of 0. Didn't see the numbers behind this claim, but I'm guessing it fell much less.
1) cool, good news. So we all agree the US can stop subsidizing solar and wind then, right?
2) is solar still the cheapest when you take production out of western China, where they use coal and slave labor (Uyghurs) to produce the panels?
Nice article but surprised the data show geothermal to be the future of carbonless, dispatchable base load. It's as cheap as solar but actually much cheaper given no need for batteries or storage. It seems from the EIA charts to be the only dispatchable and carbonless source except nuclear which is much more expensive. Eavor and quaise are good sources of more info
This paper estimating on how doubling cumulative production decreases marginal costs at a constant rate, allowing us to predict the future costs of technologies (using solar panels as a case study) may be of interest
For a long time, it was easy to get the impression that Tang was the big spin off from the space program. Now that industrial policy is coming back into vogue, people are taking a harder look. It turns out that solar power was a big beneficiary as was the integrated circuit business. The space program was, as noted in this article, one of the few places solar power panels made economic sense as was the move to integrated circuits. The Apollo program was largest consumer of integrated circuits for yeras.
Are you allowing for the fact that solar only works when the sun shines? The intermittency means you need a backup power supply. That makes it far more expensive.
A fascinating and informative piece. Thank you.
Really enjoyed this article. Thanks Brian!
Nice and informational article Brian!
Very cool, thanks !!
Listen to this article (22min) at https://playtext.app/doc/clggltyb2000wlg0gut21ptfo
I hope part 2 (or 3) looks into the risks of solar taking the desirable locations 1st. Like in the future what happens when solar is forced into less desirable climates/is located farther from demand?
I'm happy to see the total cost curve bending down, and am a big believer in an "all of the above" energy policy- so this is great news. Just hope policy makers and solar evangelists don't overplay the hand
The chart shows geothermal as also very cheap.
Another dimension of cost would be minimum MC output. That's the kind of energy that could power anything that does not need continuous power: battery charging, carbon capture, inertial storage, etc.