The average price of solar technology today is at $17,000 - $29,000 for properties across the world. The total amount of solar panels and labor included in this cost guarantees that you can completely power your property free from the grid. The prices of solar will likely drop in the next few years, and investors see the trend dropping, allowing a huge part of the world to access the technology freely with minimal investment.
Solar technology price trends have been dropping for the last three decades. During the solar energy revolution, prices were exponentially high, but they dropped as competition rose from hundreds of manufacturers worldwide. Today, it’s at a stable price that many parties in developed nations can easily access. Thankfully, today’s economic conditions continue to lower solar technology’s acquisition costs to the advantage of marginalized households.
Experts believe that the prices can drop as low as $14,000 - S $16,000 for a complete solar technology set that powers a 45 sqft home.
Evidence to support this is China’s report that solar technology prices have become cost-competitive with coal production for its country. Ars Technica has a full report on this. Read more about it below.
The incredible plunge in the price of photovoltaic systems has made solar power an affordable option for much of the world. And, as long as solar is providing a small fraction of the power on a given grid, there's little holding back the addition of new photovoltaic facilities. But as the fraction of solar power grows, managing the fact that it only generates electricity intermittently becomes a significant grid-management challenge.
At that point, factors other than price become significant in determining how much solar energy makes sense. And those factors can vary from country to country. This means that understanding solar's potential requires a country-specific analysis. This week, researchers in China released an analysis of their country, indicating that solar has now reached a point where it's cost-competitive with coal. The report also states that solar (when coupled with storage) could handle nearly half of China's needs by midcentury.
A changing landscape
Like everywhere else, China has seen the cost of solar power dive over the last decade, with a 63 percent drop between 2011 and 2018 alone. In line with that, the installation of solar has risen dramatically. Currently, a third of the entire planet's new solar capacity is being commissioned in China; the country passed the installed capacity of the US in 2013 and Germany in 2015, and it now has over 250 GW active—well more than double what its economic plan had specified by this point.
Given that China plans to hit net zero emissions by 2060, it is likely to continue this building spree.
But the forecast is not all rosy. Most of China's population is located in the country's southeast. The best solar resources (in terms of cloudless days and available land) are in the northwest, which also happens to be sparsely populated. This mismatch has left solar facing constraints due to limits in the ability of China's grids to shift power across its vast distances. The output of solar plants in the northwest has frequently ended up curtailed, as there's no capacity to send it where it's needed. (Continue reading to learn more about solar storage’s huge gamechanging effect in the market)
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