A new report by IRENA has revealed that India now holds the tag of the lowest cost producer of solar power in the world.
The International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) latest report, ‘Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2018’ highlights the latest trends for each of the main renewable power technologies. And draws on the latest cost and auction price data from projects around the world, revealing that India is now the lowest cost producer of solar power in the world.
The global weighted-average total installed cost of utility-scale solar PV projects commissioned in 2018 was USD 1210/kW, down from USD 1389/kW in 2017, a 13% decline. Although there has been a convergence in total installed costs towards the most competitive benchmark countries, which have historically been China and Germany, there still remains a wide spread in total installed costs.
“India was estimated to have the lowest total installed costs for new utility-scale solar PV projects that were commissioned in 2018 at USD 793/kW, 27% lower than for projects commissioned in 2017,” the agency issued in its report.
Besides India, the report also focussed on China and Italy which also saw very competitive installed costs for 2018 of USD 879/kW (23% lower than in 2017) and USD 870/kW (9% lower than in 2017) respectively. Of the major markets for utility-scale solar PV in 2018, Japan had the highest installed costs at USD 2101/kW, which was 3% lower than for projects commissioned in 2017. Total installed costs in the United States and Australia declined by 16% and 20% respectively between 2017 and 2018, but remain relatively high at around USD 1500/kW in 2018.
Further, IRENA conducted an analysis of the decline in the cost of setting up solar PV projects between 2010 and 2018 across eight major markets including China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, UK, and the US. The costs were found to have dropped at the fastest pace – 80 percent – in India.
In 2018, 94 Gigawatt of new solar PV capacity was added globally, accounting for 55 percent of the total new renewable power generation capacity additions. The largest markets for new capacity additions in 2018 were China (44 GW), India (9 GW), the United States (8 GW), Japan (6 GW), Australia and Germany (4 GW), and the Republic of Korea, Mexico, and Turkey (around 2 GW each).
The report also revealed that the costs from all commercially available renewable power generation technologies declined in 2018. The global weighted-average cost of electricity declined 26% year-on-year for concentrated solar power (CSP), followed by bioenergy (-14%), solar photovoltaic (PV) and onshore wind (both -13%), hydropower (-12%), geothermal and offshore wind (both -1%).