Solar PV has bagged a long list of achievements in the last decade. From becoming the most popular source of renewable power to generating impressive ROIs, it has really transformed global perceptions of clean energy.
Today, it isn’t uncommon to see solar panels in a utility-scale plant, on a residential property, or on the roof-top of a giant grocery store chain. They’ve become mainstream, thanks to a sharp decline in the price of solar PV.
As per Wright’s Law, and extensive research and forecast modeling, every time the production of solar energy is doubled, its price falls by a quarter.
If this trend continues, and the industry is pretty sure it will, solar could cost as little as a cent – come 2030. This revelation stems from an in-depth analysis, and extensive trend forecasting conducted by Rameez Naam, a renewable energy enthusiast and technologist. According to Naam, the current trend of falling costs is paving the way for PV installations to become ‘insanely, world-changingly cheap’.
Does This Mean a Sunny Future for Solar PV?
According to Naam, it does. The clean power investor asserts that growth in solar and wind power plants will be exponential. And it will follow the same trend as the past 10 years.
However, his expert opinion stands in stark contrast to the one published by the International Energy Agency (IEA). The IEA predicts solar’s growth as a flat-lined curve at 144GWs through 2040.
Interestingly, the numbers indicate a clear win for solar PV. Every year, the production of this renewable power grows by 30%. This leads to a subsequent cost reduction of 20% each time manufacturing doubles. Hence, a 40% fall in costs can easily be seen in the next decade.
The one-cent solar theory makes sense if you break down these numbers. Consequently, the current average of $0.05/kWh may become $0.01/kWh in regions with ample sunshine, cheap labor, and low land prices.
A case in point: Abu Dhabi’s latest 1.5GW solar tender. The project has reported bids of $0.0135/kWh – the record lowest in the world for solar PV.
What can we say? Hello, 1 cent solar!