India Is Now Producing The World’s Cheapest Solar Power: IRENA

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  • Between 2010 and 2018, setup costs in India fell by 80%, the most precipitous decline of any country
  • The costs of building large-scale solar installations in India fell by 27 per cent in 2018
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According to the survey conducted by International Renewable Energy Agency, India is now producing the world’s cheapest solar power. Average solar prices from large-scale installations in India were less than a third of Canada’s, where costs were highest of the countries surveyed.

The costs of building large-scale solar installations in India fell by 27 per cent in 2018, year-on-year, thanks to a combination of low-priced panel imports from China, abundant land and cheap labour.

More than half of the total costs of building a solar installation in India relate to hardware, like racking and mounting, while the remainder involves soft costs such as system design and financing.

Lower service and labour outlay have contributed to a dramatic fall in the investment needed to set up large-scale solar power-generating projects. Between 2010 and 2018, setup costs in India fell by 80 per cent, the most precipitous decline of any country.

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China was responsible for 44 gigawatts of all new solar capacity, almost five-times more than India, which followed directly behind. Other rapidly expanding markets include the US, Japan, Australia and Germany.

Remarkable trend

“Through its compelling business case, renewable energy has established itself as the technology of choice for new power generation capacity,” said Adnan Amin, former director general of IRENA.

He added, “The strong growth in 2018 continues the remarkable trend of the last five years, which reflects an ongoing shift towards renewable power as the driver of global energy transformation.”

The IRENA report sees falling renewable technology costs as key to future energy decarbonisation, noting it will ultimately be cheaper to build and operate solar and wind farms than to run existing coal-fired power plants.

Onshore wind and solar power are quickly becoming less expensive than coal and oil, which could provide a powerful incentive for fossil fuel-dependent countries to switch to more sustainable energy sources.

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