LCOE of Utility-Scale Solar
by Zachary Shahan
Before we shared this chart in an article about the extremely low cost of wind power, one of our readers actually sent it along to me with the dashed red line inserted as above (click on the chart to see it more clearly). It's exciting to see wind power at such a low price, but it's been there for awhile, and solar power has been much more expensive for awhile, so it's really exciting to see utility-scale solar getting as cheap as gas combined cycle power plants (and cheaper than coal or nuclear energy).
Of course, CleanTechnica readers know that we've seen some extremely low solar power prices in New Mexico, Texas, and Minnesota, already beating low-priced natural gas. But seeing a report showing the LCOE of utility-scale solar power beating natural gas, coal, and nuclear power is still something.
Lest we get carried away looking at the cost of wholesale electricity, however, I think it's also important to note that rooftop solar power doesn't typically compete with wholesale electricity prices. Rather, it competes with retail electricity prices, which is why rooftop solar is already cheaper than other options for hundreds of millions of people.
Let's also remember that, on the society scale, the costs of natural gas, coal, and nuclear power above do not include massive externalities, which actually make them much more expensive than solar (or wind) power.
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