I'd talk often with people still thinking that solar needs subsidies from tax breaks. They also would point out that solar was only a small part of the energy economy.
I'd smile and remind them that it meant there was still enormous opportunities for growth and an unlimited supply of sunshine hitting the planet each day.
Still, I'd have a tough time taking in these exponential growth numbers. I'd read about a breakthough that would half the costs again or double the output efficiency of solar cells. Just so amazing how there's still more to come.
Then I read this and my mind is blown again. I know itl I preach it. Still amazed to see it.
Wednesday 10 May 2017 08.29 EDT Last modified on Wednesday 10 May 2017 18.21 EDT
Wholesale solar power prices have reached another record low in India, faster than analysts predicted and further undercutting the price of fossil fuel-generated power in the country.
The tumbling price of solar energy also increases the likelihood that India will meet – and by its own predictions, exceed – the renewable energy targets it set at the Paris climate accords in December 2015.
Ensuring it generates as much of that energy as possible from renewable sources is considered crucial to limiting catastrophic global temperature increases.
At a reverse auction in Rajasthan on Tuesday, power companies Phelan Energy and Avaada Power each offered to charge 2.62 rupees per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity generated from solar panels they hope to build at an energy park in the desert state. Last year’s previous record lowest bid was 4.34 rupees per kWh .
Analysts called the 40% price drop “world historic” and said it was driven by cheaper finance and growing investor confidence in India’s pledge to dramatically increase its renewable energy capacity.
It reduces the market price of solar tariffs well past the average charged by India’s largest thermal coal conglomerate, currently around 3.20 rupees per kWh . Wholesale price bids for wind energy also reached a record low of 3.46 rupees in February.
Kanika Chawla, a senior programme lead at the Delhi-based Council for Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), said it was encouraging that Rajasthan project bidders were “new players, not the same old market leaders”.
“It shows there is enough happening to attract investment, attract interest from companies who have otherwise been cautious,” she said.
Prices were likely to drop further if the cost of borrowing money continued to fall – which she said was one of the major drivers in the record low prices this year.
“Any future incremental gains in prices will not come from the decline in technology prices, they will come from declines in the cost of finance,” she said.
Investors were also likely encouraged by a recent move to allow the state-backed Solar Energy Corporation of India to act as a guarantor in agreements between energy developers and India’s debt-ridden power distribution companies.
Tim Buckley, a director at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, said the most important factor driving a rush of international investment in Indian renewables was the “transparency, longevity and certainty” of the country’s energy policy.
“That is absolutely critical because when you invest for 25 to 35 years, you need certainty and clarity of policy,” he said.
“India has prime minister [Narendra] Modi saying this is his number one objective, you have energy minister [Piyush] Goyal talking about it every day. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind about Goyal’s commitment to this program and Modi’s endorsement of what Goyal’s doing,” he said.