Solar Power Breaks Records in 2016
The year is 2030 and the green tech revolution is over. That is to say, clean energy won. Coal is dead and solar panels adorn rooftops and fields across the globe, from Shanghai to Lima.
While that prediction might be a tad on the optimistic side, many analysts’ projections are putting solar power at cheaper prices than coal power within little over a decade. The year 2017 is set to be pivotal in that march toward ubiquity.
In the recently passed 2016, solar power actually was more affordable than coal power in certain parts of the world, and that trend shows no signs of slowing down.
Empowered by the twin energizers of newer tech and global engagement, solar power is breaking records in terms of cost. Countries like Chile and the United Arab Emirates both had some of the cheapest energy options ever, with deals to generate electricity from sunshine for less than $0.03 per kilowatt-hour, half the average global cost of coal-generated power.
Part of the success of solar power is a function of the free market at work. Many countries are holding bids for power contracts, incentivizing companies to create the most efficient and cost-effective methods of generating energy, spurring on these green techies to produce better solar power products.
And it’s working. Since 2009, solar power prices are down 62%.
Bloomberg projects that solar could be cheaper on average than coal in as little as eight years. (Source: “Solar Could Beat Coal to Be the Cheapest Power on Earth,” Bloomberg, January 2, 2017.)
With companies like Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) and SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) leading the charge on green technology, with their slick solar panel roofs and growing electric vehicle fleet—alongside other companies producing green tech and governments enacting projects like solar paneled roads—we have what might shape up to be one of the most pivotal years on the path toward a green economy.
Although it feels like every year starts off with the proclamation that this is the year that green energy production takes over, all signs seem to be pointing to the inevitability of green power.