A new study suggests that wind and solar plants are already competing economically with fossil fuel in Europe. Soon, even household rooftop solar PV systems will generate electricity more cheaply than coal.
The study from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems says the cost of rooftop solar in the southern parts of Germany is already as cheap as €0.08 per kilowatt-hour. Even in northern Germany, where there is little sun, solar can be generated at €0.14 kilowatt-hour, half the cost of grid-based electricity.
By 2030, the study says, the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) from rooftop solar PV will have fallen to around €0.06 per kilowatt-hour. In sunnier regions, such as Australia, the Middle East, southern Europe and the western U.S., not to mention Africa and Latin America, the cost of solar will be lower still, at around €0.043 per kilowatt-hour.
The study claims onshore wind in Germany is already between €0.05 per kilowatt-hour and €0.11 per kilowatt-hour, a figure that is unlikely to fall further. Fuel costs for fossil fuel plants, however, are likely to rise.
“Even small, roof-installed PV systems will be able to compete with onshore wind, and also with the higher generation costs in the future from brown coal, hard coal and combined-cycle gas power plants,” Fraunhofer ISE Director Eicke Weber said in the report.