SOLAR ENERGY: THE CHEAPEST

Solar has become the cheapest new form of energy in nearly 60 countries worldwide. Developing economies, including China, Brazil, and India, committed $177 billion to renewables, a hike of 20 percent, while investments from developed countries were down 19 percent.

A report about global trends in renewable energy investments shows that – worldwide – the new energy construction projects and investment emphasis are concentrated in solar. The world installed almost 100 gigawatts of new solar projects in 2017. This is more than the additions of coal and gas. The report of the UN, a german university and Bloomberg reflects a strong emphasis on solar energy.

By far, the leading location for renewable energy investment in 2017 was China, which accounted for total $126.6 billion in global investment, the highest figure ever. Solar investment alone in China was $86.5 billion. In contrast, U.S. investment in all renewables fell by 6 percent from 2016 and totaled only $40.5 billion.

Costs for solar energy continue to fall. Photovoltaic panels dropped down another 15 percent from a year earlier and down 72 percent since 2009. A fall in capital costs combined with efficiency improvements contributed to that price drop.

Although the total amount of energy coming from renewable resources is still dwarfed by that coming from fossil fuels, because of all the existing energy infrastructure, it is growing. The proportion of world electricity generated by wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, and hydro power rose from 11 percent in 2016 to 12.1 percent in 2017. (Ten years ago, that all-renewables figure was five percent).

The future of investments in renewables could be changing, as developed countries have started dropping government price supports, while countries with developing economies, such as Mexico and countries in the Middle East, are providing more support.

The foreword to the UN report singled out China as the leader.

(Source: Daily Kos)

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