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Solar Could be World’s Cheapest Energy Source by 2025

Solar photovoltaics could be the world’s cheapest energy source within 10 years and cost less than US$0.02 per kilowatt hour by 2050, according to a study by the Berlin-based Agora Energiewende.

The study team found that “the end to cost reductions from solar plants is ‘not in sight,’” RenewEconomy reports, after plummeting over the last several years—50% over five years, according to some estimates, 80% according to RenewEconomy. “It comes down to an expected doubling in module efficiency, which will mean fewer panels are needed to produce the same amount of power, and therefore less land, less materials, less maintenance, and lower installation costs,” Parkinson writes.

In Europe, depending on local conditions, PVs are expected to cost €0.04 to 0.06 per kilowatt hour by 2025 and €0.02 to 0.04 by 2050. “Even in the most conservative scenarios for market development, without considering technology breakthroughs, significant further cost reductions are expected,” the report states.

Agora Energiewende Director Patrick Graichen commented that solar energy “has become cheaper much more quickly than most experts had predicted and will continue to do so,” though it still depends on the right financial and regulatory frameworks to succeed. “Favourable financing conditions and stable legal frameworks are therefore vital conditions for cheap, clean solar electricity.”