2017 is already shaping up to be an interesting year, especially in the renewable energy industry. One of the reasons that this year is going to make a memorable impact is because it is predicted that in some countries, renewable energy, solar power, in particular, is set to become cheaper than burning coal.
In December 2016, the World Economic Forum announced that solar energy and wind energy have become the same price as coal and, in some instances, the price of renewable energy has dropped below that of coal.
“In an increasingly larger number of countries, it has become more economical to install solar and wind capacity than coal capacity,” the WEF report stated.
While South Africa is making great strides towards changing over to renewable energy, in 2016 it was countries like Chile and the United Arab Emirates, that broke new records. These countries were able to generate electricity using solar power for less than 3 cents a kilowatt, which is half of the average global cost of energy generated from coal.
This year other nations are aiming to drop prices even lower, with Jordan and Mexico being just two of the countries that are using auctions and tenders to drop prices. Companies in Europe, which have already proven that their techniques for dropping prices using renewable energy have worked, are reaching out to new markets in new countries in the hope of sharing their expertise.
Solar prices have been dropping since 2009, with more affordable materials and more effective techniques being used to generate electricity using sun energy. In fact, since 2009, solar prices have dropped by up to 62%. This price lowering has had a far-reaching effect on other areas of the construction industry.
According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, by 2025 we could very well see a global-scale drop in solar power, pushing coal prices higher than solar energy prices.
“These are game-changing numbers, and it’s becoming normal in more and more markets,” said Adnan Amin, International Renewable Energy Agency’s director general, an Abu Dhabi-based intergovernmental group. “Every time you double capacity, you reduce the price by 20 percent.”
While this is a fantastic development and a victory for renewable energy, the world will not be ready to completely break away from fossil fuels in 2017. Even with lower prices infrastructure still needs to be put in place on a larger scale. The complete changeover is going to take many years to accomplish and in the meantime, the focus will be on reducing just how much we rely on non-renewable energy.
But technology is changing and developing all the time, so the change will come sooner rather than later. Scientists are always working on the next best techniques to shake up the bustling industry. Some examples of new technology being used to benefit the solar industry include using diamond wire saws that are more efficient to cut the wafers (exceptionally thin semiconductor material) and manufacturing cells that are able to store more energy from the sun.
Today, the Green energy is inching its way towards being an equal competitor in the energy industry. This comes after almost a decade of commercial solar energy and numerous advancements and developments.
2017 is going to be a remarkable year for solar power and this year will hopefully be a precursor year to more exceptional developments.
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