Utility-Scale Solar Booms as Costs Drop, Challenging Gas on Price
The utility-scale solar sector is maturing right before our eyes. The resource’s prices are falling so fast, it’s on the verge of edging out natural gas on cost, according to the industry’s latest progress report from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL).
“Utilities should take another look at utility-scale solar because they may be surprised at how much prices have come down. Prices from just two years ago are now grossly out of date,” noted Research Scientist Mark Bolinger, co-author of LBNL’s recent report, “Utility-Scale Solar 2014; An Empirical Analysis of Project Cost, Performance, and Pricing Trends.”
Solar may now be a better choice to protect utility ratepayers from price hikes than natural gas, he added, because the prices in solar contracts are generally fixed, while fossil fuel plants are at the mercy of market prices for their fuels.