PART I: How Auctions Helped Solar Become the Cheapest Electricity in the World

Author
Benjamin Attia, Shayle Kann, Morgan D. Bazilian
Content Type
Special Report
Institution
Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
Abstract
The global energy transition has reached an inflection point. In numerous markets, the declining cost of solar photovoltaics (PV) has already beaten the cost of new-build coal and natural gas and is now chasing down operating costs of existing thermal power plants, forcing a growing crowd of thermal generation assets into early retirement. Perfect comparability between dispatchable and non-dispatchable resources invites debate, but the cost declines in solar PV are irrefutable: the global average unit cost of competitively-procured solar electricity declined by 83 percent from 2010 to 2018. This is due in part to module cost reductions of approximately 90 percent, capacity-weighted average construction cost declines of 74 percent, and a global paradigm shift in renewable energy procurement policies in the last six years.
Topic
Climate Change, Environment, Science and Technology, Natural Resources, Infrastructure, Electricity
Political Geography
Global Focus