Ever since Thomas Edison first crafted the incandescent light bulb back in 1879, electricity has become a necessity for people all over the world. But it has come at a price.
As Edison’s lightbulb quickly spread to streetlights and into people’s homes and throughout everyday technology – including charging our much-loved devices – it has become an essential cog for our lifestyles.
But electricity has never come cheap and in recent years, it has spiked enormously as we continue to adopt more electrified gadgets into our homes and businesses than ever before. In the background, fossil fuels are slowly dwindling. Unfortunately, electricity costs are still on the rise in some areas, and it’s causing major headaches for the average Australian.
Renewable energy has long promised to address this cost and it has made vital inroads towards doing so, particularly through solar. Rebates and tariffs have meant the energy companies began to pay us back for providing solar to the grid, eventually allowing solar power systems to pay for themselves. Now, in 2021, we are expected to reach a point where this energy source lives up to its promise of smashing electricity prices into oblivion.
It is official: Solar has never been cheaper
The International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2020 has revealed that the world’s current solar schemes have made solar power the cheapest source of electricity in history.
The outlook outlines that utility-scale solar projects in Europe and the United States have pushed solar prices down to $30-60/MWh (USD), while in countries notorious for emissions and reliance on fossil fuels China and India large-scale solar projects have pushed the price down to $20-40/MWh (USD).
This has reached Australia as well. The adoption of solar systems and battery solutions in South Australia meant that there were two periods in 2020 where the entire state could be powered on solar alone – a situation that has never happened before. Additionally, Sydney recorded it’s lowest electricity prices in over a year during 2020, despite more people working from home because of COVID-19.
The future of this renewable energy driving force
Solar and renewables are a snowball that has gathered so much momentum, they are unlikely to stop now.
The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty that has seen 196 parties agree to reduce emissions and limit global warming. Donald Trump ripped the United States out of the treaty, but new President Joe Biden has promised to restore their place at the table and outlined his own extensive plan to expand renewables during his presidency.
Meanwhile, China and India have some of the largest renewable projects in the world, including the 1000MW Kurnool Ultra Mega (India) and 850MW Longyangxia Dam (China) solar parks.
So while solar energy prices have reached their lowest prices in history right now, don’t expect them to rise back up anytime soon. The renewables revolution is here and the price of electricity is set to continue to drop as a result. It’s time to enjoy it.