The latest news that wind and solar are now positioned to compete with fossil fuels, coupled with the shift in technology and the market, could have enormous impacts on the energy infrastructure of the world. Our country’s energy minister, Piyush Goyal has confidently announced that power generated through solar power is a lot cheaper than power got through coal. This comment came about after an auction of solar energy capacity in India which,achieved a record low price of Rs.4.34/KW/H. Further, the minister predicted a surge in solar energy in the not so distant future.
The Deutsche Bank seems to agree with Mr. Goyal. A report released by them states that the capital costs for solar energy have plunged by 60% in the last 4 years and there is a high possibility of them dropping by another 40%. In addition, the report says that investments in the solar power sector would outrun the investments made in the coal industry and this would happen by the year 2020. The investment prediction in the Indian solar sector by global players is likely to exceed $35 billion, which is a 240% higher forecast.
Clean energy is becoming a reality and attaining ‘mainstream’ status, especially because it is a lot cheaper. The Fortune said that electricity got through solar and wind farms is cheap enough to compare with coal and natural gas in many parts of the world, even though solar panel farms may have a higher operating cost than large wind farms. However, there would be a further drop in the technology and financing costs, making clean energy easily available.
In a 2015 press release, the Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said that the fiscal year recorded the highest ever number of installations of renewable power plants. These installations were mostly in China, Africa, India, Latin America, and even the United States.The global figure was a whopping $328.9 billion, which is a record. The commissioned plants – wind at 64GWs and solar at 57GWs – have marked a significant increase of nearly 30% as compared to the year 2014.
While making his speech, Mr. Goyal mentioned that India too is on track to increase its solar power generation capacity by around 500% – that is about 100GWs by the year 2022. About 20GWs solar capacity, have already been approved by the government and another 14GWs are planned for the remaining part of this year – 2016, as per the budget of the country. He further added that there is still an enormous potential and this figure could increase to about 100,000W in the next 5-7 years. Mr. Goyal also added that our country was happy to assist other developing nations in Asia, Africa, and the pacific in their plans to develop clean energy.