Solar to be cheapest form of energy generation by 2020

Solar could be the lowest cost form of energy generation in 2020. That’s according to a report by the Solar Trade Association (STA) which quantifies the cost of integrating solar […]

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By Jacqueline Echevarria

Solar could be the lowest cost form of energy generation in 2020.

That’s according to a report by the Solar Trade Association (STA) which quantifies the cost of integrating solar into the UK power market today and in a 2030 scenario, where this source provides above 10% of the country’s annual electricity.

STA’s analysis shows that today the cost of integrating solar into the power system, including back-up, is at £1.30 per MWh. If solar reaches 40GW in 2030, which is more than 10% of the country’s annual electricity, that figure would rise to just £6 or £7 per MWh.

The report also shows integrating solar into a more decentralised, flexible, smarter power system, including batteries, delivers more benefits than costs to the system.

High battery penetration combined with high solar penetration reduces the cost of variability by £10.50 per MWh, resulting in a £3.70 per MWh benefit.

Paul Barwell, CEO of the STA said: “The report shows that solar sits right at the heart of the Smart Power agenda, which overall could save consumers billions every year. We are on the cusp of an incredibly exciting technological transformation in the power system that the new Department has an exceptional opportunity to drive forwards.

“If we seize this agenda now, the UK can own the clean energy future.”

The report also highlights and evaluates the portfolio effort of combining solar and wind in an energy system in which there’s 40GW of solar and 45GW of wind, enough to power 55% of the UK’s electricity system in 2030.

The cost impact of solar on the system falls by 25% in this scenario, due to the complementary generation profiles of solar and wind, the report found.