The ongoing rate of technology-driven cost declines for renewable has exceeded even the most optimistic projections
The ever-lower cost of variable renewable energy has driven penetration in myriad electricity markets as varied as Germany, California, Tamil Nadu and South Australia.
Even as the global economy has been locked down by the COVID-19 pandemic, May 2020 saw the renewable energy and storage sectors continue to achieve new record-breaking milestones. Stranded asset risks for the coal-fired power sector continue to grow as a result, sending global capital fleeing for the exits.
In May 2020:
The hype of hydrogen continues to build, with a record number of ever-larger renewable hydrogen electrolyser projects being announced. A decade ago, most projects were smaller than 0.2MW. Over the last three years, several projects were in the range of 1-5MW, with the largest at 6MW. This year has seen a 10MW project commissioned in Japan, while a 20MW project has commenced construction in Canada. Press reports suggest China is developing projects that will dwarf these installations.
With a 20% year-on-year decline in solar module costs to just US$0.17-0.20/watt, and collapsing global interest rates, there is no sign that solar deflation will slow anytime soon. And with China announcing a record number of solar manufacturing capacity expansions, economies of scale continue to combine with technology improvements to drive this trend.
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