Solar May Overcome Coal as the World’s Cheapest Energy Source

If solar power stays on track, it may just beat out coal power as the world’s cheapest source of energy in less than a decade. 

With the cost of solar energy per kilowatt-hour (kWh) hitting all-time lows across multiple countries, the odds of this trend spreading globally are likely. Here at Think Energy, we’re excited to share this news and see where it takes us in the years to come.

Solar power costs have dropped by an incredible 62 percent since 2009. Today, solar power is cheaper than coal power in some parts of the world. Last year alone, various countries set records by making deals to generate solar power for less than 3 cents per kWh. This groundbreaking rate is half the average global cost of coal power per kWh.

Solar power’s recent success is largely due to advancements in technologies as well as supply chain improvements. Cutting wafers more efficiently with diamond-wire saws or obtaining more spark from the sun with better cells are just a couple of the major technological upgrades that have streamlined the solar power process. Supply chain efficiency has also decreased risk premiums on bank loans and moved manufacturing capacity to new levels.

Numerous organizations recognize progress in the solar power industry and predict continued success. The U.S. Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Lab estimates that by 2020, solar power cost per kWh will drop to $1. GTM Research believes this $1 rate may drop to as low as 75 cents in Southwest areas of the United States in 2021. Then by 2025, solar power could easily become a cheaper option than coal power on a global average, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Although the speed at which these drops occur will vary from country to country, solar cost will most likely surpass coal cost as the cheapest energy source globally. Think Energy is excited about these predictions and their near future timing!


Shankleman, Jess, and Chris Martin. "Solar Could Beat Coal to Become the Cheapest Power on Earth." Bloomberg, 02 Jan. 2017. Web. 06 Feb. 2017.


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