Britain’s Solar power will be cheaper than gas by 2018, that’s according to new analysis from the Solar Trade Association (STA).
The STA says that as long as the government provides stable policy support (something that has certainly been an issue in the past), it will be cheaper to generate electricity from solar than burning gas.
The survey of STA’s member companies and their cost forecasts between now and 2030 shows that the cost of generating electricity from a typical 10MW solar farm in the UK is set to fall faster than many think over the next 15 years.
This is partly due to the falling global price of the technology (solar panels and inverters), as well as the growing solar supply chain in Britain.
In addition, the analysis from the STA shows that solar will be cheaper than the wholesale price of electricity sometime between 2025 and 2028.
On the other hand it states that the cost of generating electricity from gas is forecast to increase in real terms over the next 15 years, and will always be more expensive than wholesale power.
The STA CEO, Paul Barwell, says that UK solar is on its way to becoming subsidy free.
However, he believes it critical that stable government policy is maintained to support grid connected utility-scale solar as opposed to fossil fuel power stations.
Mr Barwell also said that it makes political and economic sense for the government to back large-scale solar.
The sector has a great track record in creating jobs and producing even cheaper, zero carbon power.
Like many who support solar (including us) he is calling for one final push from Government to get solar to being subsidy-free, which he calls a home grown solution to Britain’s energy crisis.
Energy analyst in resources and Energy, Andrew Crowther of Strutt & Parker, said
“Whilst large scale solar projects have driven down industry costs, smaller scale projects on farm and business roofs across the UK will continue to play their part in the road to grid parity.”
“Along with solar PV, onshore wind is also expected to achieve grid parity around 2021, ensuring a mix of renewable technologies will continue to feed in to the grid.
Taking an overview of the energy markets it is important to remember the price of wholesale electricity can fluctuate, increasing or decreasing the time it takes to achieve grid parity.”
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With an election on the horizon, politicians will be looking to support popular causes, if solar gets enough backing it could get the push it needs.