Solar power now cheaper than grid electricity in China


That’s according to a new study led by researchers at Sweden’s Mälardalen University, and published in the journal Nature, which notes that subsidy-free solar projects could now be built in most Chinese cities at a significantly cheaper price than coal, hydropower, nuclear and other grid-fed generation-sources.

Researchers investigated the prospects of building industrial and commercial solar projects in 344 cities across the country, forecasting the cost of solar energy systems over a typical project lifespan, with consideration for factors such as investment levels, electricity output and trading prices.

The result was pricing-parity in every one of the cities tested.

With the above in mind, the study’s authors note that a significant upswing in the prospect of industrial and commercial renewable energy across the country, and suggest that parity is in part thanks to significant technological advances, declining technology costs, and government support.

The study further found that approximately a fifth of cities surveyed are capable of building solar infrastructure that provides power at significantly cheaper prices than coal, which comprises over 60% of the country’s generation.

As a caveat, however, researchers note that despite these achievements, the country is over-invested in “redundant construction and overcapacity” and suggested a focus on subsidisation of cities that are under-performing in terms of solar capacity.

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