There was a time when renewable energy was expensive and its doubters were justified in saying, “Well, it may be cleaner, but how can people afford it?” These days, that argument looks silly. Renewables are getting cheaper all the time and, in some cases, they already match prices for traditional power.
The price of solar, in particular, has fallen precipitously. Six years ago, the average rooftop module was about 75% dearer than it is today. All indications show that it’s likely to keep falling in price, because that’s what generally happens with technologies as they mature.
How much does solar cost today? In about 30 countries, it’s already cheaper than grid electricity, according to a new Deutsche Bank analysis, and in some cases, a lot cheaper. In other places, solar is set to reach “grid parity” by 2017 assuming modest (3%) increases in conventional power and ongoing cost falls in solar power. Eighty percent of the world’s largest markets could see grid parity by 2017, according to DB’s analyst Vishal Shah.