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IRENA Renewable Costing Alliance

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has intensified its campaign to gather precise, reliable information and data on the rapidly improving cost profile of renewable energy sources and technologies. After six months of consultations, the IRENA Renewable Costing Alliance was officially launched on 19 January 2014.

The launch took place in Abu Dhabi at the fourth annual IRENA Assembly, with eight member countries -- Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Tanzania, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, Uruguay and Zimbabwe -- becoming the founding signatories of the Costing Alliance. Several member companies from the renewable energy industry have also joined.

“IRENA’s ground-breaking global analysis of the costs of renewables plays a vital role in supporting the business case for renewables and enables us to make powerful statements about their increasing competiveness,” noted Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA Director-General.

“The Costing Alliance will enable us to expand our world-class database on the costs of renewables, allow us to engage more actively with industry and reach new audiences with our clear message that renewables are increasingly the economic choice for new capacity installation,” he added.

IRENA was already in discussions with around 50 other organisations to follow up on expressions of interest in joining the Costing Alliance.

If you or your organisation is interested in joining the IRENA Renewable Costing Alliance, more information can be found on this page. To contact us about joining, or to clarify any questions you might have, please email

Download the IRENA Renewable Costing Alliance Handout
Download the IRENA Renewable Costing Alliance Charter 

How IRENA and Costing Alliance Members Work Together

Market Focus: Australian Residential PV System Costs

Australia installed more than 500 MW of grid-connected residential PV systems each year in 2013, 2014, and 2015 and is on-track to exceed this threshold again in 2016. At the end of 2015, more than 1.4 million residential PV systems were in operation in the country and the cumulative PV volume installed across all segments exceeded 5 GW (IRENA statistics). Apart from significant installation volumes, Australia has also become a PV market with very competitive costs. Solar Choice was an early member of the IRENA Renewable Costing Alliance and has been sharing their survey data with IRENA. The data show that from the beginning of 2013 to the beginning 2016, residential PV system prices (prior to subsidy[1]) decreased 48%, 49% and 51% in 2015 USD terms for the 3 kW, 4 kW and 5 kW system size categories, respectively. Australian residential PV systems now have some of the lowest costs in the world and compare favourably with Germany and China which also have very competitive pricing.

[1] A small-scale technology certificate (STC) price of AUD 40 created under the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) has been considered and zone 2 is assumed, yielding about 0.9 AUD/W for incentive during the considered period

Details of the IRENA Renewable Costing Alliance

The IRENA Renewable Costing Alliance works at a technical level on cost and performance data for renewables and its availability. To this end, all Alliance members agree to share, confidentially, with IRENA real world project cost and performance data for renewables they have access to.

Members of the Alliance share IRENA’s objective of promoting the widespread and increased adoption, and the sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy. Alliance members recognise that the lack of accurate, transparent and reliable data on the cost and performance of renewable technologies from reliable sources is a significant barrier to their accelerated uptake.

The IRENA Renewables Costing Alliance is a technical working group and members must be in a position to share real world project data. As such, the Alliance has three tiers of membership, Member countries, Alliance members and Observers.

  • Member Countries: Member countries of IRENA, including those in the process of becoming a Member, can join by nominating a utility, research institution or other organisation that is mandated and capable of providing real world project data to join as an Alliance member.
  • Alliance Members: Comprises utilities, project developers, research institutions, private companies, etc. who have access to real world renewable project cost and performance data and agree to regularly provide this to IRENA to populate IRENA’s Renewable Cost Database.
  • Observers: Any organisation or individual interested in the Alliance and its goals.
The Alliance is based on mutual benefit, no costs are involved in joining. The key benefits for Costing Aliance members are: a close association with IRENA and the opportunity to promote engagement with IRENA through the Costing Alliance brand; a quarterly newsletter updating past, current and future plans for cost analysis at IRENA and related topics; an annual workshop; access to IRENA analysts; and the ability to query the IRENA Renewable Cost Database online in detail for your organisations internal use and external communications.
Other Resources

The IRENA Business Forum hosted three webinars on 28-30 May 2013 to engage the private sector and inform companies about the work of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) on costing and how to contribute to such activities. The webinars, timed for three different regions (Asia and Oceania, Americas and Caribbean, and Europe, Middle East and Africa), included the following components: Insights and the Agency’s Perspective (Frank Wouters, IRENA); High-level Trends (Dolf Gielen, IRENA); Approach of Industry Partners (Regional Partners); In-depth Look into IRENA’s Costing Analysis – Past, Present and Future (Michael Taylor, IRENA).

Further information on the webinar is available here.

IRENA’s most recent costing publication, Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2014, analyzed the costs and performance of renewable power generation technologies and found an increased competitiveness of renewable power generation technologies in the last years.

Previous costing analyses looked at the cost and performance of renewable technologies and fuels for transportation. Released in July 2013 Road Transport: The Cost of Renewable Solutions found an increasingly positive outlook for the use of renewable energy in road transport by 2020 and beyond. Costing publications cover power generation technologies and in the future, stationary applications.

IRENA Costing publications:


More info on the IRENA Renewable Costing Alliance
Why is there a need for a Costing Alliance?

The IRENA Renewable Cost Database, despite having over 9000 entries, contains only a small proportion of global renewable power generation projects. Moreover, more and better quality data is needed to analyse emerging policy issues and cost reduction opportunities.

What are the requirements when joining the Costing Alliance?

Members will provide regular updates with data for individual projects. This data will be maintained by IRENA in strictest confidence, and summary data will only be published if it meets standard statistical rules to ensure that individual projects cannot be identified. If your organization does not have project data, it is possible to join as an Observer.

What are the benefits of joining the Costing Alliance?

Members will be able to make detailed queries of the IRENA Renewable Cost Database (which will grow over time from the 8,000 projects today), will receive a quarterly newsletter including special analysis for Alliance Members, be invited to an annual workshop and to review IRENA analysis, publications, and work plans; receive advance (embargoed) copies of IRENA cost analysis reports prior to their release; and be able to promote their engagement with IRENA in their communications and outreach. 

Can’t I just view the data without joining the Costing Alliance?

No. The general public will have limited access to the database, while members of the Costing Alliance will be able to make detailed queries to gain invaluable insights into the cost and performance of renewable's around the world

Advanced biofuels to be competitive with fossil fuels by 2020.       Solar PV module prices of around USD 0.75/Watt makes PV the economic solution for 1.3 billion people.       Electric vehicle battery packs to fall 40% to 55% by 2020 to cost USD 300-400/kWh in 2020.       Some of today's first-of-a-kind commercial plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles are economic today.       Road transport accounted for 76% of total transport demand in 2010.       Biodiesel consumption grew 42% per year between 2000-2010.       Feedstock costs account for 60-80% of total conventional ethanol production costs.       The levelised cost of electricity of wind, solar PV, CSP and biomass is declining.       Electricity from hydropower, geothermal and biomass where good resources remain are the cheapest way to generate electricity.       Renewables are increasingly the most economic solution for new grid connected capacity.       Wind turbine prices have been declining since 2009.       Renewables are becoming the economic choice for off-grid and mini-grids.       Wind turbine prices in China in 2012 were USD 620/kW.       The installed cost of wind is typically lower than coal-fired power plants in OECD countries.