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Power sector
Solar PV in Africa: Costs and Markets
Monday, October 24, 2016
Installed costs for power generated by utility-scale solar PV projects in Africa have decreased as much as 61 per cent since 2012 to as low as USD 1.30 per watt in Africa, compared to the global average of USD 1.80 per watt. Mini-grids utilising solar PV and off-grid solar home systems also provide higher quality energy services at the same or lower costs than the alternatives. Stand-alone solar PV mini-grids have installed costs in Africa as low as USD 1.90 per watt for systems larger than 200 kilowatt. Solar home systems provide the annual electricity needs of off-grid households for as little as USD 56 per year, less than the average price for poor quality energy services.
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The Power to Change: Solar and Wind Cost reduction Potential to 2025
Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Solar and wind power technologies have significant potential for cost reduction. With the right regulatory and policy frameworks, solar and wind technologies can still unlock significant additional cost reductions out to 2025 and beyond. By 2025 the global weighted average levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) of solar photovoltaics (PV) could fall by as much as 59%, the LCOE of concentrating solar power (CSP) could fall by up to 43%. Onshore and offshore wind could see declines of 26% and 35%, respectively.
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Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2014
Sunday, January 18, 2015
The competitiveness of renewable power generation technologies continued improving in 2013 and 2014, reaching historic levels. Biomass for power, hydropower, geothermal, onshore wind and solar photovoltaic can all provide electricity competitively against fossil fuel-fired power generation. Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2014 aims to reduce uncertainty about the true costs of renewable power generation technologies, so that governments can be more ambitious and efficient in their policy support for renewables.
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Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2012: An Overview
Dramatic falls in cost are making renewable energy competitive with fossil fuels across the world, and the least-cost option in a growing number of markets. For example, solar energy has already become cheaper than diesel generation, with clear benefits for communities in areas far away from the electricity grid. The public debate around renewable energy, however, continues to suffer from an outdated perception that renewable energy is not competitive, forming a significant and unnecessary barrier to its deployment. This report sets the record straight with authorative analysis of over 8,000 real world renewable projects.
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Renewable Power Generation Costs – Summary for Policy Makers
Renewable energy will play a key role in the transition to a truly sustainable energy sector, with access to sustainable energy for all. Today’s renewable power generation technologies are increasingly cost-competitive and are now the most economic option for off-grid electrification in most areas, and in locations with good resources, the best option for centralised grid supply and extension. This summary helps identify the key messages for policy makers from IRENA's analysis of renewable power generation costs and performance conducted in 2012 in one easy to digest source.
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Biomass for power generation
Biomass-fired electricity generation plays a critical role in almost all sustainable energy scenarios, but what are their true costs and performance? The reality is that biomass-fired electricity generation can provide low-cost electricity where agricultural and forestry wastes and residues are available with mature low-cost technologies. However, there are also a number of exciting technologies that require further RD&D, but could become economic in the near future. This report summarises their costs and performance.
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Concentrating Solar Power
Concentrating solar power (CSP) is in the infancy of its deployment, with just 3 GW installed. Although costs are relatively high today, there are significant cost reduction opportunities. In addition, the ability to incorporate low-cost thermal energy storage to allow dispatch when the sun isn't shining will mean CSP's importance will only grow over time. This paper is part of a series on the cost and performance of renewable energy technologies produced by IRENA and provides a comprehensive overview of CSP technologies, their costs and performance.
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Hydropower
Hydropower produced at good sites, offers the lowest cost electricity of any source, with costs as low as USD 0.02/kWh. When storage is available, hydropower offers unrivalled flexibility to the electricity grid and can provide a wide range of grid services. This paper is part of a series on the cost and performance of renewable energy technologies produced by IRENA and focuses on the costs and performance of hydropower projects around the world.
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Solar Photovoltaics
Solar PV is a mature, proven technology that is experiencing dramatic cost reductions. Crystalline silicon solar PV modules dropped in price by 65% over two years. Installed costs for utility-scale solar PV projects are now typically lower than coal-fired plant. They are now the economic solution for 1.3 billion people without access to electricity. This paper examines the recent trends in technology performance and costs of the different solar PV technologies and highlights the huge potential of solar PV to transform our energy sector.
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Wind power
Wind power is experiencing an unheralded revolution, as declining wind turbine prices since 2009 combine with technology improvements that increase the yield of wind turbines at a given site to reduce the cost of electricity. In China and India wind farms have installed costs of just USD 1250/kW, while excellent wind resources in the United States mean wind can be produced for as little as USD 0.05/kWh. This paper discusses in-depth these trends and gives a comprehensive view of the costs and performance of wind power.
Executive Summary | Full Report

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.