According to the annual report “Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2020” of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), photovoltaic energy is cheaper by the cost of lignite by 32% up to 270%! At the same time, replacing 800 GW of coal-fired power plants with Renewable Energy Sources will reduce annual costs by $ 32 billion and reduce annual CO2 emissions by about 3 Gigatonnes of CO2.
The decade 2010-2020 saw the production of energy from renewable sources become the most economical choice for new facilities. The trend is not only that renewables compete with fossil fuels, but ultimately they are significantly cheaper when new electricity generation capacity is required.
Between 2000 and 2020, the world’s renewable energy capacity increased 3.7 times, from 754 gigawatts (GW) to 2,799 GW, as their costs fell sharply due to steady improvements in technology, economies of scale, competitive supply experience and. The cost of electricity from large-scale photovoltaics (PV) fell by 85% between 2010 and 2020. In 2020 alone, the global weighted average weighted cost of electricity (LCOE) from new additions of photovoltaic (PV) utility scale decreased by 7%.
The LCOE includes the cost of generating one megawatt of electricity, plus the initial capital and development costs, the financing costs and the operating and maintenance costs. Between 2010 and 2020, the LCOE of large-scale photovoltaics for new projects decreased by 85%, while for onshore wind it decreased by 56% and for offshore wind by 48%.
At the end of 2020, the operating costs of existing power plants with lignite and coal combustion, for factories in Bulgaria (lignite plants only) were from 80 to 120 € / MWh and in Germany from 75 to 210 € / MWh, while the average weighted cost of electricity from photovoltaics was 57 € / MWh. That is, energy from photovoltaics is cheaper than the cost of lignite by 32% up to 270%!
IRENA analysis shows that 800 GW of existing coal-fired capacity has operating costs higher than new large-scale photovoltaic and wind farms. Replacing these coal-fired plants will reduce annual costs by $ 32 billion and reduce annual CO2 emissions by about 3 Gigatonnes of CO2. You can see the main points of the study here