Climate Change

The price of solar power has fallen by over 80% since 2010. Here's why

renewable energy production, like these solar panels shown here, has significantly decreased in price since 2010

A significant drop in renewable energy prices over the last decade will boost its chances of becoming more widely adopted. Image: UNSPLASH/Manny Becerra

Martin Armstrong
Data Journalist, Statista
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Climate Change

  • Research from Our World in Data shows that the cost of renewable energy has drastically fallen since 2010.
  • This decrease in price is vital for the rapid and widespread adoption of renewable energy moving forward.

The world is still a long way from producing all of its required electricity via renewable sources, but figures covered by Our World in Data reveal that at least when it comes to cost, things are certainly moving in the right direction.

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Back in 2010, a megawatt hour of electricity gleaned from solar photovoltaic cost a global average $378 to generate. That's without the effect of any subsidies which may have been applicable in some areas. By 2019, that cost had tumbled down to just $68 - cheaper than nuclear and coal and only a little behind the most economically efficient option looked at in this chart - onshore wind. Wind energy, both onshore and offshore, has also seen decreases in costs since 2010, while the more established methods of nuclear and coal have either increased in price or seen only a slight drop.

As described by Our World in Data, this difference in price is crucial for increased and rapid adoption of renewable energy sources going forward, and the effects are already being seen: "It is the relative price that matters for the decision of which type of power plants are built. Did the price decline of renewables matter for the decisions of actual power plant builders in recent years? Yes it did. Wind and solar energy were scaled up rapidly in recent years; in 2019 renewables accounted for 72 percent of all new capacity additions worldwide".

this is a chart showing the falling cost of renewable energy
Renewable energy is now more affordable than ever. Image: Statista
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Related topics:
Climate ChangeEnergy TransitionElectricity
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