Renewables could be the cheapest energy option sooner than you think

By Kelly Emmerton ·

Going green has never looked better, with a recent report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) predicting that renewable energy is well on its way to being cheaper than most fossil fuels by 2020.

According to the report, the cost of renewables has been dropping steadily for years, and “in 2017, as deployment of renewable power generation technologies accelerated, there has been a relentless improvement in their competitiveness.”

The report predicted movements toward the “lowest costs yet” for both solar and wind power between now and 2020, with global average costs set to drop to between US$0.06/kWh and US$0.10/kWh for both sources.

The levelised cost of electricity from solar PV decreased by 69% between 2010 and 2016, bringing it into the same price range as traditional fossil fuel energy production. By 2020, all renewable power generation technologies are expected to fall within this cost range, with most carrying price tags at the lower end of the scale.

By this point, the report predicted, renewable energy would be “consistently cheaper” than electricity generated from most fossil fuels.

RELATED: Following in South Australian footsteps: Victorian renewable energy use on the up

The cost of Solar PV modules has also fallen by four-fifths, which means installing residential solar systems now costs as little as one third what it did in 2010.

“Falling renewable power costs signal a real paradigm shift in the competitiveness of different power generation options. This includes cheaper electricity from renewables as a whole, as well as the very low costs now being attained from the best solar PV and onshore wind projects,” the report stated.

The New Energy Outlook from Bloomberg New Energy Finance also underlined solar power’s role in Australia's future, predicting that rooftop solar will account for as much as 24% of the country’s electricity by 2040.

“The payback period for residential solar is now as low as it was in 2012, when super-generous feed-in tariffs and subsidies drove a massive boom in installations,” BNEF analyst Annabel Wilton said.

With renewable energy prices set to be even more competitive in the near future, Aussies keen to jump on the trend can start by looking into solar-friendly electricity or green energy plans available in their state.

To make it easier, why not take Mozo’s Energy Cost Cruncher for a whirl? You can put in your energy bill details and get quotes for different plans available in your area in no time. Just remember to select the options for green energy or solar panels if you have them!

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