Friday, August 21, 2015

Solar Power Crosses Threshold, Gets Cheaper than Natural Gas

Having previously pledged more than $30bn in renewable investment, Buffett has since struck what might be the cheapest electricity price in the U.S. - and from a solar source. (Credit: Wikimedia/Pete Souza) Click to Enlarge.
Several large solar power plants under construction in the United States have in the past few months promised to do something that none has done before:  offer prices equal to or lesser than that of a natural gas-fired power plant, even as gas is abundant and cheap.

The latest to flirt with that threshold is a 156-megawatt Comanche Solar project in Pueblo, Colo., that broke ground yesterday and will be the largest solar-power generating station east of the Rockies.  It is being built by solar developer SunEdison Inc. on behalf of Xcel Energy Inc., one of Colorado's largest electric utilities, through a power-purchase agreement that lasts 25 years.

That photovoltaic power station follows the example of other projects across the sunny West.  Last month, NV Energy Inc., the principal utility for the state of Nevada, owned by billionaire investor Warren Buffett, signed a deal with solar developer SunPower Corp. for a 100 MW plant at a price of 4.6 cents per kilowatt-hour.  Also last month, NV Energy fixed a price with First Solar Inc. for $3.87 per kWh from a 100 MW plant that could be the cheapest electricity in the United States according to PV Magazine.

Also, in May, Austin Energy in Texas signed a 20-year, 150 MW deal with Recurrent Energy for 5 cents per kWh, Utility Dive reported.

As recently as 2014, solar power plants were cost nearly 14 cents per kWh.

Read more at Solar Power Crosses Threshold, Gets Cheaper than Natural Gas

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