India is cheapest solar energy producer; beats China, UK, US among others

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Updated: June 25, 2019 4:31 PM

Beating countries like China, which usually is the cheapest manufacturer of everything, India has also left behind the US, UK, Canada and France among others.

CPWD, solar trees in residential areas, central government employees, government solar projects, India solar panel prices, solar trees, solar projects india, govt invites solar tenders, solar energy, solar panel delhi, solar industry india, solar sector, solar projects, Renewable Energy india,(Image: Reuters)

India is now the forerunner in producing solar power at lowest cost globally and is far ahead of other nations in low average production costs, a report said. Beating countries like China, which usually is the cheapest manufacturer of everything, India has also left behind the US, UK, Canada and France among others. While the global average of installing utility-scale solar PV projects was $1210 for a kilowatt, the same was found to be as low as $793/kW in India in 2018, the report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said. India’s neighbour China also saw very competitive installation costs of $879/kW compared to the highest rate of $2,427 per kW in Canada. Among European countries, Italy saw very competitive installation costs for 2018 at $870/kW.

“India was estimated to have the lowest total installed costs for new utility-scale solar PV projects that were commissioned in 2018 at USD 793/kW, 27% lower than for projects commissioned in 2017,” IRENA said in its May 2019 released report. Also, India is the only country where the cost of setting up solar PV projects between 2010 and 2018 have dropped dramatically and at the fastest pace by 80% compared to other eight major markets including China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US. 

The highest cost of setting up solar projects were found in:

  • Canada at $2,427/kW; 
  • Russian Federation at $2,302/kW; 
  • Japan at $2,101/kW; 
  • South Africa at $1,617/kW and 
  • Australia at $1,554/kW.

Other countries with comparatively low production rates

Apart from India, China and Italy, where the setting up costs of utility-scale solar PV plants were low, France at $1,074/kW and Germany at $1,113/kW have also the lowest installation costs in G20 countries, according to the IRENA report. 

Speaking on the report, Francesco La Camera, Director General International Renewable Energy Agency, said that in the past decade, governments, industry, financing institutions, investors and project developers have worked together to drive down costs and improve performance of renewable power generation. “Solar and wind power, once seen as an expensive way to address economic, environmental and social development goals, are now a cost-competitive way to meet energy demand,” he added. 

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