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Solar Power Is Now As Inexpensive As Grid Electricity In China

An anonymous reader quotes a report from IEEE Spectrum: Solar power now costs the same as, or less than, electricity from the grid in many of China’s cities, a new study finds. This research may encourage broader adoption of industrial and commercial solar power there. Advances in solar technology have helped bring solar within reach of grid parity sooner than expected in China. Whereas the cost of solar photovoltaic electricity there was up to 15.1 Chinese yuan per kilowatt-hour in 2000, it was only up to 0.79 Chinese yuan per kilowatt-hour in 2018. In addition, in 2018, the Chinese government dramatically cut subsidies to the solar photovoltaic industry to drive it to compete with coal without government aid.

To see where Chinese solar energy stood now, scientists in Sweden and China analyzed the net costs and profits associated with building and operating industrial and commercial solar energy projects in 344 prefecture-level cities in China. They found in all 344 cities, solar photovoltaic systems were capable of generating and selling electricity at lower prices than the grid without subsidies, and in 22 percent of those cities, they could also produce electricity at lower prices than coal. The scientists detailed their findings in the 12 August edition of the journal Nature Energy.


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