How much does a solar power plant cost? (Solar Energy Course 2020 Part 11 of 12)

how much does a solar power plant cost how does it compare with other renewable and nonrenewable energy based power plants find out in this video this video is part of AI politics online course on solar energy i Polytech professional development courses for engineers when analyzing the cost of any utility investors look at the levelized cost of energy or the LCOE the LCOE is the ratio between the lifetime cost of the energy utility and its energy production put simply the LCOE is the price the project must earn per megawatt hour in order to break even it involves calculating the present value of the total cost of building and operating the power plan and it's expected electricity production over an assumed lifetime the term present value means the current worth of a future sum of money or a stream of cash flows given a specified rate of return let's take a closer look at how the LCOE is calculated here's what each term means is investment expenditures in the year t in dollars M is the operations and maintenance expenditures in the year t in dollars F is the fuel expenditures in the year T also in dollars and finally E is the electricity generated in the year T and megawatt hours R is a discount rate a dimensionless number ranging from zero to one in other words it is the desired minimum rate of return on the investment n is a total economic life of the power plant in years the LCOE allows the comparison of power plant projects that are based on different technologies and have different economic characteristics in this video we will learn about the LCOE of solar PV and see how it compares to other renewable and nonrenewable energy technologies this figure shows the range of LCOE for PV projects from 2010 to 2017 taking into account variations in the costs and sizes of individual projects between 2010 and 2017 the global weighted average LCOE fell 72% from 36 cents US per kilowatt hour to 10 cents US per kilowatt hour the projected reduction installation costs could result in an average 59 percent decrease in LCOE of commercial-scale PV projects between 2015 and 2025 by 2025 the global weighted average LCOE could be as low as 3 cents a kilowatt hour the majority of cost reductions will come from lower balance of system costs or BOS vo s costs refer to all costs associated with the PV system other than the solar modules themselves Bo s costs in 2025 should be 50% lower than those of 2015 how does this compare with other electricity producing technologies according to Irina is 2018 report renewable power generation costs in 2017 solar PV utility scale plant costs are comparable with other renewable sources of energy as well as fossil fuel-fired plants this figure shows the global weighted average LCOE of each technology excluding any subsidies notice that in 2017 the global average LCOE of so was well within the range of fossil fuel-fired power plants this is true for a number of regions around the world as seen in this figure which shows the regional average LCOE of each technology and excludes any subsidies in Asia Oceania North America and Europe the regional average LCOE falls within the range of fossil fuel fired power plants based on 2017 data the LCOE of solar ranges from 9.5 cents US per kilowatt hour in Asia to a high of 17 cents per kilowatt-hour in africa and eurasia in canada the average solar PV LCOE is twenty two point five cents Canadian per kilowatt hour or about 17 point two cents US per kilowatt hour other 13 technologies included in this 2017 study solar PV was the eighth least expensive less expensive renewable technologies in Canada include onshore wind hydro with reservoir and biomass notice that the average cost of geothermal tidal and offshore wind are very close to that of solar in 2018 the US Energy Information Administration published a study comparing the lco ease of various electricity producing technologies in the USA the study calculated the LCOE of each technology with and without taking into consideration any tax credits that might have been available at the time their findings are summarized in this table here are some interesting points without tax credits the LCOE of solar PV is six point three two cents US per kilowatt hour it is a six least costly type of power plant in the USA out of the 15 types studied with tax credits the LCOE of solar PV is four point nine nine cents US per kilowatt hour a savings of one point three three cents it is the fourth least costly type of power plant in the USA out of the 15 types included in this study it is interesting to note that even without tax credits five out of the ten cheapest powerplant types in the USA are based on renewable energy sources the top ten are listed above from the least costly to the most costly in addition to costs we must consider the environmental impact of each technology as stated on the National Energy Board of Canada's website different electricity sources also have different environmental costs the world is currently focused on carbon emissions and greenhouse gases often presented in tons of co2 equivalent operating hydro wind and solar generation create few or no emissions whereas other types of generation can produce substantially more they continue to say reliability is a major concern as system operators are mandated to ensure supply meets demand at all times intermittent sources of power such as wind and solar must be backed up by other sources of generation in summary we've seen that the LCOE of solar PV has fallen 72% between 2010 and 2017 in terms of its global weighted average could be as low as $30 USD per megawatt hour by 2025 and can compete with fossil fuel power plants in certain regions of the world we have also learned that additional factors should be taken into consideration when designing a new power plant they are that unlike fossil fuel based power plants solar PV technology does not emit greenhouse gases and the intermittent nature of solar power is currently limiting its deployment on a grand scale we can conclude that a future powered by solar energy is not a far-fetched idea as solar cell efficiencies improve and the B OS costs decrease the overall cost of solar power plants will decrease further now we need to address the issue of energy storage how can we store the energy produced by photovoltaic systems for an in-depth answer to this question please say our course on energy storage I hope you've enjoyed this video series in our next video we will summarize the top six things you should know about solar energy see you soon and thanks for watching

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