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Lower Solar Panel Costs Boost Installs In Texas, Nationwide

14 Dec 2017

Posted in Commercial, Industry News, Residential by Alba Energy

The latest Electric Power Monthly by the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) shows how popular solar is becoming in the field of new power generation.

Electricity generated in America by photovoltaic (PV) solar systems jumped 47% in the first nine months of 2017 (Jan.-Sept.) compared to that same period one year ago.

California, Arizona, North Carolina, Nevada, New Jersey, Texas, Massachusetts, Georgia, Utah and Colorado were the top ten states for new solar power generation, with 165% solar output growth seen in Texas.

Higher Solar Output Across All Segments

Utility-scale solar output increased by 58% from 2016 to 2017. Many power companies that would traditionally build coal or natural gas power plants are instead installing fields of solar panels to supply their new electricity needs.

CPS Energy and Austin Energy are currently producing energy from large scale solar power plants, while Guadalupe Valley Electric and Pedernales Electric Cooperative both announced new solar farm projects in December.

Related Reading: These are the biggest solar farms in Texas

EIA’s latest report found the residential solar sector expanded 32% year-over-year, while the commercial solar segment grew 23%.

Lower Solar Costs Drives More Installs, Power Output

Additional EIA data shows how the annual average price of solar modules (solar panels) dropped from $3.50 per peak watt in 2008 to less than $1.00 per peak watt in 2013. Since then, the average price based on all solar PV module technologies has remained below $1.00 per peak watt.

The average monthly price of solar PV modules decreased from 79¢ per peak watt in January 2017 to 52¢ per peak watt in June.

Lower solar panel costs contribute to a lower total cost and quicker return on investment (ROI) for solar power plants. Electric utilities often base their new construction decisions on avoided-costs, or the marginal cost to produce one more unit of power.

In many states across America, and around the globe, solar power has become the cheapest source of new energy, giving electric utility companies and governments a huge reason to ditch coal and gas for a cleaner, renewable source (sunshine).

For more information, read the EIA Electric Power Monthly Report.

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