New Delhi, India. (Photo:

If it’s cheap utility-level solar energy you want to install, India is the place to do it, according to a recent report.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) report titled “Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2018”, shows that the average cost of installing solar photovoltaic projects was $1,210 per kilowatt (KW) hour in all countries they track, except for India where it was $793.

“India was estimated to have the lowest total installed costs for new utility-scale solar PV projects that were commissioned in 2018 at US 793/KW, 27% lower than for projects commissioned in 2017,” IRENA said.

The report said that while has been “a convergence in total installed costs towards the most competitive benchmark countries, which have historically been China and Germany,” there remains a widespread in total installed costs, with India being the most cost-effective.

China, Italy Follow as Affordable Places to Build Solar

Overall, the weighted-average total installed cost of solar projects decreased 13% from 2017 to 2018, in large part led by significant decreases in countries like India and China and, to a lesser extent, Italy.

“Both China and Italy also saw very competitive installed costs for 2018 of USD 879/KW (23% lower than in 2017( and USD 870/kW (9% lower than in 2017), respectively,” the report said.

IRENA noted that Japan had the highest solar installation costs, on average, a $2,101 per KW hour, which represented a 3% decrease over 2017.”

While not quite as high as Japan, the cost for installation in the United States and Australia average around $1,500 per KW was “relatively high”.

IRENA Executive Says Renewables Are “Backbone” of Global Energy Transformation

In his foreword statements in the report, IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera said his organization sees the price of renewables continuing to fall over the next 10 years.

“The costs for renewable energy technologies reached new lows again last year,” La Camera said. “Solar and wind power have emerged as the most affordable power source for many locations and markets, with cost reductions set to continue into the next decade.

He continued that cost declines across the board in 2018 reconfirm the status of renewable power as a highly cost-effective energy source. New solar photovoltaic (PV) and onshore wind power are on the verge of costing less than the marginal operating cost of existing coal-fired plants, La Camera said.

“Steadily improving competitiveness has made renewables the backbone of the world’s energy transformation,” he said.

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