Solar power in the U.K. will be cheaper than natural gas by 2018, according to new industry analysis from the Solar Trade Association (STA).
According to the industry organization's report, the cost of building a large-scale solar farm is set to go down faster than currently estimated by the government. This is thanks to a growing solar supply chain in the U.K., as well as falling global prices for solar panels and inverters. As long as the government provides stable policy support, the STA says, it will be cheaper to generate electricity from solar than by burning gas as soon as 2018.
In addition, the study shows that solar will be cheaper than the wholesale price of electricity at some point between 2025 and 2028. The cost of generating electricity from gas, on the other hand, is forecast to increase in real terms over the next 15 years and will always be more expensive than wholesale power, the STA says.
The STA also cites a recent report from the Center for Economics and Business Research that showed that the U.K. could provide enough electricity to supply 15% of its domestic electricity demand by 2030.
‘A lot of people still don't realize just how close solar is to being competitive with gas-fired power generation,’ says Paul Barwell, CEO of the STA. ‘U.K. solar is on its way to becoming subsidy-free, but it is critical we maintain stable government policy that supports grid connected utility-scale solar as opposed to fossil fuel power stations.’
The report can be downloaded here.