Solar Power Cheaper Than Coal Foreseen By German Solar CEO

By Tina Casey –

Belectric CEO predicts solar power cheaper than coal.

Coal mine by Bert Kaufmann.

Solar Power Cheaper Than Coal

BELECTRIC specializes in utility-scale solar power plants as well as rooftop solar, and the former area is where the focus of the Deutsche Welle interview takes place.

According to Beck, large scale solar power in Germany is already “approaching the costs” of conventional power, at 10 euro cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh).

Cheaper Solar Power And The Grid

Regardless of those obstacles, overall Beck is optimistic about the potential for future innovation to drive down costs. That optimism is partly based on his own company’s track record, which goes beyond advanced thin film solar cell technology to embrace the key area of grid integration.

In that regard, BELECTRIC won this year’s InterSolar Award in the Solar Projects category, for its new utility scale solar power plant in Templin, Brandenburg.

The Templin plant also involves a couple of other cost-related factors that Beck does not mention in the interview, but which could become deciding factors when siting new power plants in densely developed regions.

Along those lines, consider that the actual construction took only four months, and weigh that against the cost and the timeline for constructing a coal powered generating plant with advance pollution controls.

Another factor that could affect future cost parity is transportation. The shortest line between a solar power plant and its fuel supply is, literally, the shortest distance between two points. Compare that to coal, which is increasingly making a laborious international trek across oceans, into congested inland shipping routes.

More Danger Signs Ahead For Fossil Fuels

The cost of financing new power plants is also going to have a significant effect on parity between solar and fossil fuels, and the warning signs have already been floated where fossil fuels are concerned.

That naturally includes utility scale energy storage, ranging from pumped hydro to a massive dry cell battery array in Texas.

Here in the US you can see that EV/peak energy storage trend hard at work in Ford’s MyEnergi Lifestyle system, which recently upped the ante by partnering with the major US home builder KB Home’s ZeroHouse 2.0.

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