Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

The cost of solar in 58 developing nations dropped to about a third of 2010 levels, BNEF reported. (Photo: Duke Energy/flickr/cc)

Sun Solution Rises as Solar Fast Becoming World's Cheapest Electricity Source

'Solar investment has gone from nothing—literally nothing—like five years ago to quite a lot'

Nadia Prupis

For the first time, solar power is becoming the cheapest form of electricity production in the world, according to new statistics from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) released Thursday.

While unsubsidized solar has occasionally done better than coal and gas in individual projects, 2016 marked the first time that the renewable energy source has out-performed fossil fuels on a large scale—and new solar projects are also turning out to be cheaper than new wind power projects, BNEF reports in its new analysis, Climatescope.

The cost of solar in 58 developing nations dropped to about a third of 2010 levels, with China in particular adding a record number of solar projects. And as the Independent notes, solar "has proved a godsend for remote islands such as Ta'u, part of America Samoa, in the South Pacific."

In fact, Ta'u has been able to abandon the use of fossil fuels altogether and power itself almost entirely on renewable energy.

"Solar investment has gone from nothing—literally nothing—like five years ago to quite a lot," said Ethan Zindler, head of BNEF's U.S. policy analysis.

(Disclosed capex for onshore wind and PV projects in 58 non-OECD countries Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance)

BNEF chairman Michael Liebreich also told investors this week that "[r]enewables are robustly entering the era of undercutting" fossil fuel prices.

Unsurprisingly, developing countries are at the forefront of this advancement, having invested in clean energy economies to stave off the catastrophic effects of climate change at a greater rate than wealthy nations.

"[F]or populations still relying on expensive kerosene generators, or who have no electricity at all, and for those living in the dangerous smog of thickly populated cities," Bloomberg reports, "the shift to renewables and increasingly to solar can't come soon enough."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Cleaner Air Is Coming' as London Expands Vehicle Pollution Fee to Entire Metro Area

"Around 4,000 Londoners die prematurely each year because of long-term exposure to air pollution, with the greatest number of deaths in outer London boroughs," noted Mayor Sadiq Khan in announcing the expansion.

Brett Wilkins ·


'Amazing News': Historic Shark Protections Approved at Global Wildlife Convention

Up to 90% of sharks targeted by the lucrative fin trade will now be protected, said one advocate.

Julia Conley ·


'The Nightmare Materializes': Far-Right Extremist Itamar Ben-Gvir to Be Israel's National Security Minister

The Foreign Affairs Ministry of the Palestinian Authority said Ben-Gvir's elevation to national security minister could have a "catastrophic impact on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

Jake Johnson ·


Raging Wars, Soaring Hunger Put Women and Girls in Crosshairs, Warns UN

"A toxic mix of crises—conflicts, climate, skyrocketing costs, and the ripple effects of the Ukraine war—are inflicting a devastating toll on the forcibly displaced. This is being felt across the world, but women and girls are particularly suffering."

Brett Wilkins ·


Greta Thunberg Joins 630+ Young People in Landmark Climate Lawsuit Against Sweden

"The Swedish state fails to meet the constitutional requirement to promote sustainable development leading to a good environment for present and future generations," said the plaintiffs.

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo