Renewables Half Of New Power Generation Globally

A series of reports from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) show renewable power generation, including wind and solar PV, is becoming increasingly competitive and now accounts for half of all new electricity generation capacity additions worldwide 
   
One of a series of analyses released by IRENA at its Council meeting in Abu Dhabi states crystalline solar panel costs have plummeted 60% in the last two years and cumulative installed capacity for solar PV grew by over 70% in 2011. IRENA says if this growth maintained or increased, further cost reductions will occur.
 
In 2011, Germany had the lowest installed PV system costs in the small-scale home solar power market, averaging $USD 3.80/Watt before subsidies for crystalline silicon solar panel based systems. In Italy, Spain, Portugal and the United States the average installed cost in 2011 before subsidies was between USD 5.7 to USD 5.8/W. 
  
While thin-film solar panel based utility-scale systems are often perceived to cost far less than facilities consisting of crystalline silicon modules, this is not always the case. Thin-film utility-scale systems had an average installed cost of around USD 3.9/W in 2010, not much less than the average cost of a residential solar power systems in Germany the following year.
  
In regard to wind power, IRENA states onshore wind has become a highly competitive, with the cost of electricity from prime sites in North America in the range of USD 0.04-0.05/kWh in 2010. The organisation says this is competitive with or cheaper than gas-fired generation and has been achieved even though in China wind turbine costs are 50-60% cheaper than in North America.
 
The study results were part of five new reports released by IRENA; all of which can be downloaded via the following links.
  
Renewable Energy Jobs & Access
  
Renewable Energy Cost Analyses:
  
Wind Power
Solar Photovoltaics
Hydropower
Concentrating Solar Power
Biomass for Power Generation 
  
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is an intergovernmental organisation dedicated to renewable energy. As of May this year, the membership of IRENA comprised of 158 States.