India is now producing the world’s cheapest solar power

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India is now producing the world’s cheapest solar power, according to an International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) survey.

The costs of building large-scale solar installations in India fell by 27% in 2018, year-on-year, thanks to a combination of low-priced panel imports from China, abundant land and cheap labour.

Average solar prices from large-scale installations in India were less than a third of Canada’s, where costs were highest of the countries surveyed.

More than half of the total costs of building a solar installation in India relate to hardware, like racking and mounting, while the remainder involves soft costs such as system design and financing, according to weforum.org.

Lower service and labour outlay have contributed to a dramatic fall in the investment needed to set up large-scale solar power-generating projects. Between 2010 and 2018, setup costs in India fell by 80%, the most precipitous decline of any country.

As prices come down, demand goes up. The expanding global solar sector now accounts for 55% of all new renewable power-generating capacity. Last year, 94 gigawatts of new capacity came online, largely added by Asian countries.

China was responsible for 44 gigawatts of all new solar capacity, almost five-times more than India, which followed directly behind. Other rapidly expanding markets include the US, Japan, Australia and Germany.

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