Fraunhofer ISE, an Applied Science Research Institute in Germany, has recently pointed out that among all of the energy sources in Germany, solar energy is the most cost-effective. The levelized cost of PV power per kWh in the country is currently at 0.0371 ~ 0.1154 Euro. The lowest cost is equivalent to NT $1.33.
The levelized cost of energy per kWh is calculated in the following way: First, the total cost of a power plant during its life span, including the plant’s initial investment, maintenance fee, fuel price and carbon price, is added. Then, the sum of these costs is divided by the total power generated during the plant's life span. The advantage of using this method is that it allows the cost of different technologies and different scales of power plant to be compared.
Christoph Kost, the project leader at Fraunhofer ISE, points out that renewable energy production costs have been dropping. According to Kost, pricing is no longer the main hurdle of building carbon-free power plants. In particular, the electricity price of solar power in Southern Germany, where there is plenty of sunshine, and price of wind power generated electricity in strong wind areas have been lower than electricity prices of coal-fired power plants. The green power trend is expected to grow even further in 2035.
Fraunhofer ISE's research points out that on the whole, solar energy is the most cost-effective type of energy among all power categories in Germany. According to power plant category and PV's global radiation analysis, the levelized cost of Germany’s PV energy per kWh is currently at 0.0371~ 0.1154 Euro per kWh. As for the device cost of Germany’s PV energy, it is now at 600 ~1,400 Euro per kWh.
In Germany, the second-best levelized cost of onshore wind power generation is 0.0399 ~ 0.0823 Euro per kWh. That of offshore wind power generation is 0.0749 ~0.1379 Euro per kWh.
Scientists predict that offshore wind power price will drop more in the future. Thus, the current price will not be the lowest in the future. In 2035, the levelized cost of wind power per kWh will rival that of solar energy today, by reaching 0.0349 ~ 0.1007 Euro per kWh.
Currently, the levelized cost of pure natural gas power per kWh from power plant in Germany remains high, between 0.1103 ~ 0.2194 Euro per kWh. For that of lignite-fired, it is 0.0459 ~ 0.079 Euro per kWh. Regarding large-sized coal-fired power plant, it is 0.0627~0.0986 Euro per kWh. With respect to hybrid gas and steam power plants, it is 0.0778~0.0996 Euro per kWh.
The report from Fraunhofer ISE predicts that solar energy and wind power will eventually witness a further decrease in their cost. From 2030, the cost of rooftop solar power is estimated to go below 0.047 Euro per kWh. That of large-sized power plant will be less than 0.0241 Euro. By 2035, installation cost will drop to 350 ~ 815 Euros per kWh.
In the future, solar power system's life span will become longer. For now, many solar panel warranties surpass more than 25 years. If their life span can extend from 25 years to 30 years, then the levelized cost of PV power per kWh will move down 8.5%.
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