Cost of Renewable Energy Dropped in 2009, But...

solar panels photo

Photo: Flickr, CC
But Financing is Harder to Come By
The good news is that the cost of renewable energy has gone down in 2009, but the bad news is that this decline was offset by higher financing costs caused by the global financial meltdown. What's harder to determine exactly is what portion of that decline in cost was due to lower demand/overcapacity, and the end of a shortage of silicon for solar panels, and which part was due to real technical progress in the manufacturing process. It's the latter that will really matter in the long term.According to Reuters:

Solar energy costs will drop by half in 2009 while other low-carbon technology costs will see their pre-subsidy costs drop by 10-20 percent, renewable energy analysts said on Monday. [...]

Wind turbines have dropped to their lowest level in several years, shedding 18-20 percent of their cost in 2009, New Energy Finance said, adding that equipment prices could be offset by higher construction costs as developers build in deeper waters.

Geothermal energy rates also eased as low oil prices caused many drilling rigs to sit idle, meaning more equipment was available.

Remember, if you want to do your part to help, you don't have to buy solar panels or a wind turbine for your house. You can simply sign up for green power with your utility, so that your money goes to finance clean energy instead of dirty power stations (though of course that depends where you live; you might already be getting clean energy by default).

Via Reuters
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