Nov 20, 2018

Why solar is getting even cheaper

Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Solar and wind facilities are now the least expensive option for new power worldwide, except in Japan, according to the consultancy Bloomberg NEF.

The big picture: That's the top-line finding of their latest twice-yearly look at the so-called levelized cost of electricity — a metric that compares costs of building, running, supplying and maintaining different types of facilities over time.

The intrigue: The cost of new solar photovoltaic projects has dropped 13% over the past half-year — a bankshot effect of Chinese policy decisions to slow the growth of their utility-scale PV market.

  • This has "created a global wave of cheap equipment" that's pushing down costs, Bloomberg NEF said.

When it comes to onshore wind, their study shows a cost decrease of 6% since that last version of the study.

  • In many regions, building new wind farms is now more economically attractive than new natural gas plants in the U.S. despite the glut of shale gas, Bloomberg NEF said.

The bottom line: The report is a snapshot of the growing edge that renewables have in key markets around the world. 

  • The latest version of the study suggests that new solar and onshore wind are as cheap or cheaper than new coal in China, which wasn't the case in the prior edition of the twice-yearly analysis, according to Bloomberg NEF.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 883,225 — Total deaths: 44,156 — Total recoveries: 185,377Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 189,753 — Total deaths: 4,090 — Total recoveries: 7,141Map.
  3. Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index: It's "a tale of two Americas" as the rich are more likely to work from home and the poor are more likely to report to work.
  4. Federal government latest: President Trump said the next two weeks would be "very painful," with projections indicating the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans.
  5. State updates: Washington and California appear to have slowed their surges of new cases — Florida cases have been doubling the past four days, approaching 7,000.
  6. NYPD: Reported 1,400 of its employees have tested positive for COVID-19.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Private equity hits the brakes amid coronavirus recovery uncertainties

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Private equity is still working on opportunistic deals when it can get a break from portfolio triage, but it's also boarding up the exits amid new questions about the speed of the coronavirus recovery.

The state of play: Sale processes are being shelved daily, even ones that already launched with investment bankers, data rooms, and interested suitors.

U.S. coronavirus updates: America's "very painful two weeks"

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 4,000 people in the U.S. — with over 1,500 deaths reported in New York City, per Johns Hopkins.

The state of play: In a major pivot in tone, President Trump said Tuesday it's "going to be a very painful two weeks," with projections indicating the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans — even with strict social distancing guidelines in place.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 43 mins ago - Health