AUSTIN (KXAN) – According to the the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2020 report, solar power is now the “cheapest electricity” in history in most major countries.
The agency also believes solar will become “the new king of the world’s electricity markets” and that other energy sources will be negatively impacted by the pandemic.
Because of the pandemic, the agency expects energy demand to fall by 5% in the near future. Oil demand is expected to fall by 8%, gas by 3% and coal by 7%. Renewable energy demand is expected to increase.
According to the report, by 2025, renewables are expected to overtake coal as the primary source of producing electricity.
Why is solar the new ‘king’?
Solar energy prices have dropped by 82% since 2010, according to a 2019 report by the International Renewable Energy Agency. These price drops are a result of federal and state government subsidies for businesses and homeowners. Greater competition also drove prices down. Finally, advances in technology made solar panels cheaper to produce.
According to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, newer technology is better at “conversion efficiency.” Basically, newer panels are better at turning sunlight into energy.
These improvements have had a huge impact in Central Texas. In May 2020, Austin was ranked the best city in the nation for solar power available per person, and 14th in the nation for solar production.