Economics of Renewable Energy

The Bright Future Clean Energy Economy track follows trends in economic development and jobs created as part of the clean energy transition.

The Economics of Solar Energy Growth—Costs are down, installations are up, and solar is now a competitive source of electricity. If history is a guide, we can look forward to solar power costing no more than fossil fuel power—without subsidies—by the end of this decade.

Here Comes the Sun—A clean electricity grid is a climate twofer: not only does a completely renewable power supply make it easier to decrease building sector and industry emissions, it also paves the road for removing carbon emissions from the transport sector as more and more vehicles shift from being powered by fossil fuels to clean electricity.

Solar Means Business—The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) October 2016 report examines large corporations’ adoption of solar, which has expanded from 300 megawatts (MW) in 2012 to over 1 gigawatt (GW) in 2016.

Shining Rewards—Environment Washington October 2016 report finds that solar offers numerous benefits for the electricity grid, including reducing the electricity that utilities must generate or purchase from fossil fuels; reducing the energy lost in transmission and distribution as well as the need for investment in new electricity and infrastructure; and increasing grid resiliency.

Key Trends Driving Change in the Electric Power Industry—The Edison Foundation Institute for Electric Innovation June 2016 collection of 12 essays by industry thought leaders that look at what is driving change in the electricity industry and the need to work innovatively and cooperatively to meet customer demand, while advancing smart storage, and understanding the critical role that smarter cities will play in this electricity revolution. At the heart of everything is the digital grid.

On the Path to SunShot—The National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy May 2016 report looks at the tenfold increase in total U.S. solar deployment and 65 percent drop in the levelized cost of energy over the past five years. U.S. PV deployment has increased at a compound annual growth rate of 54% from less than 0.1% of total U.S. electricity generation in 2010 to 0.9% at the end of 2015.