The purpose of this post is to track the top ten lowest priced solar power plants globally. Here they are, as of August 31, 2020:

  1. 1.316¢/kWh – Portugal, % of 10 MW, announced August 2020
  2. 1.35¢/kWh – Abu Dhabi, 1.5 GW, announced April 2020
  3. 1.50¢/kWh – New Mexico, USA, 100 MW, announced May 2020
  4. 1.57¢/kWh – Qatar, 800 MW, announced January 2020
  5. 1.61¢/kWh – Saudi Arabia, 300 MW, announced April 2020
  6. 1.65¢/kWh – Portugal, 150 MW, announced July 2019
  7. 1.69¢/kWh – Dubai, 900 MW, announced December 2019
  8. 1.75¢/kWh – Brazil, 211 MW, announced July 2019
  9. 1.97¢/kWh – Mexico, 62 MW, announced November 2017
  10. 1.99¢/kWh – Los Angeles, 700 MW, announced June 2019

Special mentions:

The whole world has seen solar power pricing come down precipitously. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and International Renewable Energy Agency published these wonderful images to help visualize bids and deals signed in the USA and globally. And while both are behind the above list by a bit, it gives a clear projection about how things have moved over time.

 

Each of the bids has something unique driving their super low pricing. The Middle Eastern states have some of the world’s best sunshine, and uniquely close relationships – they’re the same party essentially – between the power companies and the hosting nation, but no ‘official’ incentives. The United States offers a tax credit and strong financial depreciation benefits. The projects in Brazil and Portugal only sell some of their electricity into the power purchase agreement, while the rest is being sold into the open market.

All of these price are remarkable, but India is still the cheapest place to build solar power. India offers no incentives, no green credit, and no special relationships, just pure price.

solar installation costs by country

The low build price would generally be assumed to lead to the cheapest pure electricity costs, but there’s an obvious disconnect. Other variables at play include land costs, sunlight resources, interconnection and power grid costs, price of competitive electricity, government incentives, cost of money, etc. But when it comes to throwing down modules, racking, and inverters–India leads.

—and this later written article about the record price as 9/18/2020 shows how lowest price isn’t the same as lowest price

Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s Jenny Chase suggests that the true lowest record price was the Portugal project:

About John Fitzgerald Weaver

John Fitzgerald Weaver is a solar developer; known digitally as the 'Commercial Solar Guy.' As a project developer and installer, he’s sold and managed 50+ solar projects, valued over $25 million, ranging in size from 5kW to 1500kW. He’s been involved in many aspects of the solar supply chain –- as a company founder, developer, project manager, manufacturer, permit runner, salesman, contractor and financier. In his free time he tries to get away and clear his mind by climbing mountains, or more regularly by enjoying an IPA or scotch, and really loves the strange connection between politics, energy, finance, and environment in the energy world.