Solar energy economical than existing coal-powered energy, find scientists

In the continued effort to harness renewable sources of energy, solar energy has emerged to be the most cost-effective way to produce electricity, even cheaper than coal-fired power stations, says an environmental and technology expert of Advanced Technology Institute, University of Surrey.

Taking a cue from this, increasing the amount of energy obtained from solar power should be a priority for environmental and economic reasons.

A publication from an expert in the Energy and Environmental Materials journal urges energy companies and policy makers to quickly move toward decarbonisation and to maintain the momentum accrued in COP26 last year.

The strong economic value of solar energy, which typically has a cost comparable or lower than other sources of energy, including nuclear, coal, and offshore wind is highlighted in the publication.

The estimations of International Renewable Energy Agency that sixty one percent of operations of coal capacity in the U.S. is costlier than constructing new renewable energy plants are cited in the publication. Closing the coal plants and adopting renewable energy in place would save US$ 5.6 Bn and 332 million tons of carbon dioxide each year. The number for India it is 70 percent, and for Germany it is 100 percent, for coal capacity to be more expensive to operate that constructing new renewables.

The need to balance solar energy with energy sources to ensure a consistency in the supply to meet demand both on a day-to-day and seasonal levels acknowledged in the study. Earlier the expert mapped the path for carbon neutrality for the University of Surrey.

The work of the expert involves directing people for planning energy supplies in the future to consider nuclear, wind and to consider storage solutions such as hydrogen, batteries, and pumped hydro.