I would like to suggest that investors in major US PV projects are well aware of the need to be competitive with all other sources of electricity and this is supported by the following article :
The 33% increase in Q1 2018 generation is more than the 25% year-over-year increase in capacity, suggesting that solar projects are generating more electricity per watt of installed capacity.
On another note the cost per kWh quoted above is very different from the record low PPAs announced last month, see:
The lifeblood of Arizona is water. Without it, the Grand Canyon State is just another desert and Phoenix is a dust bowl. Arizona gets its water from the Colorado River. That water is pumped and distributed by the Central Arizona Project, which is the largest user of electricity in the state.
Navajo Generating Station coal fired plnatOn June 7, the directors of the Project signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with AZ Solar 1, a 30 megawatt (MW) solar power plant. The deal calls for the delivery of 83,500 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity at a the lowest price yet recorded in the US — 2.49 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). This would denote an AC capacity factor of 32%, and a DC capacity factor ranging of anywhere from 19-27% with DC:AC ratios of 1.7 and 1.2, respectively according to Green Tech Media.
2.49 cents per kWh is the lowest price for solar power in the US to date. PTM reports there is a deal pending in Austin, Texas at 2.1 cents per kWh, but details of that contract have not yet been made public.
Records don’t last long in the cleantech business.
Just days ago, we were reporting that the Central Arizona Project (CAP) had secured the lowest confirmed solar price in the U.S., when it approved a 20-year power-purchase agreement at $24.99 per megawatt-hour. That’s setting aside an Austin Energy PPA from December that could be lower, but has more ambiguous terms.
That Arizona record is already under threat from projects that utility NV Energy selected as part of its integrated resource planning. The portfolio of 1,001 megawatts of solar capacity and 100 megawatts/400 megawatt-hours of energy storage still needs approval from Nevada’s utility regulators.
If that happens, the lowest confirmed U.S. solar price would be Sempra Renewables’ Copper Mountain Solar 5 project at $21.55 per megawatt-hour. That 250-megawatt project, though, has a 2.5 percent annual escalation as part of its 25-year contract, so the low upfront price wouldn’t last.
Instead, we can turn to 8minutenergy’s 300-megawatt Eagle Shadow Mountain Solar Farm, which clocks in at a flat rate of $23.76 per megawatt-hour throughout its 25-year PPA term.
That comfortably beats the CAP project on pricing, while delivering 10 times the capacity. It also marks a substantial improvement on the $29.50 per megawatt-hour median pricing for standalone solar PV in Xcel’s famous solicitation six months ago.
Is there a reasonable explanation for this fairly wide discrepancy?