Tag Archives: price

Credit: Pixabay.

Price of new solar energy plummets by 26% in one single year

Credit: Pixabay.

Credits: Pixabay.

Market studies over the last year reveal major price cuts for solar energy at a global level. As far as new installations go, prices have fallen by 26 percent on average, though in some areas, they got much lower. This drop comes on top of an 80 percent price slash over the last ten years. In fact, today’s context is of such a nature that it makes economic sense to start building new utility solar today rather than continuing operating existing coal or nuclear plants.

Bloomberg reports that in China, the price for electricity sourced from solar dropped 44 percent last year, while last October saw a new record low price set in India. Such progress was made possible by ever lower prices for solar panels, but also smarter government incentives like China’s and India’s auction systems which determine how much a developer should get paid based on real-time demand. China, in fact, grew too much solar for its own good. The communist state now generates more renewable energy than its grid can accommodate — it’s the worst renewable curtailment problem in the world. But even in this situation, the transition to an auction system seems to do wonders, putting a lid on overly enthusiastic clean-energy booms that might end up doing more harm than good.

“Only those that have the most efficient technology, most precise and best practice of manufacturing, most solid financing and strongest control over the supply chain can survive,” said Qian Jing, the vice president of JinkoSolar Holding Co., the world’s biggest solar-panel maker.

Credit: Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Solar panels have become much cheaper this year. Credit: Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Since 2012, the most renewable energy capital has flowed into the Asia-Pacific region, where solar and wind capacity has effectively tripled over the last five years. What’s more, there doesn’t seem to be any signs of slowing down. China is on track for another year of record installations, according to BNEF, which estimates the nation ought to finish the year with 50 new gigawatts of solar power. That’s more than Japan’s entire photovoltaic capacity.

Thanks to the auction system, the price for solar has been pushed lower than it has ever been and things are moving at an astonishing pace. Last year, Saudi Arabia set a world record for the lowest price for kWh any renewable technology was able to achieve. Today, the same price is this year’s highest price, Think Progress reported after Saudi Arabia crushed its own record with a jaw-dropping lowest bid of 1.79 cents/kWh. Elsewhere, Mexico’s latest auction on November 29 may not have set a new world record but has impressed analysts nevertheless. Market newcomer Mitsui-Trina placed the lowest solar bid, at $19.74 per megawatt-hour, officially the lowest solar price in Latin America so far. 

“Most regulators are discovering competitive auctions are better in capturing the actual cost of building renewable energy projects,” explained Justin Wu, who oversees the Asia-Pacific region for BNEF.

The bottom line is that solar is expanding aggressively and shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. After all, there is a lot of ground to cover. 


Retails drug price varied by more than 600% among 10 high-income countries

Researchers looked at the volume and daily cost of primary care prescriptions in 10 high-income countries with universal health care. Everyone expected to see some pretty wild variation but not quite like this. For drugs in the six largest categories of primary care, pricing varied by more than 600%, and that’s not including the famous highly priced American pharmaceuticals. The United States was not included in the study because it does not offer universal health care.


Credit: Pixabay.

The countries analyzed by the researchers include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The focus was on pharmaceuticals from 6 widely used categories purchased at retail pharmacies rather than in a hospital setting like:

  • hypertension treatments;
  • pain medications (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as well as opioids);
  • cholesterol-lowering drugs;
  • noninsulin diabetes treatments;
  • gastrointestinal medications and
  • antidepressants.

The Canadian researchers measured the frequency of use and calculated how much the therapy costs in each country.

Across countries, the average annual per capita expenditure on the primary care medicines studied varied by more than 600%: from $23 in New Zealand to $171 in Switzerland.

In the 5 countries with universal, single-payer coverage of prescription medications, the average per-person cost was $77. Average costs were $99 in the 4 countries with universal social insurance for prescription drugs. In Canada, whose system is a mix of private and public financing, the annual cost was $158.

“The volume of therapy purchased in Canada was about the same as that in the comparator countries; however, Canadians spent an estimated $2.3 billion more than they would have in 2015 if these primary care treatments had had the same average cost per day in Canada as in the 9 comparator countries combined,” writes Dr. Steven Morgan, School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, with coauthors.

The findings suggest that citizens living in countries with single-payer financial systems get the best deals as the system seems to promote lower prices. Universal pharmacare could thus help reduce prices for consumers in both Canada and the United States.

“Average expenditures are lower among single-payer financing systems, which appear to promote lower prices and selection of lower-cost treatment options within therapeutic categories,” the study authors conclude in the journal CMAJ.