We know that solar is clean and coal is destructive when mined, polluting when burned for energy, and dirty when the waste materials are stored improperly. But is solar even cheaper than coal today? The short answer is YES.
The long answer is also yes yes yes yes.
Here is some data to back up our claim.
We will use Lazard's latest research from Nov 2017. It's their 11th version of the report.
The report's first statement reads:
Lazard’s latest annual Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis (LCOE 11.0) shows a continued decline in the cost of generating electricity from alternative energy technologies, especially utility-scale solar and wind.
Note this point:
As LCOE values for alternative energy technologies continue to decline, in some scenarios the full-lifecycle costs of building and operating renewables-based projects have dropped below the operating costs alone of conventional generation technologies such as coal or nuclear. This is expected to lead to ongoing and significant deployment of alternative energy capacity.
Below the operating costs of these conventional sources
Just want to highlight one more time what this means "[..] in some scenarios the full-lifecycle costs of building and operating renewables[..] have dropped below the operating costs alone of conventional [..] coal or nuclear"
This is extraordinary!
Keep in mind that we as a solar company installing solar systems in Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC can install residential solar systems around 10$/Mwh and C&I (Commercial and Industrial) even cheaper, which puts us in direct competition with most of the conventional energy sources.
No wonder energy customers are going solar in larger numbers today, and companies and utilities are surging ahead with solar investments. There's no better time to reap rewards with proven, affordable solar technology you can own.