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December 07, 2010

OECD report compares nuclear, gas, coal, solar and wind costs

The bottom third shows the costs in China and Korea and Asia where most of the construction of new power generation of any kind is happening.

An OECD report compares nuclear, gas, coal and wind costs.

The whole OECD energy cost report is here

The executive summary has the LCOE (levelised cost of electricity) of solar photovoltaic at $215 to 600/MWH and solar thermal $136-243/MWH.

For nuclear $43-54 /MWH for the main asian (China and South Korea) countries that are building most of the new reactors (10% discount rate) and $68/MWH for russia.

New nuclear build in South Korea and China and Russia are very cheap. That is where most of the reactors (nuclear and other new power) will be built. China will also build almost twice as much hydro from 2010-2020 (almost 200 GWe of hydro and a lot of coal.)


Cost of coal without carbon costs is in dark blue below Coal costs without carbon costs and nuclear in China are very close to being the same at about $38-45/MWh.



A country by country comparison is more relevant and even region by region. There are variances in the quality of sunlight and wind. Canada solar is even worse because of the angle of the sunlight etc...

Capacity factor has a straight up comparison of actual specific projects for solar PV and nuclear power.


For solar photovoltaic plants, the load factors reported vary from 10% to 25%. At the higher

Load factor, the levelised costs of solar-generated electricity are reaching around 215 USD/MWh and at a 5% discount rate and 333 USD/MWh at a 10% discount rate. With the lower load factors, the levelized costs of solar-generated electricity are around 600 USD/MWh. Two reported solar thermal plants have a load factor of 32% (Eurelectric) and 24% (US Department of Energy). The levelised costs range from 136 USD/MWh to 243 USD/MWh, for 5% and 10% discount rates respectively.

Wikipedia has DOE cost estimates


Levelized cost of solar electricity by SunPower corp.


SunPower's paper discusses some sample scenarios. In order for solar to get really cheap the system has to last for 40 year (which current systems do not).


Sunpower imagines TWH solar power.

272 page report on energy costs from 2009 (California Energy Commission) Renewable Energy Cost of Generation Update



As of March 2009, there are currently 293 solar modules priced below $4.75 per watt (€3.75 per watt) or 20.1% of the total survey. This compares with 250 priced below $4.75 per watt in February. The lowest retail price for a multicrystalline silicon solar module is $3.29 per watt (€2.60 per watt) from a German retailer. The lowest retail price for a monocrystalline silicon module is $3.48 per watt (€2.75 per watt), also from a German retailer. The lowest thin film module price is at $2.47 per watt (€1.95 per watt) from a Germany‐based retailer.

California energy study of grid impact of renewables


California energy study on solar energy systems that track the sun.
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