Wind, solar costs plummeting, Energy Department reports

Wind turbines stand at the Woodlawn Wind Farm, operated by Infigen Energy, in Bungendore, New South Wales, Australia, on Friday, July 31, 2015. Wind supplied 4 percent of the nationÕs electricity -- equivalent to 1.3 million homes -- at the end of 2013 with new investment almost doubling last year to A$1.5 billion, according to the Clean Energy Council. Photographer: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg
Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg

A new report from the Department of Energy catalogs just how much renewable energy prices have fallen in recent years.

Since 2008 – probably not coincidentally the year President Obama was elected to the White House – government analysts put the cost declines as such:

  • Onshore wind turbines are down 41 percent
  • Rooftop solar is down 54 percent
  • Utility-scale solar farms are down 65 percent

With falling prices has come growth that would have been unthinkable a decade ago.

Last year solar panels and wind turbines accounted for more than two-thirds of the power generation installed on the U.S. grid, with wind accounting for more than 40 percent of the total, the Department of Energy reported Wednesday.

“We need to continue pushing the innovation agenda that leads to these kinds of dramatic cost reductions for all low-carbon technologies and increase America’s competitiveness and independence in the global clean energy economy,” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a statement Wednesday.