LA Signs Deal For Cheap Solar Power

Los Angeles has finalized a deal to buy solar power at a record low price:

Under the 25-year deal with developer 8minute Solar Energy, the city would buy electricity from a sprawling complex of solar panels and lithium-ion batteries in the Mojave Desert of eastern Kern County, about two hours north of Los Angeles. The Eland project would meet 6% to 7% of L.A.’s annual electricity needs and would be capable of pumping clean energy into the grid for four hours each night.

The combined solar power and energy storage is priced at 3.3 cents per kilowatt-hour — a record low for this type of contract, city officials and independent experts say, and cheaper than electricity from natural gas.

That comes to $33 per megawatt-hour, which is fully competitive with the current wholesale price of electricity in Southern California:

Obviously Southern California is an especially good region for solar, and not every place can supply solar power at this rate. On the other hand, this is just the beginning: if solar is competitive today, it will be the cheapest source of power in the near future. And that’s happening not a minute too soon.

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