The UK 2050 Calculator Web Flash Excel Wiki
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IV.a Solar PV Costs

Technologies costed in this sector

Costs Methodology

Methodology used

The user defines the number of distributed Solar PV panel to build. Once the trajectory is set by the user, the number of plants to be built are defined. Investment costs are a function of new build and operating cost are a function of the number of plants operating within that time period. We assume panels are retired after 25 years and the cost of replacement is included.

Please see 2050 Methodology for a full description of the costs approach in the Calculator.

Technical Assumptions

  • Lifetime = 25yrs
  • Load factor = 10%
  • Input Fuel = Solar

General Comments

Mike Knowles MIMechE (Knowlesmichael2) - Lowest costs £/kW from EY/Arup/MML 2010 range from 3640 down to 2030 1091–3016 & 2050 383–10231. These lowest costs appear very optimistic for the UK. Costs such as inverters, wiring, controls and installation including structural reports must be >£1000/kW. Lowest reported capital cost from Germany at present appears to be £2500/kW Agree 10% capacity factor for UK as number of hours sunshine in UK is around 1700 compared to sunnier southern European countries reportedly 2700 hours. At present it seems unlikely that UK can achieve

Reply from James Wimberley, retired and blogger ( Your figure of £2500/kw for Germany is wildly out. Two current indices of net prices for complete residential/small commercial installations under 100kw give figures half this. Solar trade association BSW (, based on returns from members, gives €1,698/kw for Q2 2013; online magazine (, based on a survey returned by about 300 installers, gives € 1.450/kw in October 2013 (their summer monthly figures blipped higher, so the index is not incompatible with BSW's). This corresponds to £1,200-£1,400 per kw. I can't find an index for utility. But one installer, AEA Solar, targeting farms (barn roofs), claims "just over €1,000" per kw, about £850/kw ( This is not an industry in which figures published on dead trees three years ago, based on data from a year or two earlier, are any useful guide to the present.