Installers from Baker Electric place solar panels on the roof of a residential home in Scripps Ranch, San Diego, California, U.S. Oct. 14, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
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Solar power is becoming so cheap so fast that in Abu Dhabi it's now less costly to produce a unit of energy from the sun than from oil, leading energy experts said this week.Difficult and sometimes unexpected problems still stand in the way, including pension funds heavily invested in fossil fuels, upfront costs for clean power, political flip-flops in key nations and the lobbying prowess of old energy companies.In Europe, the 16 largest power companies had net negative income for the first time last year, as old fossil fuel plants lost ground to renewables, said Tomas Kaberger, executive chair of Japan's Renewable Energy Institute and a professor of industrial energy policy in Sweden.Another problem hampering renewable energy expansion is the high initial cost of solar and other renewable energy sources.That makes the cost of borrowing crucial to whether clean power takes off in a country, Graichen said. Increased efficiency is one reason demand for new energy in many places is now small, even as GDP grows more quickly, Varro said, which is helping the transition to clean power.
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