Solar and Hydro


The 25-yr Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) of a PV solar plant in the East-Kootenay (around Kimberley, Cranbrook, or Fernie) calculated over that period is $96/MWh if the capital cost is below $2/Wp.

SunMine LCOE Method

That is about the same as for the SITE C hydro dam proposed in the Northeast of BC.
BC Hydro originally stated that the LCOE of Site C over 70 years would be between  $86 and $95/MWh.   BC Hydro Site C original cost estimate

Some industry analysts believe the estimated capital cost (7.9 B$ for 1,110 MW) is overly optimistic.

ItemSite CSolarNotes
Cost per W installed7.92Site C: 8.775 B$ for 1.1 GW
Capacity hr/yr4,636 (52%)2,000Max capacity is 8,760 hr/yr. Site C = 50% . Solar : 22%
LCOE $/MWh102 (100yrs)96 (25 yr)Calculated on different periods. Site C over 70 years, Solar over 25 years. Longer the period lower the LCOE.

Solar and Hydro are complementary. Hydro can store energy, solar can supply electricity in the summer when water levels are low.

On Dec 11, 2014, the BC Government announced that the estimated cost of Site C  has increased from 7.9 B$ to 8.5 B$.
A week later, the government announced it will cost 8.8 B$ and last 100 years.  It means that the LCOE of electricity generated by the dam will increase to more than $110/MWh, making solar electricity even more competitive.

The Table below shows the LCOE of Site C according to various scenarios.

Total Cost
@ 5.5%
@ 6%
70 6.3585.3990.52
70 7.9102.06108.54
100 6.3584.9390.11

The main parameters are:

  • Capital cost: from 6.35 (no interest) to 8.775 M$
  • O&M costs: 54,000 per MW (including water rights)
  •  Power Installed: 1,100 MW
  • Anual production: 5,100 GWh
  • Inflation: 2%
  • Discount rate :5.5 ~ 6%
  • Amortization period: 70 ~ 100 years.