Solar for Coal Swaps

Although 179 gigawatts of United States coal plants were more expensive to operate than new solar in 2018, annual retirement rates are closer to 10 GW. With emissions reductions and  millions in consumer savings at stake, policymakers and utility executives must focus on how to finance the transition away from uneconomic assets while creating earning potential for utility shareholders.

This issue brief explores “solar for coal swaps” – an innovative financial approach to refinancing the 22.5 GW of existing coal plants that will be uneconomic compared to building new local solar in 2025, as of 2018. The featured examples suggest the basic economics for switching from fossil to solar are already in place, and financial innovators stand ready to accelerate this transition.