[Journal:] International Journal of Financial Studies [ISSN:] 2227-7072 [Publisher:] MDPI [Place:] Basel [Volume:] 1 [Year:] 2013 [Issue:] 3 [Pages:] 54-61
The levelized cost of energy (LCOE) approach has become popular, especially in the field of renewable energy. We argue that when assessing levelized cost of energy, different rates should be used for borrowing and discount rates. We further argue that the risk-free rate should be used for discounting when assessing and comparing the cost of energy across different producers and technologies. Recent analyses used the same rate for borrowing and discounting, which leads to underestimation of the cost for risky borrowers and to distorted sensitivities of the cost to financial and non-financial factors. Specifically, it is shown that they may lead to gross underestimation of the importance of solar-to-electricity conversion efficiency when applied to photovoltaics. The importance of device efficiency is re-established under the treatment of the discount rate proposed here.
discount rate risk levelized cost of energy photovoltaics