The Future Of Solar Energy by MIT

Energy storage and transport are the greatest challenges

Energy storage and transport are the greatest challenges

A few weeks ago, MIT published an interesting report about the future of solar energy. An important conclusion of the report is that solar energy in its various forms, is essential for our future.

Another important conclusion is that solar energy on a large scale, will develop best if governments ensure that there is a price attached to CO2 emissions.

If you want a clear overview of solar energy, you will find a lot of information in the report. Both photo-voltaic (PV), as concentrated solar power (CSP) are clearly explained.

PV, Solar Power, CSP, renewables, climate change, coal, MIT

This figure shows the relationship between average
insolation and GDP per capita for nations across the world for the year 2011.29, 30 Each dot represents
one nation.

Potential of Solar

The picture below illustrates the potential of solar energy:

The surface which is necessary to comply with solar PV to the entire demand for electricity in the US as anticipated for 2050 for example, is slightly less than the surface area of ​​coal mines.

Other aspects, such as materials used, the report explores in a realistic way what is needed.

USA versus Europe

The report uses an interesting economic approach to the issues surrounding the integration of large-scale solar power into existing electricity networks and markets.

The report is focused on the USA-situation for example, subsidy schemes that are different than in Europe, but that does provide valuable reference material. There are also international comparisons, especially with the situation in Germany.

Subsidies for PV

Subsidy for PV systems for individuals are higher than for large-scale industrial installations. Suppliers to individuals determine the market price where the subsidy is based on. Therefore, they keep prices relatively high, higher than it would be in competition.

For example, the costs of the so-called Balance Of System (all cost of a PV system other than the panels, support materials to permits) in the US compared to Germany.

It is interesting to see how in the United States, solar energy can be efficiently promoted. But also in the USA, a lot can be streamlined between federal and local regulations.

You will find the report here


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