The sun will be the world’s leading power in 2050
The International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that solar energy is growing fast. Mainly due to the technological developments and the announced policy on CO2. As a result, the share of solar energy (renewable energy) may be greater in 2050 than any of the shares of fossil energy, wind power and nuclear energy. More than a quarter of the electricity will be Sun Power in 2050. Especially by an increasing amout of solar panels installed by consumers and industries.
Predictable energy prices
More than 10 percent of solar energy will be generated by solar power plants that convert heat into electricity, acoording to the IEA. IEA advises governments on energy issues. The strong growth is based on the continuing cost reductions for solar installations and additional advantages compared to fossil fuels, such as predictable prices and energy supply.
Key findings by IEA
- Since 2010, the world has added more solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity than in the previous four decades. Total global capacity overtook 150 gigawatts (GW) in early 2014
- The geographical pattern of deployment is rapidly changing. While a few European countries, led by Germany and Italy, initiated large-scale PV development, since 2013, the People’s Republic of China has led the global PV market, followed by Japan and the United States
- PV system prices have been divided by three in six years in most markets, while module prices have been divided by five
- This roadmap envisions PV’s share of global electricity reaching 16% by 2050, a significant increase from the 11% goal in the 2010 roadmap
- Achieving this roadmap’s vision of 4 600 GW of installed PV capacity by 2050 would avoid the emission of up to 4 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually
- This roadmap assumes that the costs of electricity from PV in different parts of the world will converge as markets develop, with an average cost reduction of 25% by 2020, 45% by 2030, and 65% by 2050, leading to a range of USD 40 to 160/MWh, assuming a cost of capital of 8%
- To achieve the vision in this roadmap, the total PV capacity installed each year needs to rise from 36 GW in 2013 to 124 GW per year on average, with a peak of 200 GW per year between 2025 and 2040
- The variability of the solar resource is a challenge. All flexibility options – including interconnections, demand-side response, flexible generation, and storage –need to be developed to meet this challenge
- Appropriate regulatory frameworks – and well-designed electricity markets, in particular – will be critical to achieve the vision in this roadmap
- Levelised cost of electricity from new-built PV systems and generation by sectors
For regions with water scarcity solar power is even more attractive because there is no (cooling) water needed to produce – in contrast to conventional power – IEA thinks.
Spectacular CO2 reduce
This Solar Power Progression is no hard prognosis. It’s based on an estimate of the technical capabilities combined with measures that countries have announced plans to reduce CO2 emissions. If more than a quarter of the electricity is generated directly by solar it reduces the emission of 6 billion tons of CO2: more than the entire emissions of the United States in 2014.
Because of the expected growth of solar projects the reduction in costs will be a quarter in 2020 and 75 percent by 2050 compared with current prices.
The IAE expects China to be trendsetter in the use of solar panels. But they don’t expect a spectacular growth of the large installations that combine sunlight to heat in order to generate electricity before 2030. The turning point will be as 5 to 15 percent of the electricity comes from solar panels. Than solar power plants will be interesting for the delivering of additional energy in the morning and afternoon. These plants fit in countries where they have plenty of sunshine and little clouds like Africa, India, the Middle East and the USA.
Pros and Cons Solar Power
- Renewable. No fuels required.
- Non-polluting. Carbon free except for production and transportation
- Inherently distributed with onsite production
- Simple, low maintenance
- Solar cooling is available when you need it most
- Hot water provide some limited storage capacity
- Operating costs are near-zero
- Quiet. Few or no moving parts.
- Mature technology
- Good ROI
- High efficiency
- Modular systems
- Can be combined with photovoltaics in highly efficient cogeneration schemes.
- Low energy density
- Does not produce electricity
- Supplemental energy source or storage (batteries) required for long sunless stretches
- Manufacturing processes can create pollution
- Generally not practical to store or sell excess heat
- Produce low grade energy (heat vs. electricity)
- Limited scalability
- Dependent on home location and orientation
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