By 2050, almost a quarter of the world’s electricity can come from solar power, according to the International Energy Agency.
Solar power currently accounts for 0.5 percent of global supply, Reuters said. The IEA says that number needs to grow in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels.
“Without decisive action, energy-related emissions of CO2 will more than double by 2050 and increased oil demand will heighten concerns over the security of supplies,” an IEA report said.
The IEA said the cost of roof-mounted photovoltaic panels will not reach the level of conventional power until 2030. Concentrated solar power can achieve grid parity at times of peak demand by 2020, but only in sunny places, Reuters reported.
Nobuo Tanaka, executive director of IEA, said governments — on top of establishing long-term targets and policies to encourage investments and use of solar tech — will need to gradually do away with subsidies.
“Without decline you cannot give an incentive for the industry to innovate. Just providing subsidies doesn’t make sense.”
The IEA has released two “roadmaps” for PVs and CSPs. The agency said the two technologies can generate 9,000 terawatt hours of energy within four decades, the LA Times’ Greenspace blog said.
Right now only four countries — Germany, Spain, Japan and the U.S. — are able to produce more than 1 gigawatt from installed PVs, Greenspace said.
Meanwhile, this week the U.S. Department of Energy announced that it has awarded thirteen projects up to $62 million in investment over five years to research, develop and test CSP technology.
Today, Chevron is breaking ground at its CSP project in Questa, New Mexico. The one megawatt installation is said to be one of the largest concentrating solar photovoltaic projects in the nation.
IEA’s Tanaka said ina statement that solar PV and CSP are complementary technologies rather than competing.
“The firm capacity and flexibility of CSP plants will help grid operators integrate larger amounts of variable renewable electricity such as solar PV and wind power. PV will expand under a broader range of climate conditions and bring clean renewable electricity directly to end-users.”