IEA: Solar could be largest power source by 2050

Solar PV capacity would need to increase fourfold to achieve ambitious targets

(Pic: Bigstock)

(Pic: Bigstock)

By 2050 the sun could become the world’s largest source of electricity, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

It has released two reports which it says show how solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrated solar thermal sources could provide 26% of the world’s electricity by mid-century.

This would push solar ahead of fossil fuels, hydropower, nuclear and other forms of electricity generation.

The IEA says a government-backed move to solar would negate the emission of six billion tonnes of CO2 a year by 2050, more than the USA’s annual power-related emissions.

IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven said the two pathways were realistic if leaders provided clear backing for clean energy sources.

“Where there is a record of policy incoherence, confusing signals or stop-and-go policy cycles, investors end up paying more for their investment, consumers pays more for their energy, and some projects that are needed simply will not go ahead,” she said.

India and China would be expected to radically increase investments in solar under the plans.

“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.”

Last week at a UN climate summit in New York over 120 heads of state gave their backing to efforts to ramp up financing for renewables and formulate a new emissions reduction treaty, set to be signed off in 2015.

Regional production of PV electricity envisioned in the roadmap (IEA)

Regional production of PV electricity envisioned in the roadmap (IEA)

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