Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Sun could be world's largest source of electricity by 2050, International Energy Agency says

Solar photovoltaic panels.
"The sun could be the world’s largest source of electricity by 2050, ahead of fossil fuels, wind, hydro and nuclear," says a report released on Monday by the International Energy Agency. "Solar photovoltaic systems could generate up to 16 percent of the world’s electricity by 2050 while solar thermal electricity from concentrating solar power plants could provide an additional 11 percent. Combined, these solar technologies could prevent the emission of more than 6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide per year by 2050—that is more than all current energy-related CO2 emissions from the United States."

Solar photovoltaic panels "constitute the fastest growing renewable energy technology in the world since 2000 although solar is still less than 1 percent of energy capacity worldwide," Sarah McFarlane reports for Reuters. Solar photovoltaic panels capture the sun's energy using photovoltaic cells and convert the sunlight into electricity, says Energy Saving Trust. "These cells don't need direct sunlight to work—they can still generate some electricity on a cloudy day."

IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said in the report, “The rapid cost decrease of photovoltaic modules and systems in the last few years has opened new perspectives for using solar energy as a major source of electricity in the coming years and decades. However, both technologies are very capital intensive: almost all expenditures are made upfront. Lowering the cost of capital is thus of primary importance for achieving the vision in these roadmaps.” (Read more)

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