solar A source of electricity

How solar can become the world’s largest source of electricity

By David Roberts](
[FONT=Calibri] [/FONT]
[FONT=Calibri] [/FONT]
How solar can become the world’s largest source of electricity
[FONT=Calibri] [/FONT]
[FONT=Calibri]× [/FONT]
Back in May, the (typically stodgy and conservative) International Energy Agency released its annual Energy Technology Perspectives]( report. It was focused on electricity.
It began by noting that the carbon intensity of the global energy system has not declined substantially in the last 40 years or so. Despite all the hue and cry about climate and sustainability, our trajectory — more and more carbon, climate doom impending — refuses to budge.
It then noted that the world’s energy system is becoming increasingly electrified. Electricity’s share of total global energy use has climbed from 9 percent in the ’70s to 17 percent today; depending on how things play out, that’s expected to rise to around 25 percent by 2050. (I would bet substantial money that even that is an underestimate.)
That could be a good or a bad thing. If the carbon intensity of global electricity remains the same, it would massively drive up emissions, because, well, coal. On the bright side, though, electricity is much easier to decarbonize than liquid fuels, so electrification presents a big opportunity to take a chunk out of global emissions. Specifically, to get on IEA’s “2DS” pathway — that is, to keep warming at or under 2 degrees C warming, per international agreement — the carbon intensity of global electricity would have to plunge by 90 percent.
Luckily, IEA concluded, that’s doable. It would cost a lot — global investments in electricity systems, including grids and storage, would have to roughly double — but the fuel savings alone would mean the benefits outweigh the costs. It won’t happen on its own, though. The mix of policies and technologies needed, from flexible grids to energy storage to solar, would require systems thinking, planning, and political coordination.
Anyway, that’s all background. Today, the IEA released two new solar-power roadmaps](, one for solar PV and the other for solar thermal. The interesting news therein is twofold.
One, with the right policies in place, solar could be the largest provider of global electricity by 2050. That should put to rest the notion, widespread in some quarters, that solar is a marginal technology of interest only to fruity greens.
The second interesting bit is that IEA has gotten much more bullish on PV, even since May. The agency now believes it capable of providing 16 percent of total global electricity by 2050 (in the 2DS scenario), up from less than 1 percent today. Said]( IEA’s Paolo Franki:
This figure represents a big increase on previous roadmaps because things have changed so quickly. [FONT=“inherit”]Based on its competitive advantage in distributed applications, PV is unbeatable by any generation technology, distributed or not.[/FONT]
Again, this isn’t Greenpeace. It’s the IEA. UPDATE: PV Magazine, the source of that quote, now says that Frankl did not in fact say it – one of many problems with the linked story. I hope they fired that friggin’ reporter.][FONT=“inherit”][/FONT]
Here’s how the roadmaps envision things playing out in the 2DS scenario: [FONT=Calibri]International Energy Agency]([/FONT]
(Terminology note: “STE” is solar thermal electricity, which is any technology that uses solar energy to create heat that runs a generator. “CSP” is concentrated solar power, the most common form of STE; it uses mirrors to concentrate sunlight, thus creating heat.)[FONT=“inherit”][/FONT]
As you can see, PV grows like crazy until around 2040 and then levels off; then solar thermal, mainly concentrated solar, takes over, advantaged by the flexibility provided by energy storage.
Due to geography, infrastructure, and other factors, distribution of solar tech in 2050 will be different in different regions:
[FONT=Calibri]International Energy Agency]([/FONT]
Anyway, there are lots more details in the documents themselves, including detailed policy recommendations for reducing costs and increasing grid flexibility. The main thing I want to highlight is just that solar costs are plunging so fast that even the stodgy IEA is scrambling to keep up.[FONT=“inherit”][/FONT]
At virtually every point in time over the last several decades, IEA has been behind the curve, underestimating the growth of renewables. Raise your hand if you think this is the last time it will reassess and upgrade solar’s potential contribution.
By David Roberts](
[FONT=“Open Sans”]29 Sep 2014 3:20 [/FONT]

Hi Roy,

Thanks for the info, I’m actually in talks with SolarCity about doing my place!


I have 8,000 on my roof works great .
Glad I did we have another CMI in Ontario who did it last year .
You might talk to your insurance company .
They would not give me insurance if |I did my own .
From what I have learned it does not pay to put in one that follows the sun .
Stay tuned I** expect to have more info tomorrow**.
I required a permit and a roof examination by a Engineer .
I had 45 year shingles installed before the panels where installed.
I also wanted no piping running across my roof .

Solar Power Is Booming, But Will Never Replace Coal. Here’s Why.

True maybe but history is full of examples that made fun of new technology.

The automobile
The airplane
The personal computer
Fast food

You may be reporting facts Michael but fossil fuel use is as forward thinking as the flat earth theory. It will be short lived as a little more research money flows into solar developement.

The next generation, your kids and mine will see the end of cable used for anything, all needed energy and communications will travel without wire. That and much more.

I am not making fun of it only telling you of the math problem.

Ain’t gonna happen.

Its gets dark at night ya know and there is no way to store it.

This isn’t that hard to pick apart.

Goldilocks feel good stories are just that.

Wake up.

Exactly unfortunately some have tunnel vision and refuse to look out side the bubble .

Turn up your sound .

No not exactly, Not even close.

do the math

More math issues.

That’s ONLY a 2000% increase in 16 years. Yeah right.

Oh and those magic batteries?.. Do some research. :roll:

No way to store it yet.

Give the gigafactory a few years of operation and also watch as numerous other gigafactories sprout up around the country.

IMO this will be the big game changer concerning the type of power consumption in the not to distant future.


Before the First Tesla Gigafactory Has Even Been Built, CA Wants to be Home to Tesla’s Gigafactory 2.0

Why can’t some people face reality?

The reality is I bought their stocks (CSIQ & SCTY) a couple of years ago and I have done the Math :D:D:D:D all the way to the bank!!!

The real reality is solar is not as clean as some would like to believe.

China Will Install More Solar This Year Than The U.S. Ever Has

Do the math.

And where are our flying cars?

Its simple just educate yourself. Its just not very efficient, its a feel good thing. The carbon foot print to mine the materials then make, ship, dispose of is enormous. It also takes rare earths materials to make solar panels and electric car batteries and these are found in China, unless they start mining in the ocean.

Very true.

the pie in the skyers can’t seem to add 2+2.

Our math education has certainly slipped.

If a new and cheap battery is developed it would change the math but probably not enough.

Let me know when the cost of of an installed kilowatt becomes competitive with other energy sources.

We are not even close.

Installing Chinese made solar panels more than doubles your carbon foot print. And it would take more than 30% longer to produce enough energy to cancel out the energy used to make it.

This stuff is so easy to debunk if you pay attention.