New Research Suggests World is at a Solar Power ‘Tipping Point’

A new study by the University of Exeter and University College London, suggests that solar photovoltaic power will become the primary source of power around the globe before 2050.

This is in part aided by rapid innovation in solar technology which allows the sector to remain in a constant state of growth, as well as falling costs.

For example, the innovations made using new materials such as perovskite, promise to increase efficiency and lower costs.

The study claims that between 2010 and 2020 costs related to solar power generation fell by 15% each year. Comparatively, it found that producing coal for energy will become more expensive, paving the way for renewables, such as solar power, to take over.

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The study looked at various forms of renewable energy, alongside fossil fuels, in terms of technological capacity and maturity, from today until the year 2060. Results suggested that solar power would make up 50% of energy by 2044 and be the dominant source of power by 2050. In comparison, the percentage for gas and oil is expected to drop to 7.8% and 2.5% respectively in the same time period.

The study also highlights that there are 4 potential problems that could affect this: lack of stable power grids, lack of finance in developing economies, supply chain capacity and political resistance.
Researchers argue that governments should focus on alleviating these issues first, in order to ensure greater success for future projects.

With many key climate targets being set for 2030, it would be beneficial for solar power to advance even more quickly than projected.

The full paper, ‘The momentum of the solar energy transition’ can be accessed here.