Global Solar Energy Could Hit 980 GW in Under 10 Years


Photo: Jeda Villa Bali via Flickr/CC BY

That's the finding of a newly released report, put together by a trade group of over 20 associations around the world, that tracks the development of solar power around the world. According to the findings, by 2020, the world could easily enjoy 1,000 Gigawatts of solar power -- if the proper incentives and support is given by world governments. You might also be surprised for the sunny future projected for US solar: According to the report, in just 9 years, we could have 139 GW of solar coursing through the nation's electrical grid. That would be a huge bump -- up to nearly 5% of our total energy mix.

Here's Bloomberg Businessweek with more:

Global solar energy capacity may reach 980 gigawatts by 2020 as governments worldwide seek to reduce fossil fuel consumption and cut emissions of greenhouse gases, a group of renewable energy associations said.

Development of photovoltaic and solar thermal power projects will cut emissions of carbon dioxide by about 570 million tons over the decade, the equivalent of shutting down 100 coal-fueled power plants or taking 110 million cars off the road, according to a report released in Cancun, Mexico, today by the Washington-based Solar Energy Industries Association.

To hit those goals, however, solar firms are going to need some serious funding; backing from investors and support from governments. We could start, of course, by stripping the subsidies from fossil fuels -- worldwide, fossil fuels receive 12 times the subsidies that clean energy does. Removing the government backing for, say, oil exploration, and allocating it to job-creating clean energy projects would do wonders.

And the boon would be more than just cleaner power: According to the report, ramping up solar deployment to hit those targets would create over 630,000 jobs over the next ten years, and would help cause the average cost of electricity to drop from $5.71 per watt to $2.32. It's a pretty rosy scenario, but it's certainly not out of reach.

More on Global Solar Power:
6.4 Gigawatts More Solar Power Installed Last Year
40% of World's Electricity Will Come From Wind and Solar Power by 2050

Tags: Clean Energy | Solar Power | United States

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