A new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance titled “New Energy Outlook 2016” predicts solar will be one of the world’s most affordable energy sources within the next 10 to 15 years.
The report, which is based on the insights and expertise of 65 country and technology specialists, reveals a promising future for the solar power industry. For example:
- The cost of generating electricity per mwh for solar photovoltaics is expected to fall 60 percent from $74-$220/mwh today to around $40/mwh worldwide in 2040, making it one of the best alternatives to fossil fuels and coal. As a result of declining solar costs, sometime around 2027, it will actually cost less to use solar and wind than to run existing coal and gas generators.
- Solar will account for 43 percent of the new power generating capacity that will be added between 2016 and 2040.
- U.S. renewable energy plants from wind, solar, hydro, and others will increase from 14 percent in 2015 to 44 percent in 2040.
- $3.4 trillion will be invested in utility-scale, rooftop, and other small-scale solar.
- As countries around the world add more solar and wind capacity, the energy generated is forecast to rise ninefold to 10.591Twh by 2040, and to 30 percent of the global total.
In addition, although various countries around the world will continue to invest in coal and gas generation, the report predicts “a rapid transition toward clean power over the next 25 years,” according to Jon Moore, chief executive of Bloomberg New Energy Finance. And the Bloomberg report is not alone in these predictions.
Solar Energy Plants Set to Deliver the Most Inexpensive Power
A 2015 report from Agora Energiewende, a German-based think tank, predicts solar will become the cheapest source of electricity in 10 years and that in many parts of the world, “solar energy plants will deliver the most inexpensive power available.”
Dr. Patrick Graichen, director of Agora Energiewende, said in a press release that the study shows “Solar energy has become cheaper much more quickly than most experts had predicted and will continue to do so.”
Some of the biggest factors that are currently driving down the cost of solar include lower installation costs (which have decreased 50 percent since 2009), improved project performance, utility solar power purchase agreements which have fallen to new lows, and an increased demand for solar projects being built prior to the 30 percent federal investment tax credit incentive being lowered to 10 percent after 2016.
Top Solar Power Countries
Today, according to the International Energy Agency’s “Trends in Photovoltaic Applications report”, the most recent numbers available, the top 10 countries in the world that are currently producing the most raw power from solar include:
- Germany – 38,250
- China – 28,330
- Japan – 23,409
- Italy – 18,622
- United States – 18,317
- France – 5,678
- Spain – 5,376
- Australia – 4,130
- Belgium – 3,156
- South Korea – 2,398
Thus, no matter how you look at it, the future looks bright for solar.
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