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Can solar power replace global electricity supply?

The solar energy industry is growing rapidly with new technologies and a higher demand for renewable energy. The cost of solar panels has decreased significantly, making it a more viable option for homeowners and businesses alike. In some cases, solar power is now cheaper than grid power. So, how huge can solar power be in the future and how will it affect the world’s electricity supply?

Read here: Greening the Future with Passive Solar Design

The benefits of solar power 

  1. Solar power is a renewable energy source. Unlike fossil fuels, which are limited resources that will run out at some point, the sun is always making more solar energy. This means that it is a source of energy that we caan use for a long time and won’t run out.
  2. Solar energy is environmentally friendly. Solar panels don’t produce pollutants or greenhouse gases. This makes them a much cleaner option than traditional forms of energy generation like coal-fired power plants.
  3. It is relatively affordable. The cost of solar panel systems has dropped significantly in recent years. It makes them more affordable for homeowners and businesses alike. In some cases, solar panel systems can even save you money by offsetting your electricity costs.
  4. Solar power is versatile. Solar panels can be used to generate electricity, heat water, and even cool buildings in hot climates. 

The Cons of Solar Power 

  1. Solar power is expensive. The initial cost of solar panel installation can be quite high. This means that it may not be an option for everyone. Also, solar panels need to be taken care of and maintained regularly. This can add to the cost of using solar power over time. 
  2. Solar power is weather dependent. Solar panels need direct sunlight in order to function properly. This means that they may not be able to generate enough power on cloudy days or during the winter months when the days are shorter. 
  3. It can take up a lot of space. If you’re tight on space, solar panels may not be the best option for you as they require a large amount of square footage to generate enough power for your home or business. 
  4. Solar power requires battery backup . While solar panels are capable of generating a lot of electricity, they are not able to store it effectively. This means that you will need to have backup batteries in place in case of inclement weather or a power outage.

So, Can Solar Power Really Take Over the World’s Electricity Supply? 

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) says that solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity will grow from 1,656 gigawatts (GW) in 2016 to between 4,500 and 5,000 GW by 2030. The reason for this fast growth is that the price of solar PV has gone down by more than 60% since 2010. In many parts of the world, solar PV is now the cheapest way to make new electricity.

IRENA thinks that solar PV could supply up to 11% of the world’s electricity by 2030. From the current level of about 1%, this would be a huge jump. But it’s important to note that other types of renewable energy are expected to grow even faster than solar PV over the next ten years. From 487 GW in 2016, wind power is expected to grow to between 2,200 GW and 3,100 GW by 2030. The capacity of hydropower is expected to go up from 1064 GW to somewhere between 1400 GW and 1700 GW.

Final thoughts 

Solar power is growing rapidly thanks to falling costs and increasing awareness of its benefits. But could it really take over the world’s electricity supply? While it’s certainly possible, it’s unlikely that solar PV will be the sole source of electric power in the future. Instead, we’re likely to see a mix of renewable energy sources powering our homes and businesses.


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