Solar power enhances energy diversity and hedges against price volatility of fossil fuels, thus stabilising costs of electricity generation in the long term, argues this report.
Solar energy is widely available throughout the world and can contribute to reduced dependence on energy imports. As it entails no fuel price risk or constraints, it also improves security of supply. Solar power enhances energy diversity and hedges against price volatility of fossil fuels, thus stabilising costs of electricity generation in the long term.
Solar PV entails no greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions during operation and does not emit other pollutants (such as oxides of sulphur and nitrogen); additionally, it consumes no or little water. As local air pollution and extensive use of fresh water for cooling of thermal power plants are becoming serious concerns in hot or dry regions, these benefits of solar PV become increasingly important.
Since 2010, the world has added more solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity than in the previous four decades. Total global capacity overtook 150 gigawatts (GW) in early 2014
The geographical pattern of deployment is rapidly changing. While a few European countries, led by Germany and Italy, initiated large-scale PV development, since 2013, the People’s Republic of China has led the global PV market, followed by Japan and the United States
PV system prices have been divided by three in six years in most markets, while module prices have been divided by five
This roadmap envisions PV’s share of global electricity reaching 16% by 2050, a significant increase from the 11% goal in the 2010 roadmap
Achieving this roadmap’s vision of 4 600 GW of installed PV capacity by 2050 would avoid the emission of up to 4 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually
This roadmap assumes that the costs of electricity from PV in different parts of the world will converge as markets develop, with an average cost reduction of 25% by 2020, 45% by 2030, and 65% by 2050, leading to a range of USD 40 to 160/MWh, assuming a cost of capital of 8%
To achieve the vision in this roadmap, the total PV capacity installed each year needs to rise from 36 GW in 2013 to 124 GW per year on average, with a peak of 200 GW per year between 2025 and 2040
The variability of the solar resource is a challenge. All flexibility options – including interconnections, demand-side response, flexible generation, and storage –need to be developed to meet this challenge
Appropriate regulatory frameworks – and well-designed electricity markets, in particular – will be critical to achieve the vision in this roadmap
Levelised cost of electricity from new-built PV systems and generation by sectors