A new report has predicted that while capacity additions in Asia, North America and Europe, the global PV solar capacity could exceed 8,000 GW by 2050.
Wind energy and concentrated solar power (CSP) have reduced their costs significantly, but it is solar photovoltaic (PV) that has reduced its costs dramatically, thanks to rapid developments in China. And a new report has predicted that with annual investments of more than 7 billion, Latin America’s solar PV capacity could increase from the current 7 gigawatts (GW) to more than 280 GW by mid-century, and while capacity additions in Asia, North America and Europe continue to expand exponentially, the global PV solar capacity could very well exceed 8000 GW by 2050.
The report “Future of Photovoltaic Solar Energy” by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which was recently presented at the Sun World 2019 in Lima, Peru, has boldly predicted that in total, the global solar PV energy capacity would increase from 480 GW in 2018 to more than 8,000 GW in 2050, growing by almost 9 percent on average per year.
Francesco La Camera, CEO of IRENA said that photovoltaic solar energy and other renewable energies such as solar thermal and wind energy represent the effective and ready solution to meet the growing demand for energy and limit CO2 emissions at the same time.
“Renewable energies are practical, economical and safe for the climate. They are key to sustainable development, allowing access to energy, stimulating economic growth, creating jobs and improving health. In particular, solar energy will become one of the most important energy sources by 2050. Projected growth rates in markets such as Latin America show that we can extend the energy transition to all countries. It’s possible,” he added.
The report further explains that if accompanied by strong policies, the transformation is driven by renewable energy, such as solar, which can bring substantial socio-economic benefits. The global solar industry has the potential to employ more than 18 million people by 2050, four times the current 4.4 million jobs.
The report then goes on to state:
- Accelerating PV solar energy could reduce energy-related CO2 emissions by 21 percent by 2050.
- With more than 50 percent of installed capacity by 2050, Asia (mainly China) would continue to dominate photovoltaic solar energy, followed by North America (20 percent) and Europe (10 percent). The Latin American market would increase from 7 GW in 2018 to more than 280 GW.
- The annual investment in photovoltaic solar energy should increase on average by 68 percent worldwide, from USD 114 billion in 2018 to USD 192 billion by 2050.
- The total cost of electricity (LCOE) for photovoltaic solar energy will continue to decrease from an average of 85 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in 2018 to between 5-14 cents per kWh by 2050.