In a decade, solar photovoltaic systems have the potential to be more economical than fossil fuels in generating electricity, according to a new report.
Researchers from IEEE, the technical professional association, say cost parity can be achieved as the efficiency of solar PV cell technologies increases, creating economies of scale that decrease manufacturing costs.
* The supply of silicon, a material used for solar PV, is more available than it was just five years ago.
* Advancements in thin-film materials (residential) and concentrated PV (commercial) are increasing the efficiency of converting sunlight to electricity.
* Global solar PV capacity has been increasing at an average annual growth rate of more than 40 percent since 2000, according to the International Energy Association.
* By 2050, it is predicted that solar PV will provide 11 percent of global electricity production — 3,000 gigawatts of cumulative installed capacity.
The details are thin, but IEEE researchers insist solar PV will be “a game changer.” It’s inevitable, they say, not unlike the march of progress in the semiconductor industry.
“No other alternative source has the same potential,” IEEE executive director James Prendergast said in a statement. ”I suspect it will be a growth limited only by supply.”