11 May 2010 05:05:07
New IEA Solar Report Published
Around a quarter of the world's total electricity production could come from solar energy sources by 2050.
That is the conclusion of a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), which lays out a roadmap for the development of both Photovolaic (PV) and Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) technologies.
The report identifies that PV will most likely provide electricity on a grid, while CSP will be used to provide "dispatchable electricity at utility scale from regions with brightest sun and clearest skies".
According to the IEA, by the year 2050 the combined methods of harnessing solar power could produce 9,000 Terawatts of electricity.
In relation to PV, which is the most likely option for the UK, the organisation said that by the year 2020 electricity produced by this method should cost no more than that from the national grid.
"As PV matures into a mainstream technology, grid integration and management and energy storage become key issues," the IEA added.
CSP will more likely be harnessed in North America, Africa and India.
With the introduction of the feed-in tariff scheme in April, the uptake of solar panels among UK households is expected to increase, however there are still barriers standing in the way of large uptake of solar panel technology, such as the high initial cost.
But is it really possible that by 2020 the power produced from solar panels will be able to compete with that from the grid?