Solar power generation could grow from 2% of the global total to 13% by 2030, according to a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency.
The solar industry is poised for a massive expansion, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), as highlighted in a new report published this week, Letting in the Light: How Solar Photovoltaics Will Revolutionize the Electricity System. Specifically, the report concludes that solar could generate 13% of the world’s electricity by 2030, with capacity growing to sit somewhere between 1,760 GW and 2,500 GW, up from only 277 GW today.
“Recent analysis from IRENA finds that cost reductions for solar will continue into the future, with further declines of up to 59% possible in the next ten years,” said Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA Director-General. “This comprehensive overview of the solar industry finds that these cost reductions, in combination with other enabling factors, can create a dramatic expansion of solar power globally. The renewable energy transition is well underway, with solar playing a central role.”
The authors of the report proclaim “the primary drive for the solar revolution is dramatic cost reduction.” Recent policy support and huge levels of investment have helped solar PV costs to plummet, as well as spurring technological innovation. The cost of utility-scale solar PV power commissioned in the past year has reliably cost between six and ten US cents per kWh in Europe, China, India, South Africa, and the United States. Record low prices were set in the United Arab Emirates during 2015 of $0.0584/kWh, Peru of 0.048/kWh, and Mexico of 0.045/kWh median price.
The drop in solar prices has allowed uptake by households and local communities to increase dramatically, and in 2015 around 30% of solar PV capacity installed globally involved systems of less than 100 kW. Germany, China, and Australia all have over a million households with solar ownership, with 16.5% of Australian households with solar PV installations.
The report also claimed that rooftop solar could cover 40% of US electricity, with industry and business both making moves to cover their roofs with solar installations.
The full report is available for download from IRENA.