Solar energy by 2050

The IEA expects global solar power” with the highest clean-energy deployment, to reach 4,600 gigawatts of photovoltaic capacity in 2050 from about 150 gigawatts now. That would involve annual investments more than doubling to an average of US$225-billion.

For concentrating solar, which involves mirrors that heat steam to generate electricity (shown above), the agency reiterated its vision for about 1,000 gigawatts by 2050 from about 4 gigawatts now. It sees both technologies as complementary.

This explosive growth in solar installations will be driven by further price drops. The cost of electricity from photovoltaic projects will fall by an average 25 percent by 2020, 45 percent by 2030 and 65 percent by 2050, the IEA said. This implies a levelized cost of power of as little as $56 a megawatt-hour for large plants and $78 on rooftops.” (as per Bloomberg)

Hopefully India will revamp its babu’s and legal systems; as without it, progress will be very limited. To become a global solar producer, India needs an appropriate regulatory frameworks; with well-designed electricity markets, away from the current inefficient State electricity boards, to a modern National grid. Huge investments from disinvestments, in other sectors, will be critical to achieve this potential; and global scale projects, will be required to make it happen from an already strapped Finance Ministry.

Energy security should be at the top of any future India development list; along with education, healthcare and the reduction of inequality and poverty. It should be pursued aggresively; as we have the technology, and the extreme need, of an energy starved billion people. Renewal energy independence is the need of the hour; and solar is one of the pillars of this foundation, along with hydro, nuclear, wind, biogas.

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